Past events


- Messages and proposed action plans regarding the threat to world peace on 11. September 2001 -

The Nobel Peace Laureates

Frederik W. De Klerk, Nelson Mandela and Desmond M. Tutu

Dr. Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica

Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, Cofounder Peace People Belfast, Northern Ireland

The XIV. Dalai Lama, Tibet

Frederik Willem De Klerk, former president of South Africa

Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Mexico City

José Ramos-Horta Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs, East Timor

Prof. Sir Joseph Rotblat FRS, Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, London

Desmond M. Tutu Archbishop Emeritus, Africa

The Board of Advisors of the International Peace Foundation / Advisors and Friends of the Society of Founders of the International Peace University
- alphabetical order -

Joan Armatrading, Singer and Songwriter, England

C O M E C E - Commission of the Bishops` Conferences of the European Community

Johan Eliasch, head of management board, Head Tyrolia Mares (HTM)

Prof. Dr. Iring Fetscher, Social Scientist, University Frankfurt, Germany

Dr. Göke Frerichs, President of the European Commitee for Economy and Socialism

Prof. Dr. Johan Galtung, Transcend Peace Network, Versonnex

Hazel Henderson, author, futurist and consultant on sustainable development

Prof. Baron A. L. Jaumotte, Honorary Rector of the free University of Brussels

Prof. Dr. Ervin Laszlo, President of the Club of Budapest

Joe Leinen, Chairman, Union of the European Federation

Prof. Dr. Edgar Morin, Social Scientist, University of Paris

Prof. Dr. Milos Nikolic, Director, Center for Transition to Democracy, Beograd

Prof. John C. Polanyi, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto

Edzard Reuter, former Chairman of Daimler Benz, Germany

Dr. Karan Singh, M.P. and Chairman of the Temple of Understanding, India

Brother David Steindl-Rast, O.S.B., USA

Sir Sigmund Sternberg, KCSG, Chairman, International Council of Christians and Jews, London

Konstantin Wecker, Singer and Songwiter, Germany


  Statement signed by the three Nobel Peace Laureates Frederik W. De Klerk, Nelson Mandela and Desmond M. Tutu

The terrorist attacks in the United States of America last week shook all of humanity. It starkly reminded us again of the depth to which we can sink in our inhumanity towards one another.

It was a source of encouragement to note that almost the entire world responded with utter revulsion to such cowardly acts that cruelly and horrendously took the lives of so many innocent people merely going about their ordinary daily lives.

Amidst the indescribable tragedy the overwhelming decency of human beings the world over found expression in the unreserved condemnation of those terrible deeds of cruelty.

To that we wish to add our collective voice of condemnation of those acts and to express our deep felt sympathy to the American government, people and particularly those who lost family and friends. We share in their sense of loss and can only trust that they will take some sustenance from the knowledge that so many people all over the world mourn with them.

The events of last week are also a renewed call to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism. Those acts emphasised that we are all vulnerable to terrorism. We hope that the culprits will be identified, apprehended and severely punished.

This is a time in which the world should stand together in pursuit of those objectives. Terrorism seeks to put itself above and outside of the law.

Our steps against terrorism should studiously be within international law and the charter of our world body.

We need wise leadership and statesmanship in this period of looming crisis.

The actions taken should not deepen tensions and further divide the world for it is in those circumstances of strife and division that terrorism finds fertile ground.

The recent history of our own country has taught that negotiation is the surest means of finding lasting solutions to even the most seemingly intractable political problems.

In combating and seeking to eliminate terrorism we must address the root causes of problems around the world and find just solutions to them.
In the Middle East, particularly, efforts at arriving at a just and peaceful settlement should be redoubled.

If out of the tragic events of last week the world can find a renewed will to co-operate in finding just solutions to the problems that threaten the safety, security and well-being of us all, the highest tribute would have been paid to those who lost their lives.


Dr. Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica

In the face of these terrible events, and as we receive the images and words of those lost in Tuesday's attack and feel the pain of their families and friends, let us affirm our common bonds in shock, outrage, and sorrow. I extend my deepest sympathies to those who lost loved ones in this horrible attack, and, along with all who love liberty and democracy and are committed to non-violence, I condemn this and all acts of terrorism.

At this time of great suffering, I want to make a plea to the American people and to their government not to allow their hearts to be filled with hatred, for this would be granting the terrorists the very response they seek and expect. Instead, I pray that the United States and its allies collectively pause and take a deep breath before responding to this violence in kind. It is essential that justice be done, and it is equally vital that justice not be confused with revenge, for the two are wholly different. I beg of the United States government to exercise caution and prudence as they plan their response to this unimaginably grotesque display of disregard for human life. Let justice be done, yes, but let the United States remain committed to its fundamental values, admired and emulated the world over: respect for liberty and for life, especially of the innocent.

I want also to ask the people of the United States, in the midst of their anguish and very justified anger, to remember that extremists of the kind who perpetrated this attack represent only a tiny minority of the Muslim world, and that the vast majority of Muslims pray to the same God as the rest of us-whether Hindus or Jews, Christians or Buddhists-and that is a God of love and not hate, of life and not death. Therefore, let us call upon that God, that power which while being universal is known to each of us in a unique way, to give us the strength to stand firm against the darkness of hatred and violence that threatens us. Let us seek the light, and reach out in peace to our Muslim brothers and sisters.

I want to suggest that we also take this occasion to re-examine our global priorities and the values upon which they are based. Terrorism is one evil that should not exist in the world today, and there are many others, including poverty, illiteracy, preventable diseases, and environmental destruction. We have the resources-both material and spiritual-to eliminate many of these ills. Let us channel them according to the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable among us. Instead of building bunkers and shields that fail to protect us, let us build good will and harmony, human capacity and understanding, and in this way we shall build the world we want to live in. We must be the change we wish to see, as Gandhi once said, and not the darkness that we wish to leave behind.


Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, Cofounder Peace People Belfast, Northern Ireland

It is with the greatest sadness that the people of the World watched the tragedy of the horrific events of Tuesday 11th September, 2001, in America.

The day of this atrocity will remain in all our memories; it has moved many millions of people to tears of shock and sadness.

We share in the American peoples' grief during this time of need, and send our condolences to all.

