A blog by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration about justice and peace issues

Posts tagged ‘9/11’

Remembering September 11th – Ten Years Later


Girls in a school, Kabul Afghanistan

We have reached the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This weekend will mark, for many in the United States, the anniversary of the death of a loved one – in light of that a moment of silence.

In October we will reach the tenth anniversary of our invasion of Afghanistan – many Afghanis mark the anniversary of the deaths of loved ones throughout the year – in light of that a moment of silence.

In light of the lives lost and communities destroyed  around the world by violence, war, occupation we take a moment of silence.

In light of the children around the world, like the girls at school in Afghanistan in the photo above, let us take action to create a world free of terror, war and violence. Join with Sojourners below and take the pledge to work for peace….

Sojourners

This Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While we will all take time to remember the day and the lives we lost, 10 years later, we must go deeper.

There were two paths forward from the ashes and rubble of 9/11: One path led to war, torture, and fear, but another path — led by people of faith across our land — was marked by soul-searching, genuine mourning for the lost, and standing up for peace-building and caring for our neighbors.

Although our government and too many of its citizens, regrettably, have chosen the first path, Sojourners invites you to celebrate the alternative journey — to stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters of all faiths, and no faith, who are helping to build a nation that reflects our best values.

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, affirm your commitment to peace-building and reconciliation by signing this commemoration pledge, written by Sojourners, an organization that I belong to:

To take action on this issue, click on the link below:
http://go.sojo.net/site/Advocacy?s_oo=8hTv4XvIy1vhZVynZpLGQQ&id=435

If the text above does not appear as a link or it wraps across multiple lines, then copy and paste it into the address area of your browser.

Killing Osama bin Laden: Justice?

The headlines are filled with the killing of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. Special Forces. One headline in Chicago read, “Justice Has Been Done.” The images of Americans celebrating in the streets, waving flags and soldiers abroad cheering all seem to indicate that we just completed something monumental. We achieved a goal or overcame a dire obstacle and so it is time to herald a new beginning free of the danger of the past.

It would seem that we are in a nation-wide pep rally and not that just we killed a man in his home in front of his family. Literally in front of his family since we shot one of his wives to be able to shoot him.

Interesting that the over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan had nothing to do with the killing of Osama bin Laden even though that is why we invaded that country 10 years ago. Equally interesting that the troops who have been in Iraq, our other war, since 2003 were also not involved.

No, a Special Ops Team went into Pakistan, our ally in the double wars, and killed him. Interesting that we have spent close to a  trillion dollars on two wars and what “got us” the intellectual author of the 9/11 attacks was intelligence and a small group of soldiers none of which were harmed.

So our double occupation and destruction of two countries in the end had nothing to do with the killing of America’s “enemy number one” – and yet we celebrate.

Equally interesting that we kill a man without even the pretense of a trial and we call it justice. We kill a man who according to our own laws, no matter how horrible the crime, had a right to have his innocence or guilt proven in a court of law. We celebrate and announce justice as if the entire story exists between Osama bin Laden and those Special Ops.

No dead civilians in Afghanistan or Iraq, no families who lost their sons and daughters to two wars, no corruption of our own rule of law, no Abu Grahib or Bagram, no torture and indefinite detention, no environmental devastation and extravagant debt. Nope all we have is a victory, at last, the U.S. has been avenged as was our right.

There has been a lot of misinformation and outright lies that we as a country have been expected to overlook as we struggled through the unknown territory of the “borderless war on terror” for the past ten years.

But to be asked to celebrate this assassination and call it justice, to see “victory”  or closure with two ongoing wars is too much. We cannot afford to cede any additional moral ground to the disaster that is the “war on terror.” Join with the Quaker Friends Committee and click on the link below to contact your Reps and Senators and ask them for real solutions to the two wars and real justice for the victims of 9/11.

http://www.capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=44473501&type=CO

Killing civilians in Afghanistan is terrorism

Guest blogger Patrick Kennelly, writing from Kabul, Afghanistan (continuing our posts from Afghanistan as Liz Deligio travels this week with Voices for Creative Nonviolence).

