SAN FRANCISCO - August 26
- In response to a call from U.S. peace and human rights organizations,
communities throughout the United States and the world are planning “peace
events” to honor the people who died on Sept. 11, 2001. The event titles
range from “work a day for peace” to “our grief is not a cry
for war” to“from ground zero to common ground,” but what ties
them together is their theme: working for a world without terrorism and war.
“The response to this idea has been overwhelming, in large part as a
response to President Bush’s call for an attack of Iraq” said Medea
Benjamin, founding director of San Francisco’s Global Exchange and a founder
of United for Peace, the coalition of groups that put out the call for peace events.
“In over 100 U.S. cities, as well as nearly a dozen foreign countries, people
are honoring those who died on September 11 by calling for no more innocent victims.”
The astounding array of events are listed on the website www.unitedforpeace.org.
They include overnight vigils, peace walks, fasts, concerts, art projects, donating
the day’s wages to peace groups, and teach-ins about peace issues. The events
are taking place from the big cities of New York and Los Angeles to the smaller
towns of Boise, Idaho and Hood River, Oregon.
The explosion of peace organizing around September 11 marks the beginning of
a new peace movement whose immediate goal is to stop the Bush Administration from
going to war with Iraq. “It is possible to stop this war,” said Lynate
Pettengil, a peace activist in Lawrence, Kansas. “If you and I stand up
and let it be known that our country should not go to war with Iraq, and we join
together with thousands of other women, men and children throughout the U.S. with
this message, we will be heard.”
Endorsers of United for Peace include international peace leaders like Arun
Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatama Gandhi, and Nobel Peace Laureate and former President
of Costa Rica Oscar Arias. “Many people who have lost loved ones to violence
have come to the realization that only by planting the seeds of peace will their
loss not have been in vain,” says Arias. United for Peace is also endorsed
by September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, the National Coalition
for Peace and Justice, Fellowship of Reconciliation, American Friends Service
Committee, Peace Action, Veterans for Peace, and Global Exchange.