We understand the depth of feelings of loss and pain but we would appeal that there be no retaliation. Violence serves no purpose. Violence solves no problems. Retaliation would mean the further deaths of many more people. This would, in turn, add to an increasing sense of fear, anxiety, and hopelessness, being felt around the world.

As the human family we need HOPE, and this can come from the people of the World, when they rise above their immediate feelings of pain and anger at such inhumanity, and in a calmer atmosphere allow reason to guide their decisions. In this way 'wisdom' can find a response to this terrible atrocity which does not add to the terrible death and destruction already perpetrated on our fellow brothers and sister in the United States.

In this the new millennium, the human family has an opportunity to move away from the old responses of 'an eye for an eye' and deal with their problems in a collective and civilised manner, befitted the great goodness that lives in every human heart.


The XIV. Dalai Lama, Tibet

- Letter to President George W. Bush -

I am deeply shocked by the terrorist attacks that took place involving four apparently hijacked aircrafts and the immense devastation these caused. It is a terrible tragedy that so many innocent lives have been lost and it seems unbelievable that anyone would choose to target the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. We are deeply saddened. On behalf of the Tibetan people I would like to convey our deepest condolence and solidarity with the American people during this painful time. Our prayers go out to the many who have lost their lives, those who have been injured and the many more who have been traumatized by this senseless act of violence. I am attending a special prayer for the United States and its people at our main temple today.

I am confident that the United States as a great and powerful nation will be able to overcome this present tragedy. The American people have shown their resilience, courage and determination when faced with such difficult and sad situations.

It may seem presumptuous on my part, but I personally believe we need to think seriously whether a violent reaction is the right thing to do and in the greater interest of the nation and people in the long run. I believe violence will only increase the cycle of violence. But how do we deal with hatred and anger which are often the root causes of such senseless violence? This is a very difficult question, especially when it concerns a nation and we have certain fixed conceptions of how to deal with such attacks. I am sure you will make the right decision.



Frederik Willem De Klerk, former president of South Africa

I wish to convey my deepest condolences to the family and friends of all those who died or were injured in the recent horrifying terrorist attacks on the United States. I also wish to express solidarity with the people of New York and the United States at this dreadful time.

What happened on 11 September was a huge step backward in man's progression toward a world based on peace, justice, reason and compassion. We must not allow evil men to divert us from this path. We must make it clear that we will not be intimidated by violence and terrorism. We must resolutely oppose and overcome those responsible for these terrible acts and reaffirm our belief that even the most intractable disputes can be resolved by peaceful means.


Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Mexico City

Un voto por la cordura

Luego de conocer los sucesos que han conmovido al mundo desde las primeras horas de hoy, deseo hacer pública mi posición en los siguientes términos:

1. Condeno firmemente los repudiables actos terroristas que han costado miles de vidas civiles inocentes y han desatado una espiral de violencia de consecuencias imprevisibles. El terrorismo, venga de donde venga, es una conducta políticamente injustificable y moralmente inaceptable.

2. Expreso mi más profundo sentimiento de condolencia y solidaridad con las víctimas, sus familias y el pueblo estadounidense.

3. Hago un llamado a la serenidad y la cordura para evitar responder a la provocación y la insensatez con lo que podría resultar en una ofensiva revanchista que únicamente alimentaría una escalada de violencia que sabiendo cómo y dónde empieza, nadie podría prever cómo ni cuándo terminaría.

4. Invoco a extremar los recursos que hagan posible el diálogo entre un sistema mundial hegemónico, que incluye y excluye selectiva y unilateralmente, y la radicalidad desesperada de las respuestas que ha engendrado.

5. Alerto a la comunidad internacional sobre el peligro de que las acciones de estos grupos terroristas contribuyan a desatar una lógica de guerra, buscando dirimir viejas y nuevas controversias entre naciones y justificando acciones contra grupos y sectores que no han encontrado una disposición pluralista para el reconocimiento y respeto a sus expresiones identitarias en los marcos institucionales actuales.

6. Hago un llamado a los medios de comunicación a evitar el alarmismo fundado en interpretaciones de fuerte filiación ideológica, que sólo acrecienta la confusión y alimenta los fantasmas de la intolerancia.

7. Finalmente, convoco a la sociedad civil del planeta, a los Premios Nobeles y a quienes ostentan la responsabilidad de gobernar todos los países del mundo, a no precipitar conclusiones sobre los acontecimientos de hoy y comprometernos en un gran FRENTE DE LA CORDURA, que detenga la cobarde insensatez de la violencia y evite mayores sufrimientos a la humanidad.

Eine Stimme für die Vernunft

Nach Bekanntwerden der Ereignisse, die die Welt in den ersten Stunden des heutigen Tages bewegten, möchte ich meinen Standpunkt darüber in folgender Weise der Öffentlichkeit darlegen:

1. Ich verurteile in aller Deutlichkeit die verabscheuungswürdigen terroristischen Handlungen, die das Leben von Tausenden unschuldigen Zivilpersonen gekostet haben und eine Welle der Gewalt ausgelöst haben, deren Folgen unabsehbar sind. Der Terrorismus ist - woher immer er auch kommt - eine politisch nicht zu rechtfertigende Verhaltensweise, die auch moralisch inakzeptabel ist.

2. Ich möchte den Opfern, ihren Familien und dem Volk der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika mein tiefes Mitgefühl und meine Solidarität ausdrücken.

3. Ich rufe zur Mäßigung und zur Vernunft auf, um zu verhindern, dass auf die Provokation und den Wahnsinn in einer Weise reagiert werden könnte, die eine offensive Revanche wäre und nur ein Ansteigen der Gewalt mit sich brächte, deren Art und Weise sowie ihr Ausgangspunkt, von niemandem vorausgesagt werden könnte und deren Ende nicht absehbar ist.

4. Ich rufe dazu auf, alle Mittel einzusetzen um einen Dialog zwischen einem hegemonischen System herzustellen, das einseitig und selektiv einschließt und ausschließt, und der verzweifelten Radikalität der Reaktionen, die es hervorgerufen hat.

