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Calling for nonviolent and antimilitarist responses to the events of 11 September in the US

Personal statement, 13 September 2001

We are calling for a silent and reflective gathering by those who reject violence and militarism, in order to publicly express an alternative viewpoint to the dominant message that military force is both a necessary and inevitable response to the shocking events in Washington and New York.

This is not an opportunity to shout impotently at the US government and such behaviour will not be welcome. St Martin-in-the-Fields is a space for quiet reflection. We ask everyone to respect this.

Our simple message is:

We condemn the militarist actions of persons unknown on 11 September in the US. Their action displays a callous disregard for the value of life and cannot be justified. We extend our deepest sympathies to all those experiencing human loss as a result of these horrific events.

We also condemn any proposed or actual militarist response from the US government. The ongoing bombing by the US and Britain of Iraq and the economic exploitation and resulting structural violence experienced by millions across the world are as unacceptable as Tuesday's strike at the symbols of US military and economic power. All involve huge amounts of civilian casualties and all are unacceptable.

We call for a calm and considered nonviolent response by the US government and its NATO allies.

We oppose the British government in offering a blank cheque in supporting a militarist response by the US government, or as part of a joint NATO reaction. The perpetuation of such cycles of violence will not be done in our names.

We ask US citizens to remember the aftermath of the Oklahoma bombing before rushing to any conclusions about who the perpetrators may be. We also call on citizens and governments of the so-called "developed" world to examine their lifestyles and policies and to attempt to understand the disastrous impact they have on the rest of the world.

We call on people in Britain to take nonviolent steps to intervene against any military action launched from within Britain: It is not enough to think, pray or talk amongst ourselves, we also have to act.

We call for all of our energies to be invested in creating peaceful resolutions to conflict.

(This statement refers to a gathering held on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Saturday 15 September 2001)

This call has come from a group of people who work at 5 Caledonian Rd in London. We are: Albert Beale (Housmans Peace Resource Project) Angela McCann (War Resisters' International) Caroline Simpson (Peace News Trustees) Ippy (Peace News) John Courtneidge (Peace News) Kitty McVey (Movement Against War) Roberta Bacic (War Resister's International) All acting in a personal capacity

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