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Significant Peace Vigil in Whangarei
9 October 2001
Significant Peace Vigil in Whangarei: "An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind"
Almost 100 people gathered yesterday evening at a candle-lit Vigil at the Cenotaph in Whangarei to mourn the beginning of the bombing of Afghanistan. The Vigil was called together at short notice by the newly-formed Coalition For Peace, and coincided with Vigils in a number of other centres throughout the country.
"This was a large number of people from Community Groups, Churches, Unions, Women's Groups, to come together at short notice. Our Coalition sees this as a good indication of the depth of concern in New Zealand about the USA response to the September 11 attacks," said one of the Coalition's spokespersons Tim Howard.
Candles, a long period of silence, prayers, speeches and songs marked the Whangarei gathering - and a call to attend this Friday's lunchtime Rally in the Mall. Speakers reflected a broad opposition in this country to New Zealand supporting US attacks on other countries, as well as a strong opposition to terrorist acts of all kinds. Several speakers noted that War inevitably meant attacks on women and children, and that these bombings and ground attacks would make them prime targets.
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind," quoted one of the Coalition's spokespersons Carol Peters after the Vigil. "We see ordinary New Zealanders deploring the counter-productive use of violence in retaliation for the terrible attacks of September 11th. Violent responses simply don't work. The Gulf War never achieved its stated aims of ousting Saddam Hussein in Iraq, but only of achieving huge numbers of civilian casualties during the war, and some half million children's deaths since."
A moving message received an hour before from a Muslim Inter- faith peace worker from the Philippines was read out. She noted the double standards of US policies in the Middle East, and called on US and NZ energies to respond with humanism to the attack of September 11th. We need to grasp the real roots of terrorism, she said, and then "we could start realizing that only through openness to dialogue with the rest of humanity can there truly be chance for lasting peace."
"These community-based actions in Whangarei will continue, notably at next Friday's Rally in the Mall," said Tim Howard.
Coalition For Peace Whangarei.