5. Ich mache die internationale Gemeinschaft auf die Gefahr aufmerksam, dass die Aktionen dieser terroristischen Gruppen dazu beitragen, eine Kriegslogik auszulösen, im Zuge derer alte und neue Kontroversen zwischen den Nationen ausbrechen und Handlungen gegen Gruppen und Sektoren gerechtfertigt werden, die keinen pluralistischen Ansatz gefunden haben, um innerhalb ihrer bestehenden institutionellen Rahmen den Ausdruck ihrer Identität anzuerkennen und zu achten.

6. Ich rufe die Kommunikationsmedien auf, die Katastrophenberichterstattung zu vermeiden, die sich auf ideologisch geprägte Interpretationen stützt und nur die Verwirrung verstärkt und die Gespenster der Intoleranz nährt.

7. Ich rufe schlussendlich auch die Zivilgesellschaft des Planeten und die Nobelpreisträger sowie alle diejenigen auf, die Verantwortung für die Regierung aller Länder der Welt tragen, aus den Ereignisse von heute keine voreiligen Schlüsse zu ziehen und sich gemeinsam in einer großen ALLIANZ DER VERNUNFT zusammenzuschließen, mit der die feige Sinnlosigkeit der Welt aufgehalten und der Menschheit größeres Leid erspart wird.

(German translation by Brigitte Ornauer)



Dr. José Ramos-Horta, Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs, East Timor

We are gathering here today to pay tribute to the many thousands of our American friends, brothers and sisters, who were brutally murdered by terrorist fanatics on September 11.

I lived a good portion of a quarter of a century in New York. In the course of the many years of living there and in the last few years of visiting the US several times a year, I can claim to know the US well, having visited almost all 50 States of the Union. There I met thousands of people of different nationalities and beliefs.

There is no other country in the world with this extraordinary ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. And it is this diversity that has made America such a unique country, resilient, creative and rich.

It was with horror that I learned the news of the tragedy that befell my American friends.

The four of us who travelled to Jakarta last week for official meetings, the SRSG Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, Mr. Xanana Gusmao, Mr. Mari Alkatiri and myself, have been horrified like each of you.
Our poor and humble people received the news of the tragedy with profound sadness. Hundreds of simple family people have visited the US Mission in Dili to pay their respects.

I have refused to watch more beyond the first pictures of the WTC collapsing. It is denial, self-preservation.

I must say that no cause, however noble, no grievance or claim however valid, will ever be great enough to justify the use of terror against innocent civilians.

Fanatics have existed through centuries and caused incalculable suffering to humankind. Let us not ever forget the greatest calamity of all, the Holocaust unleashed by Adolf Hitler, against Jews and Gypsies.

In the 60´s and 70´s we witnessed a wave of terror in Europe by extremes left fanatics such as Action Directe in France, the Red Brigade in Italy, the Bader Meinhof in Germany, Carlos "The Jackal", the Japanese Red Army and many others. This terror network has been effectively obliterated.
The European experience in successfully eliminating the terrorist organizations in Europe provides us with a glimpse of hope that democracies can prevail over terrorism.

However, we cannot forget other forms of organized violence such as state terrorism against it´s own citizens. The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia was a prime example of how a State uses it´s full power to unleash violence on it´s own people.

The difference between these two extreme forms of violence is that the first is practiced by non-states actors with or without the involvement of one or more governments that provide them resources and sanctuary, and state terrorism which is almost always directed at it´s own citizens.

But in recent years we have witnessed the rising of a new form of terrorism that is mostly located in the Islamic world notably in the Middle East and parts of Asia.

Terrorist networks branch our of Afghanistan and the Middle East. Some enjoy the support of certain governments, while other terrorist organizations claiming to be the true guardians of Islam have caused widespread suffering among their own people.

We all know Islam does not advocate violence. All religions represented here today call for tolerance, justice, and compassion.

We must resist the temptation to blame entire nations, religions, or people for the actions of a small number of political extremists. And if it develops that certain governments have supported the terrorist conspiracy, we should remember that these regimes hold power in their countries by terror and violence, and are not supported by the majority of their citizens or neighbours.

The attacks against New York and the Pentagon killed also many Muslims and Arab-Americans, innocent victims like the rest of the casualties. In bringing the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice, we hope that there will be no more innocent victims.
The cycle of violence must end.
The tragedy that befell our brothers and sisters in America is already impacting on the lives of many Arabs and Muslims all over the world.
Arab and Muslim Americans are now being labeled "enemies" and are harassed.

They are already feeling hostility growing around them from their non-Arab and non-Muslim neighbours.

The Bush Administration must be commended for it´s emphatic appeals to ail Americans not to blame their fellow citizens of Arab and Muslim background.

The Palestinian dream of a homeland has been obliterated and at least postponed for long time.

Europeans and Mediterranean complexion will also be suspected and face hostility, police search, interrogation and humiliation. And I know that from now on when I check-in in an American or European airport, walk into an airport or hotel lounge, many eyes will turn to me. I know I will be stopped, searched, questioned. But I will understand.
While we mourn out American friends, pay tribute to them, show the American people our friendship, I should add that Islamic fundamentalist terrorists do not discriminate. Their targets and victims have been very diverse.

We should remember that Islamic terrorist groups in Algeria have murdered at least 100,000 innocent Algerian woman and children in the last 10 years alone.

These victims were not Americans or Christians. They were devout, poor Muslims. Pursuing an effective counter-terrorism campaign, the Algerian authorities have managed to cause severe disruption in the terrorist network.

The target and the victims of the terrorist groups in Afghanistan are fellow Afghans and the same can be said of Sudan.

As in Europe in the 60´s and 70´s, the terrorists are small and fanatic elements that kill indiscriminately men and children, of any nationality and religion, and have no popular base.
As we gather here today, leaders and people of many different convictions, we are saying "no!" to all forms of violence, intolerance and terrorism.

The East Timorese people have known much violence in this last quarter of a century. It is estimated that at least 200,000 died between 1975 and 1979 alone. In 1999 a wave of violence and destruction befell our innocent and defenceless people.

But in the 24 years of our own struggle, though effectively abandoned by most of the world, we did not betray the values that actually were our moral sustenance.

We did not allow the injustices that befell us to destroy our own humanity. We did not allow our sadness and anger to turn into hatred towards another people.

We resisted the temptation to manipulate religion in order to win the sympathy of our fellow Christians around the world.

