California (October 13, 2001) - We, the Brower Youth Award recipients
of 2001, would like to issue a statement in regards to the tragedy of
September 11 and the ensuing events. We would like to give our
condolences to the families and friends of those who were lost. We
should proceed with the victims in our hearts.
For this reason we believe that the current policy of the US government is wholly inappropriate. The acts of September 11 were indeed horrific, but were not an act of war: they were a criminal act. Thus, they should be treated as such.
A continuation of violence merely disgraces the lives of those lost. We should try those responsible in an international court of law. Any other method merely returns the injustice done unto us back to other innocents.
Bombings that kill innocent civilians bring us to the level of our attackers and only continue a cycle of violence that will become larger and larger. We need only to look at the current situation in Northern Ireland and the Middle East to understand what happens when you try to force people to comply unwillingly. This is not to say that we should not make terrorists comply with justice. Rather it is to say that killing innocent civilians will only breed more terror.
As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it… Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
We feel that all of us must take it upon ourselves to bring that love into a world full of hate. A good place to start is to re-examine our economic, ecological and foreign policies so that all are truly treated equally. More specifically we must incorporate a respect for humanity and the environment into all aspects of our lives, from everyday conversations and actions, to a more just trade policy. As David Brower and others have said, “We must have peace on and with the Earth.”
Thank you and goodnight.
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