In Kabul, on the same day that Der Spiegel released photos
documenting American soldiers posing with the bodies of civilians they
murdered, the Transitional Justice Coordinating Group (TJCG), the
umbrella organization for NGOs in Afghanistan that are pursuing
transitional justice, gathered Afghan, Australian, American, and
German peacemakers to discuss methods to bring peace and security to
Afghanistan. The photos present the grim reality that this conflict is
characterized by civilian killing and violence.
          In 2001, the American led ISAF (International Security Assistance
Force), a coalition of the richest nations in the world, began
military operations in Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 killing of
civilians in New York and Washington. The purpose of the operations
was to fight terrorism and seek reprisal for the Taliban’s harboring
of Al Qaeda. The operation has turned into a near decade long war on
one of the poorest nations in the world.
       After nearly ten years of war Afghanistan is mired in terror,
brutality, and a security situation that is worsening. Among Afghans
there is growing consensus that the ISAF is pursuing military
measures, such as the formation and arming of independent local
militias under the banner of the “Afghan Local Police” against the
wishes of President Karzai and the Afghan people, which undermine the
prospects of peace in the future and further endangers ordinary
people. However, it is the killing of civilians by American military
personal and mercenaries that most enflames the conflict and expands
the rift between ISAF and the Afghan people.
       Most Westerners are familiar with the thousands of American civilians
killed 9/11, some people know about the atrocities committed by the
armed opposition groups in Afghanistan, and even fewer people are
familiar with the stories of Afghan civilians killed by ISAF forces.
Some of the recent civilian killings by ISAF, primarily composed of
American forces include:  2children in Kunar province on March 14, 9
children collecting firewood in Kunar province on March 1, five
civilians including two children  who were searching for food in
Kapisa province on February 24,  22 women, 26 boys, and 3 old men in a
raid on insurgents in Kunar province on February 17, 2 civilians were
killed  and one injured while traveling in a van in Helmand province
on February 3.
       As the fallout from the Der Spiegel photos continues to be felt
around the world, ISAF and the other belligerents who have publicly
stated their objective is to prevent terrorism need to recognize that
the killing of civilians whether by Taliban, mercenaries, militias,
insurgents, or by soldiers of a nation is terrorism.

Guest blogger Patrick Kennelly is the Associate Director of the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking and is participating in the peacemaking efforts organized by the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers and Voices for Creative Nonviolence.  He writes from Kabul, Afghanistan. He can be contacted at kennellyp@gmail.com

Those who have endured the unimaginable…torture in the U.S.

“This is a day on which we pay our respects to those who have endured the unimaginable. This is an occasion for the world to speak up against the unspeakable. It is long overdue that a day be dedicated to remembering and supporting the many victims and survivors of torture around the world.”   Kofi Annan

Dear All – We have heard much in the news these past weeks about torture and the U.S. involvement in torture programs. These conversations have been troubling on many levels but in particular that they frame torture as if it started after 9/11.

This “start date” for torture does two things: it “justifies” the action by placing torture in response to the tragedy of 9/11 and it erases the history of the people of Latin America and others who experienced U.S. sponsored torture programs long before 9/11.

Representative McGovern has put together an important piece of legislation that the torture debate could learn from. It is an amendment that calls on the SOA/WHINSEC who train soldiers from Latin America to engage complete transparency and make public the names of their students. The School, infamous for training torturers and dictators, refuses to provide the names of the students claiming it would violate their privacy.  What schools you attend is typically public knowledge it is not like asking the graduates to share with the world when they had their first kiss.

The importance of the transparency is that it says to the world and us, the U.S. taxpayers, we have nothing to hide here. No midnight memos, back doors programs, secretly approved CIA initiatives that even Congress does not know about only legal and ethical actions we have no reason to hide.

With the action below you can directly support Rep. McGovern’s bill and indirectly support the broadening of the torture debate. Transparency is vital for  democratic process and for attempting to begin a healing process with all those around the world who have suffered at the hands of U.S sponsored torturers.  Let’s tell congress and Attorney General Eric Holder that we value transparency as step toward creating justice for those who have “endured the unimaginable…”  Peace Liz

Urgent Action #2

On June 25, 2009 the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to support the McGovern-Sestak-Bishop-Lewis Amendment, which would force the Pentagon to release the names of SOA/WHINSEC graduates and instructors. This amendment to FY 2010 Defense Authorization Bill is now being sent to a Joint House-Senate Conference Committee, in charge of debating this amendment. The Committee’s approval will send the proposed amendment to the Senate for a vote. Senator Burris was recently appointed to this Conference Committee.

 

Please urge your Senator to support the McGovern Amendment as part of the final draft of the Defense Authorization Bill. For a list of the 224 Representatives who supported this amendment, click here: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll454.xml.

 

Call your Senator this week and tell him/her to support this amendment and promote transparency within the SOA/WHINSEC and leave the following message:

 

“Hello, my name is ___________ and I live in __________ (city/state). I am calling to urge Senator _______ to support the McGovern-Sestak-Bishop Lewis Amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill. This amendment would release the names of SOA/WHINSEC graduates and instructors, which are crucial to research and legislative efforts to close the school. Since many past graduates from SOA have been proven human rights abusers, it is important that the U.S. government commit itself to transparency and the priority of human rights. Can I count on Senator _______ to support this important amendment? Please let me know.”

 

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