In the course of our struggle we never instigated ethnic hatred and religious bigotry, we never hurt ethnic slurs against those who declared us to their enemies.

Now we are at peace. There are few places in the world today as peaceful as our country.

We have no organized crimes, no drug cartel, and no terror network has set base on our soil.

However, our new nation is still profoundly traumatized and fragile. The peace that we are living needs to be nurtured and consolidated.

Our people have shown great tolerance and compassion against fellow East Timorese who were on the other side of the fence. We harbor no hatred towards those who harmed us and called us their enemy.

Just two weeks ago, we did not hesitate to offer our poor land as temporary asylum for the 400 or so Tampa refugees from Afghanistan and Pakistan who were stranded in dangerous seas.

We are a destitute people, extremely poor in material possession. But our people have a great heart.

To many American brothers and sisters, speaking as someone who has lived in an known your country for many years, I join with my East Timorese compatriots in mourning your loved ones, and appeal to you not to allow your anger to betray your compassion.

Do not despair, keep the faith, and America will be ever greater.



Prof. Sir Joseph Rotblat FRS, Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, London

In the attempt to punish the groups responsible for the tragic events of 11. September we must not fall into the trap of emulating them, by unlawful killing. There were such US reactions in the past, as for example, the 1998 bombardment of a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan, with the loss of many innocent lives.

The basic principle in any contemplated action must be: keep within the law. If need be, new laws should be enacted to deal with the situation, but with the approval of the majority of nations. We must always be accountable for our deeds. This is self-evident, but in a state of shock, in which we are now, there is risk of it being overlooked.

In my opinion, a proper procedure would be along the following lines: Fist, obtain definite evidence about the identity of the leaders of the terrorist group. Having achieved this, proceedings should start to bring them before a Court in the Hague on charges of mass murder and crime against humanity (the multiple killings and the hijacking of civilians airplanes justify such charges; the deed occurred in the USA but the onslaught was against humanity.) The State (or States) harbouring the terrorists should then be requested to surrender them into the custody of the Court. Should it refuse to abide by this request, if itself should be denounced as a partner in the crime, and the matter should be referred to the Security Council for appropriate action. Pacifist as I am (but not an absolute pacifist), I would not exclude military action, provided it is carried out by the organ set up to deal with world security: the United Nations.

All this would take a long time, and would tax the patience of the American people. But precipitate action is bound to create long-term dangers.

Another risk of prolonged procedures is that in the meantime the terrorist groups may carry out further - perhaps more violent - acts, such as the use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, and steps would need to be taken to minimize the risk. These would include greater vigilance and especially much stricter controls and actions to safeguard sensitive materials. If a small proportion of the $ 40 billion that Congress voted for action, were designated for the proposed measures, the risks would be greatly reduced.

In the long term, a way to deal with the terrorists menace is by a Convention, adopted by a majority of nations and made mandatory on all, to ban the harbouring of terrorist groups within the State.

A pre-condition for this, however, must be universal acceptance of norms of morality and equity in the conduct of world affairs, specifically, respect for, and adherence to, international treaties.

In regard to this, it is the United States that has to be called to order. It is intolerable that in this day and age the mightiest country in the world should have declared that it´s overriding motivation in international affairs was the self-interest of the USA. I cannot help the feeling that selfishness and greed - which became the driving force after the victory of capitalism in the ideological struggle - are to some extent responsible for the terrible carnage that we have just witnessed.



Desmond M. Tutu Archbishop Emeritus, Africa

We are stunned by what happened last week and express our deepest condolences to the bereaved and pray for God's comfort and strength for the injured and their families.

The deed was a ghastly outrage and the perpetrators should be brought to book and justice according to the law must be done.

We pray that the response should not be in the same degree for awfulness. True security will not come from a barrel of a gun, from military force unleashed on some country, for we would be compounding the carnage, the killing of innocents.

We discovered in South Africa that violence begets violence and revenge unleashes an inexorable spiral of reprisal provoking counter reprisal and ad infinitum.

There may be an opportunity provided by this awful event to examine what the United States of America is about, what others have experienced of United States' policies, and there may be an opportunity to change.


  Joan Armatrading, Singer and Songwriter, England

The events that took place on September the 11th 2001 have brought about an end to innocence. We now have more detailed knowledge of how humans can inflict great pain and suffering on one another.
I would like to send my good wishes to the people of America and the families around the world who have lost loved ones in such tragic circumstances.

Remember compassion is the fire, that burns the hurt, that pains the soul. And though your eyes are so polluted by the sight of what you've witnessed, keep council with whomever you hold supreme.



C O M E C E (Commission of the Bishops` Conferences of the European Community)

executive Committee of COMECE:
Rt Rev Josef Homeyer, Bishop of Hildesheim (Germany), President
Rt Rev Adrianus van Luyn, Bishop of Rotterdam (Netherlands), Vice-President
Rt Rev Attilio Nicora, Italian Bishops Conference, Vice-President
Mgr Noel Treanor, Secretary General

An Appeal for Justice, Responsibility and The Conversion of our hearts and minds

1. The world was afflicted by a deep sorrow last Tuesday, 11 September. At the very beginning of the new century, evil showed itself still to be a reality of human existence. In Europe, people have expressed in many ways their sympathy with the relatives of the victims and their solidarity with the United States of America. The European Union has committed itself to stand side-by-side with the USA.

2. As Bishops, we stand under The Cross with those who grieve and despair; we call for prayer and solidarity for the sake of the victims. No-one should invoke religion or faith to justify the attacks in the Unitaed States. Those who perpetrate, defend or sanction the destruction of human life cannot claim to act in the name of God. There is no justification for violene and destruction, there is no theological foundation for terrrorism - not in the Christian, Jewish or Muslim faith. We condemn these acts.

3. In deep sorrow and with grave concern, we, the members of the Executive Committee of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), turn to the political leaders of the EU and ist member states with a threefold appeal for justice, responsibility and a conversion of hearts and minds.


4. All responsible for the attacks must be identified and punished. Our collective sense of justice would be severely damagid if, in the face of this unspeakable wrong, ist perpetrators and instigators were not brought to account. However, our classical categories of justice seem inadequate to address the terrorist attacks on Neww York and Washington. The massive use of force is not an appropriate response for restoring law and justice. Political leaders face the most difficult questions of conscience in this regard. We therefore urge the leaders of the European Union to try to do everything in their power to prevent us descending into a spiral of retaliation and war.

