We would like to express deep sorrow and sympathy for the victims
of last week's attacks and their families as well as admiration
for the many rescue workers who have risked their lives for the
lives of others. We denounce terrorism around the world and strongly
believe that global security cannot exist without a broad consensus
against terrorism internationally. However, what our officials are
calling an international alliance against terrorism is in reality
a world divided against Islamic countries and peoples. This polarization
only encourages and exacerbates global terror and further threatens
the safety of all people.
We should respond to last week's tragedy as a crime against humanity,
in which the individuals responsible should be brought to justice
in the court of international law. We agree with The Pope, The United
Nations, and others in their call for the international community
to actively and peacefully seek a world free from terrorism, but
not at the cost of more innocent civilians losing their lives.
Since last week's tragic attacks, the country has seen an appalling
outbreak of hate directed at Arab Americans, Muslim communities,
and people of Middle Eastern descent. The mosque burnings, harassment,
and murders are frighteningly reminiscent of the scapegoating of
Japanese Americans during World War II. We stand in solidarity with
all those who have been targeted by hate speech and racist violence.
The FBI released a "zero tolerance" policy for hate crimes
against Arab Americans and Muslims following last week's tragedy.
We support the condemnation of such racist attacks. However, this
policy stands in direct contradiction to the federally-backed plans
to use military force against innocent civilians in Afghanistan.
Our government is preparing to commit a hate crime of heinous scale
and magnitude-bombing a population based solely on its geographic
location, religion, and inability to flee because of extreme poverty.
Hate, violence, and targeting innocent civilians must be condemned
at all levels.
Our freedom is not perfect. It does not apply to all equally, and
it has never come without a struggle. But we are among the freest
nations in the world. And today, our freedom is in a delicate balance.
We must defend our freedom now more than ever. We must defend it
from our own fear and from our own silence.
We cannot permit ourselves to be shepherded into believing that
when we sacrifice our freedom, we will ever fully get it back. We
must remember that millions of people, over thousands of years,
have fought, suffered and died to create and preserve our civil
liberties. Benjamin Franklin wrote in the Historical Review of Pennsylvania,
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little
temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." We must
speak now to defend our rights from those who would-in the name
of a false sense of security-imperil the freedom they claim to champion.
Role of the Media
As the only industry protected by the Constitution, the role of
the media must be that of providing the American public with balanced
and complete information needed to make informed decisions in a
democracy. The media must include a broad spectrum of perspectives
and ideas and question policies that will lead to further death
and destruction. Though many officials are building a drum beat
for war, the media can and must take a step back and examine the
context and ramifications of our government's response to last week's
We choose direct action and civil disobedience at this time because
peace is not a passive stance. Because fear is gripping those who
know in their hearts that our nation is crying out for justice,
but not for the blood of innocent people. Because we are a hurt
nation, but we are still a people who believe strongly in fairness
and compassion. Because Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, the Dalai
Lama, Jesus, Abbie Hoffman, Emma Goldman, Cesar Chavez, Mother Jones,
and countless others have all used radical non-violence in the face
of violent oppression. And because we need to react to this tragedy
with wisdom and seek justice with compassion.