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Letter to the Nova Scotia" Voice of Women".

Wed, 05 May 1999

Toronto 5 May, 1999

To VOW NS vigil organizers, I would like to be with you, but I am instead sending this note to express my deep unity with you.

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that I am joining with you on behalf of WILPF International, in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Balkans who are suffering the consequences of this cruel, illegal, senseless and useless war. Everybody is a loser in this show of force by supposedly the le

ading democratic countries in the world. You know some of the statistics that have been cited in this war:

  • Approximately 1,500 civilians have been killed and more than 5,500 sustained serious injuries
  • Millions of citizens are displaced
  • Millions of children's lives are in jeopardy as a result of this war
  • Hundreds of thousands citizens have been exposed to poisonous gases resulting in harmful, long-term health effects of the entire population of Yugoslavia - as well as neighbouring countries - and their environment
  • Approximately 700,000 workers are jobless due to the total destruction of 52 industrial facilities
  • Millions of citizens have no means of livelihood to sustain a minimal income necessary to survive
  • 30 hospitals and health care centres have been damaged or destroyed
  • 2 chemical plants have been demolished causing an ecological catastrophe affecting the entire Balkans
  • Several thousand hectares of fertile land, many rivers, lakes and underground waterways have been polluted due to petrochemical and oil spills
  • 21 refineries and warehouses storing liquid raw materials and chemicals have been heavily damaged
  • Over 250 hectares of forests have been burned down And the list goes on, with nefarious consequences that will be with us for generations.

George Monbiot, in THE GUARDIAN, of Thursday April 22, 1999 concludes his article as follows:

"This, in environmental terms at least, is perhaps the dirtiest war the West has ever fought. NATO's scorched earth policy, which seeks to destroy Milosevic's armed capacity by destroying everything else, places the Alliance firmly on the wrong side of the Geneva Convention. For a war which targets chemical factories and oil installations, which deploys radioactive weapons in towns and cities, is a war against everyone: civilians as well as combatants, the unborn as well as the living. As such, it can never be a just one."

At the same time we are offered a spectacle of reckless wastefulness by governments that have deprived their own citizens of many of the necessary basic social and health services because 'there is no money'.

Here are just a few examples:

  • The cost of one of the US's B-2 "Stealth" bombers is £1.5 billion. That is the same as the entire gross domestic product of Albania.
  • The US has 21 B-2 bombers. The money used to produce them could meet the basic health and nutritional requirements of the starving across the world for TWO years. That would save the lives of the 30,000 children under the age of five who die EVERY DAY because of malnutrition and easily treatable diseases.
  • Every cruise missile fired costs $1 million. Experts estimate NATO dropped at least 120 cruise missiles in the first week of bombing alone. The cost of EACH ONE could provide the seeds and tools for 50,000 poor peasants in the Third World to grow their own food for a year.

The world peace movement is about to convene in The Hague to commemorate and renew the demand that was made last century to abolish war In this Hague Appeal for Peace, together we must "find the road to a new vision of a world without war in the 21st century. Or else it will be a world without humanity".

In your vigil today you are contributing to the increasing appeal by ordinary citizens that there be no more wars, no more violence, no more use of strength for oppression, for genocide, for the destruction of the earth, and an immediate end to the present bombing.

Yours, in solidarity and sorrow,

Bruna Nota
International President,
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Ligue international de femmes pour la paix et la liberté
Liga Internacional de Mujeres por la Paz y la Libertad
Lidhja Ndėrkombėtare e Grave pėr Paqe e Liri
Consultative status with United Nations ECOSOC, UNCTAD, and UNESCO;
Special Consultative Relations with FAO, ILO, and UNICEF
International Secretariat: 1 rue de Varembé, CP 28, 1211 Geneva 20,
"If you want peace, live peace and prepare for peace"

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