5. A great and unprecedented injustice has been done. Injustices exist in the world; they are the source of many political and social conflicts. The world is divided into rich and poor, and not by religions and cultures. The present challenge lies in a new policy of development for the poorer countries. One way to establish more just global structures and to reduce material poverty can be found in new forms of global governance. The greatest danger in this challenge is that we give up the vision of a just and peaceful world. The aim of globalisation should not be the wellbeing of the few, but justice for all.


6. We warn against apportioning collective blame. The attacks in America were barbaric - they contradict both Christian and Islamic notions of civilisation equally. We strongly condemn any prejudice against the Islamic faith and its culture. Our shared faith in the one God leads us to a moral duty to pursue dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims. Many Muslims live in Europe, and Islam is part of Europe's religious heritage.

7. Terrorism - whatever its motivation - represents a real and lethal danger. The international community must co-operate in a spirit of trust to eradicate the menace of terrorism. We welcome the announcement by the European Commission that it will shortly present proposals to the Concil of Ministers to strengthen co-operation between police forces and courts based on a common definition of terrorism. Europol, the EU police service, needs even more energetic support from the member states.

Conversion of our hearts and minds

8. Western power, Western wealth and their symbols have provoked animosity and hate. These symbols stand in stark contrast to the misery and powerlessness of many people, to whom the West appears hard-hearted. We are therefore convinced that in the end there can be no other path to peace than through a renewal of solidarity.

9. We propose that the EU intensifies further its co-operation with the Mediterranean rim countries in the so-called Barcelona Process. Israel must under no circumstances be excluded from this process. The endeavours to promote inter-religious dialogue in this region must be strengthened and deserve greater political support. We also urge our heads of state and government to set out a timetable and method at the European Council in Lacken in December for reaching the goal of setting aside O,7% of gross domestic product for development assistance.

10. Our universal community of values encompasses more than material wealth and military might, the sybols of which have been attacked. It is based on shared values, which find their roots deep in the convictions of our faiths. These include the commitment, "to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom". For this reason, we appeal for reflection to all those who, as poets and thinkers, as artists, as writers and journalists, as researchers and theologians, bear the responsibility for producing the symbols that denote our society. Turning anew to this spiritual wealth and finding new ways to symbolise it are the most important challenges of the conversion of our hearts and minds.

11. Countless people have turned to God in these dark days and hours in search of consolation and peace. We pray that the God of Jesus Christ "will help all people not to give in to the temptation of hate and violence, but to commit themselves to justice an peace".



Johan Eliasch, head of management board, Head Tyrolia Mares (HTM)

Terrorism is today our greatest threat to world peace. The recent terrorist strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the US which killed thousands of innocent people, caused severe damages and caused the biggest disruption to the financial system and daily life all around the world since the First World War shows, in the most painful and tragic manner, that acts of terrorism are no different from acts of war. Marked by this horrendous act of terrorism, it is now not only vitality important, but essential, that all nations around the world use a concerted effort to eradicate terrorism to preserve world peace. Any nation that does not actively support and implement measures to eradicate terrorism must be treated as an outcast and suffer the consequences.



Prof. Dr. Iring Fetscher, Social Scientist, University Frankfurt, Germany

What can be done against terrorist attacks?

  1. Modern industrialised societies are extremely vulnerable. Their buildings, their electric an other installations, their communication systems - all can be easily by only a handful of determined individuals heavily damaged.
  2. The perpetrators of these acts are not states and organised aries but small, sometimes worldwide organised - groups of determined fanatical individuals among whom some are ready to sacrifice their own life in order to produce the maximum damage to their enemy: the rich and mighty states and their symbols or representatives.
  3. Intelligent and effective answers to these challenges are
    1. the intensification of all kinds of police and secret service controls - which nevertheless will never be completely perfect as long as we maintain a liberal legal order.
    2. the strongest possible effort to promote and maintain the co-operation of as many governments, religious communities and other non-governmental organisations in order to organise a common fight against religious and nationalistic resentments and hate and to promote peaceful settlements of ethic conflicts which can never be solved with armed forces, conflicts as those between Palestinians.



Dr. Göke Frerichs, President of the European Commitee for Economy and Socialism (Europäischer Wirtschafts- und Sozialausschuss)

Wir alle sind erfüllt von Entsetzen und Abscheu angesichts der fürchterlichen Terroranschläge, die gestern die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika getroffen haben. Wir trauern um die Opfer und sind mit unseren Gedanken bei den Menschen, die ihre Angehörigen und Freunde durch diese sinnlose Tat verloren haben. Unser Mitgefühl gehört dem ganzen amerikanischen Volk, dem wir in dieser Stunde unsere Solidarität bezeugen.

Wir verurteilen den unfassbaren Terror, für den es keinerlei Rechtfertigung gibt, weder eine politische noch eine soziale oder eine ideologische. Wer immer diese Verbrechen begangen hat oder den Verbrechern Unterstützung gewährt hat, muss zur Rechenschaft gezogen und bestraft werden. Der Kampf gegen den Terrorismus, den die Staatengemeinschaft solidarisch und mit Entschiedenheit führen muss, verlangt auch die ständige Bemühung um die Beseitigung der Ursachen, die ihn nähren. Deshalb setzen wir uns auch in Zukunft mit Nachdruck für eine konsequente Friedenspolitik ein, das heisst: eine konsequente Politik zugunsten der Demokratie und der sozialen Gerechtigkeit innerhalb der Staaten und zwischen den Staaten.

Der Europäische Wirtschafts- und Sozialausschuss ruft die Organisationen und Verbände der Zivilgesellschaft und darüber hinaus alle Bürgerinnen und Bürger in ganz Europa auf, in geeigneter Form Zeichen zu setzen: Zeichen der Anteilnahme, des Mitgefühls und der Freundschaft mit dem amerikanischen Volk; Zeichen der Verurteilung des Terrors; Zeichen für Frieden und Freiheit.


