An Open Letter to Wage Peace Not War


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Dear Friend:?

I am writing to call all of us to gather together into the peaceful center in the storm of the violence surrounding us.

We are aware that the U.S. government is considering violence against Iraq -and/or other countries - despite negative responses and grave concerns expressed in almost every nation in the world. Violence against Iraq, or the other countries targeted, only raises the possibility of terrorist retaliation. The escalating cycles of violence in Israel/Palestine makes this clear.??

Military activities of the kind being considered by the U. S. government may well unleash retaliations that have for the last 50 years or so been kept in the realm of the unthinkable. Once nuclear warfare, on whatever scale, is unleashed, no one in the United States or anywhere on the planet will ever be safe again. None of us wish our children to be the victims of nuclear orbiological terrorism while government leaders try to avoid the same fate in bunkers.??

Imagine the dilemma of President Bush. An unelected president is called to face the unprecedented situation of September 11th. As president he is responsible to protect the nation. But how? The wisdom and intelligence needed to meet our circumstances do not, cannot, lie in any single person or administration.??What shall we do? The wisdom we need to guide us is among us. The wisdom we need to guide us is among all of us.

Let us, therefore, insist that the President and his administration refrain from the reflexive response of initiating dangerous and irreversible military actions. Let us insist that the unthinkable be avoided. As a country, let us gather and trust in the kind of slow and careful deliberations that all of our wise ancestors understood are necessary in such times.??

When one is afflicted by fear, rage, pain or shock - no matter what the cause - one must stop, must pause, so that one?s response is reasoned. This is a time for great restraint. This is a time for deep thought. This is not the time for heroic action, but the time for everyone - everyone -- to enter into deep, heartfelt, selfless, tempered thought and prayer. This is not the time for opinions. This is the time for careful consideration. This is the time to take all the time necessary to save our lives.

Let us turn, each of us, to the wisdom in our traditions and in our communities. Let us bring together everything we know and everything our ancestors and fore-parents have ever known about mediation, problem solving and peacemaking. There are ways to live and respond in which no one is the loser. These will be revealed when everyone engages in heartfelt interchanges before irrevocable actions are undertaken. When we each act for restraint in the ways that are right for each of us. When we support each other to have the courage of peacemaking.

Let us turn to the wisdom of our hearts and the intelligence of compassion. Let us meet with each other in neighborhoods, places of prayer, public and private forums, councils, schools, parks, homes, across the Internet, across the miles, across national boundaries. Avoiding blame and without accusing each other, refusing to make enemies, let us take all the time we need to enter into prayerful discussion with each other. Let us, the people of this country, with the people of this planet, discover how, in these unprecedented circumstances, we will find the ways to address these critical issues so that our children will live and foster other generations.

I urge everyone who receives this plea to do everything that she or he can do to influence the government to restrain its actions for as long as may be necessary to come to reasoned understanding. As we move toward restraint, let us all enter into long, deep, contemplative consideration of the current dilemmas that confront us. It is certain that we all want the same thing: that the world survive, that our children will live, that the lives of ourloved ones will not end in a nuclear holocaust.

There is wisdom everywhere. This is not a partisan issue. It is time to meet with each other calmly and generously. Not to find blame and not to accuse and not to make enemies, but rather to relieve each other?s fear and to find faith in each other?s wisdom and thoughtfulness. To discover in dialogue and among each other how to be, how to act, what to do.

We have the wisdom among us. We have the heart among us. We have the intelligence among us. If we look to each other, as we must now, for understanding, something beautiful will come of it that will save all our lives.??

Peace and Blessings,