Prof. Dr. Johan Galtung, Transcend Peace Network, Versonnex


[1] Diagnosis
The world will never be the same again after the terrible attack on the economic US, the military US, the foreign policy US, and on human beings like all of us. We embrace the victims of the violence, of all violence, in deep grief, and express our hope that perpetrators will be brought to justice. A violence at this level can only be explained by a very high level of dehumanization of the victims in the minds of the aggressors, often due to a very deep level of unresolved, basic conflict. The word "terrorism" may describe the tactics, but like "state terrorism" only portrays the perpetrator as evil, satanic, and does not go to the roots of the conflict. The text of targets reads like a retaliation for US use of economic power against poor countries and poor people, US use of military power against defenseless people and US political power against the powerless. This calls to mind the many countries around the world where the US has bombed or otherwise exercised its awesome power, directly or indirectly; adding 100,00 dying daily at the bottom of an economic system by many identified with US economic, military and political power. Given the millions, not thousands, of victims it has to be expected that this generates a desire for retaliation somewhere, some time. The basic dividing line in this conflict is class, of countries and of people. It is not civilization, although US sense of mission, manifest destiny, and Islamic sense of righteousness are parts of it. Right now the confrontation seems to be between the US/West and Arabs/Muslims. But this may also be a fallacy of misplaced concreteness: the matter may possess more intention and more capability than other victims of the enormous US/West violence since the Second world war. We should neither underestimate the extent of solidarity in the "rest of the world", nor the solidarity of the world upper class: the West; and build solidarity with victims everywhere. In placing the horrendous attack on the US in the context of a cycle of retaliation there is no element of justification, no excuse, no guilt-attribution. There is only deep regret that this chain of violence and retaliation is a human fact. But it may also serve to make us break that vicious spiral.

[2] Prognosis
With talk of Crusades from the USA, and of the fourth stage of jihad, Holy War, from Islamic quarters, the world may be heading for the largest violent encounter ever. The first jihad, against the Crusades 1095-1291 lasted 196 years; the Muslims won. The second, against Israel, is undecided. The third, against communism in Afghanistan, ended with Soviet withdrawal and collapse as a factor ending the Cold War (and no thanks). Muslims are willing to die for their faith.

[3] Therapy
To prevent a slide into a large war with enormous, widespread suffering, the US, everybody, should not rush to action. Hold It, Deep Self-reflection, Dialogue, Identify the conflicts, the issues, Solve them, Reconcile. Dialogue and global education to understand how others think, and to respect other cultures, not debate to defeat others with stronger arguments, can lead the way toward healing and closure. Governments in the West, and also in the South, cannot be relied upon to do this; they are too tied to the US and also too afraid of incurring US wrath. Only people can, only the global civil society. What is needed as soon as humanly possible is a massive peace movement, this time North-South. It worked last time, East-West. The future of the world is more than ever in the hands of the only source of legitimacy: people everywhere.



Hazel Henderson, author, futurist and consultant on sustainable development

Mr. Bush´s "Win-Win Option"

Many policy pitfalls have been pointed out to President Bush as his team crafts a response to the terrible attacks of September 11, 2001. They include the need to avoid any rapid retaliation with the use of force, which might kill more civilians. Afghanistan is already a wasteland of poverty, drought and suffering - while Osama bin Laden´s camps are mobile and hard to delect. Recruiting allies and NATO could lead to another set of "us versus them" divisions that could further alienate many other countries - and risk further terrorist acts.

President Bush can learn from his father and avoid such traps by uniting the whole world to participate in curbing terrorism. President Bush now has $ 40 billion of discretionary funds granted by Congress. He could take $ 1 billion of this and pay the USA´s arrears owed to the United Nations and to our allies for past UN peacekeeping actions, which were fully approved by the USA. Mr. Bush can properly bypass the Congress and cite our national security in an Executive Order to pay the UN what we own.

Why is this necessary? Because, like his father during the Gulf War in 1991, President Bush needs to create the very broadest coalition of support for the US in dealing with terrorism. Only the UN can deliver this: the support of every country in the world via a UN Resolution. Even our approaches to Pakistan will need to be strengthened by support of all countries - through a UN Resolution.

Such UN action will be swift and supportive of the US - since it can invoke the power of international law and precedent. Then a UN Summit on Terrorism can be quickly convened - with the willing help of our European and NATO partners and include every country wishing to be free of the scourge of terrorism.

The new "war", as we are learning, is different. The old cowboy West "guns blazing" models belong to the last century. The USA has been the key player in today´s technological and economic globalization. Such technological innovation created the tightly-wired interdependent world we now share with all people - rich and poor, industrialized or still pastoral. We took all the firewalls down between national economies and we are now learning how to deal with the consequences: massive flows of "hot money" and the crises and contagion as all economics now move up or down in synch.

Similarly, the world´s 2 billion people surviving on less than $ 2 per day can see on global media our affluent, often wasteful consumption. The result of this global interdependence is resentment, anger, desperate immigrants seeking better lives for their children - and inevitably, greater risks of terrorism. We in the USA are called to a greater maturity - matching our power and wealth. We lost our innocence on September 11.

Today´s current economics, technological globalization could end in another global recession and war as the previous globalization did in the 1930s and 1940s. Therefor, to prevent this, we must help shape a more just and ecologically sustainable global economy. The myriad of international agreements need to shape this healthier, more balanced globalization, must reinforce those already achieved on human rights, workplace core labor standards and the treaties to protect our global environment.

These accords were brokered over 55 years by the United Nations - and today, many more need to be ratified by the USA, from the Kyoto protocols on global climate change to the International Criminal Court. We need INTERPOL and many other international agencies to help catch Osama bin Laden and his accomplices. Then these criminals can be tried before the International Court in the Hague - along with Slobodan Milosovic and others who commit crimes against all humanity.

President Bush´s first months of unilateralism, during which he abrogated no less than six international treaties, including his missile defense threat to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, caused deep anger, even amongst the USA´s closest allies. Mr. Bush needs them now - as well as all other countries fighting terrorism.

Only the United Nations has a big enough tent to bring all countries to a Summit on Terrorism, where all - including many sympathetic Muslim countries can shape a worldwide strategy to combat terrorists wherever they are in our wired, global village. Such win-win strategies will become more prevalent as we all learn the lessons of global interdependence.



Prof. Baron A. L. Jaumotte, Honorary Rector of the free University of Brussels

A deed of the Université libre de Bruxelles

The free University of Brussels recently created the Pole Bernheim (after the name of the donator) for studies on peace and citizenship.

On November the 9th 2001, the Pole will organize a colloquy to be entitled "The Art of Peace: a trans-disciplinary approach".

During the colloquy, three sessions will be consecrated to
· From violence to peace
· To cultivate peace
· Peace as an international stake

Each session will comprise an account made by a reporter, followed by points of view and discussions prepared by various personalities.
A general conclusion will be made of, by the Chaire Bernheim´s titular 2000 - 2001, Pierre Calome, President of the Charles-Leopold Mayer Foundation for progress of Humankind.

In that way, the free University of Brussels takes place, in deeds, in the International Peace Foundation´s purpose, in a moment that all democracies and men of peace around the world are being questioned by the provocation that terrorists attempts of September 11th in New York and Washington D C constitute.
Let us remember T. Carlyle´s words: "It is a fundamental error to consider violence as a strength".
By defending democracy, one defends peace.
Politics is a necessary way to the realization of this double imperative, as this fundamental values are inefficient to define nor a strategy, either a diplomacy, when one must face Realpolitik´s requirements. Historical proof of this inefficiency was given in 1938, with the Munich concords: French and English pacifist politics did lead to war.

Could everything be done to avoid History to repeat.



Ervin Laszlo, President of the Club of Budapest


Die Kamikaze-Anschläge vom 11. September auf das World Trade Center in New York und das Pentagon in Washington war ein Verbrechen gegen die Menschheit und gegen jede Zivilisation. Wir verurteilen diesen Akt des Terrorismus und rufen alle ethisch motivierten und friedliebenden Menschen in der ganzen Welt auf zusammenzustehen und dem Terrorismus und der Gewalt in all ihren Formen ein Ende zu bereiten. Unschuldige Menschen zu töten und ihre Wohn- und Arbeitsorte zu zerstören bringt für kein einziges der Weltprobleme irgendeine Lösung.

Wenn wir bei der Ausrottung von Gewalt und Terrorismus erfolgreich sein wollen, ist Weisheit in unseren Handlungen geboten. Gewalt und Terrorismus können nicht überwunden werden durch Gegenschläge nach dem Prinzip "Auge um Auge, Zahn um Zahn". Die wirklichen Wurzeln der Gewalt liegen tiefer als die fanatischen Selbstverpflichtungen von Terroristen und die religiösen Forderungen von Fundamentalisten. Das Ausschalten einer Gruppe von Terroristen wird das Problem nicht lösen, denn solange die zugrundeliegenden Ursachen fortbestehen, werden andere an ihren Platz treten.

Der Terror, der in der heutigen Welt auftaucht, ist ein Symptom für tiefsitzende Enttäuschungen und Wut über die seit langem bestehenden offensichtlichen Ungerechtigkeiten in der Welt. Wir, die Mitglieder des Club of Budapest, haben uns darauf verpflichtet, nach den Ursachen jener Faktoren zu suchen, die diesen Hass und diese Gewalt hervorrufen, und friedliche und effektive Wege vorzuschlagen, wie diese überwunden werden können. Solange und soweit die tieferen Ursachen nicht beseitigt sind, werden wir keinen Frieden in der Welt haben, höchstens ein unsicheres Zwischenspiel zwischen terroristischen Akten und anhaltenden Feindschaften. Solange Menschen derart entmutigt sind und in sich den Wunsch nach Hass und Rache tragen, ist ein Zusammenleben im Geist von Frieden und Kooperation nicht möglich. Ob die Gründe dafür nun im verletzten Ego von Menschen liegen oder in der verletzten Selbstachtung von Völkern, im Wunsch nach persönlicher Rache oder nach einem "Heiligen Krieg" zur Verteidigung ihres Glaubens - das Resultat bleibt immer Gewalt, Tod und Katastrophen. Die Erlangung von Frieden in der Seele jedes Einzelnen ist die Voraussetzung für die Erlangung von Frieden in der Welt.

Der Club of Budapest ist hält daran fest: Eine weise Antwort auf Gewalt und Terrorismus besteht in der Hilfe für die Menschen, Frieden mit sich selbst zu finden und mit ihren Mitmenschen nah und fern. In der Förderung von Solidarität mit und der Kooperation für die gemeinsame Sache von Fairness und Gerechtigkeit ist der einzig gangbare Weg zu dauerhaftem Frieden auf Erden.


Joe Leinen, Chairman, Union of the European Federation

PRESSEMITTEILUNG, Kontakt: Bruno Boissiere


Nach der schrecklichen und feigen Attacke letzter Woche empfindet der Vorstand der Union der Europäischen Föderalisten und dessen Präsident, Europaabgeordneter Jo LEINEN, volles Mitgefühl mit den amerikanischen Bürgern.

Die Spannungssituationen, das Elend und die Anarchie, die der heutzutage verbreiteten Abneigung gegen die USA als Nährboden dienen, können nicht durch militärische Maßnahmen alleine bekämpft werden. Die Föderalisten plädieren für eine multilaterale Politik, die weltweite "governance" garantiert. Eine Politik, die auf Frieden basiert und die in den ärmsten und unsichersten Regionen der Welt die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung fördert und gerechte und fortschrittliche politische Lösungen findet.

Die U.E.F. ist der Ansicht, dass die europäischen Regierungen durch Ihre Uneinigkeit und Machtlosigkeit den Vereinigten Staaten eine zu große Aufgabe alleine überlassen. Die Amerikanische Regierung steht dadurch unter unerträglichem Druck.

Die U.E.F. weist auf die Notwendigkeit der politischen Union und somit der Erweiterung der menschlichen und materiellen Mittel Europas hin. Dadurch könnte Europa wichtigen internationalen Verantwortungen nachgeben und zur Entwicklung und Herstellung des Friedens in den unsichersten Regionen beitragen, im Nahen Osten angefangen. Die Europäer würden somit die Vereinigten Staaten von einem großen Teil der jetzigen Verantwortung entlasten und eine stabilere Weltordnung herstellen. Internationale Kooperation müsste sich gegen Machtkonflikte durchsetzen und dem internationalen Terrorismus würden seine Grundlagen entzogen werden.

Die U.E.F. fordert, dass die Staats- und Regierungschefs der EU (zumindest die weitsichtigen unter ihnen) auf die nationalen Souveränitäten verzichten, die das Entscheidungsverfahren der EU paralysieren und die Union zu einer unverantwortlichen Passivität verurteilen.

Die Europäischen Föderalisten fordern, dass die EU Mitgliedsstaaten sich in einer demokratischen Föderation einigen, die fähig ist, eine effiziente Aussenpolitik zu betreiben. Nur so können Freiheit, Demokratie, soziale Gerechtigkeit und Toleranz weltweit gefördert und verteidigt und Europas innere und äussere Sicherheit garantiert werden.

Jo LEINEN erklärte: "Um zur Bekämpfung des weltweiten Terrorismus beizutragen, muss die EU neue Verantwortungen übernehmen. Die EU muss dringend Ihre Aussen-, Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik und Ihre Politik für Justiz und Inneres ausweiten, gleichzeitig aber auch die Effizienz dieser Politiken verstärken, indem die Entscheidungsverfahren verbessert werden".



Prof. Dr. Edgar Morin, Social Scientist, University of Paris

To declare war to terrorism it is necessary to declare peace to islamic world.
To declare peace to islamic world, it is necessary to repare soon some fondamenal injustices, in first to recognize the palestinian nation and a palestinian state.



Prof. Dr. Milos Nikolic, Director, Center for Transition to Democracy, Beograd

The terrible terrorist attack on the USA, which is at the same time an attack on the whole citied world, is demanding an organized struggle against terrorism.
This struggle has to be developed, nationally and internationally on various levels: on investigation, political, economical (financial) and educational levels and, of course, on police and military levels.

This struggle is a duty of international organizations (the UN, in the first place), national governments (including their corresponding institutions and agencies), international and national segments of the civil society (first of all, NGOs and media), etc.

National and International peace organizations and organizations for human rights have to find their specific role in the struggle against terrorism.
The struggle against terrorism has to be realized not only as police and military actions. If we really want to liquidate national and international terrorism, it is necessary to find their protagonists and particularly their causes and roots. Without knowing precisely the protagonists, causes and roots, terrorism could not be liquidated.

It seems to me the International Peace University could give a worthy contribution to the struggle of terrorism by the theoretical investigations and political considerations of the protagonists, causes and roots of terrorism.



Prof. John C. Polanyi, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto



Adapting a Latin tag; 'to whom they seek to destroy, the Gods grant their wish'.

The terrorists wanted America's attention. They have got it.

They wanted America to suffer as others have done. They succeeded.
As a consequence America has joined the world in vigorous opposition to terrorism.

This has set the U.S., for the present, on the course of real consultation, co-operation and commitment to a rule-based world.

The talk in high policy circles is of caution, diplomacy, economic pressure not military action, the long-haul not the quick fix. Terrorism is to be rejected everywhere, beginning with the Middle East.
Its origins are to be addressed.

There is one wish of the terrorists that must, by implication, be denied; their desire for martyrdom in a rain of missiles that would leave them stronger and swell their ranks.
Miraculously, in part because of international calls for restraint, this has so far been denied them.
It is vital that this continue to be the case.


In the days (Sept. 6-9) prior to the attack on NYC I spoke at a meeting on the U.S. proposal for National Missile Defense, in Como, Italy. (Participants included John Rhinelander who represented the U.S. at the ABM Treaty, and Robert McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Cuban missile crisis.)

We were there to discuss a proposal for concentric rings of anti-missiles to be erected around North America. This proposal, is, in my view, for a Maginot Line in the sky; it would provide the dangerous illusion of defense. Despite a pretence of consultation, it represents a unilateral U.S. initiative. It would require the abrogation of a major arms control agreement (the 1972 ABM Treaty).

My thesis was that these defensive arms are, nonetheless, arms. They will encourage others to arm. But we need clear evidence of disarmament if we are to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) around the world. The spread of WMD poses the greatest threat to global security imaginable, since it will put these weapons in the hands of terrorists who cannot be deterred.

I returned from that meeting one week late, because of the global consequences of conventional terrorism.

I was heartened on arrival here last night to hear President Bush say on television that his first priority is a war in which "no battle lines can be drawn". This is a dramatic change from his dream of an America secure within its 21st century perimeter. He is describing, today, the real world of contemporary security, which rests on agreed rules of conduct (laws) and a willingness to be bound by them. He deserves every possible support in elaborating this vision.



Edzard Reuter, former Chairman of Daimler Benz, Germany

In den letzten Tagen bin ich unzählige Male auf Stellungnahmen angesprochen worden. Angesichts der Flutwelle von öffentlichen Äusserungen erschien und erscheint es mit mehr oder minder sinnlos, eine weitere hinzu zu fügen, die nur wiederholt, was schon gesagt worden ist. Natürlich dürfen wir uns alle als demokratische Staaten nicht widerstandslos dem gnadenlosen Terror einiger Wahnsinniger fügen. Wohl bedachte Gegenwehr ist also unverzichtbar. Sie darf allerdings nicht ausarten in Militäraktionen, die keine Rücksicht auf Unschuldige nehmen. Das aber, so denke ich, haben inzwischen alle Verantwortlichen erkannt und werden es berücksichtigen. Ich sehe also keine Gefährdung des Weltfriedens am Horizont. Das einzige, was man tun kann und sollte, ist also, immer wieder zur Bedachtsamkeit zu mahnen. Eines kann nach den Vorgängen in New York und Washington niemand leugnen: nicht die Ermordeten, sondern die Mörder sind schuld, wenn ihnen ihr Handwerk gelegt wird.



Dr. Karan Singh, M.P. and Chairman of the Temple of Understanding, India

An Interfaith meeting conveyed by the Temple of Understanding, an international Interfaith organisation, was held on Monday, 17 September 2001 in the evening at India International Centre, New Delhi, to pray for the victims of the terrorist bombings in the United States of America and those who are grieving for them.

Dr. Karan Singh: such acts of mass violence, hatred and destruction need to be universally condemned. No religion sanctions the taking of innocent lives, and the horrifying bombing of the World Trade Centre twin towers in New York will go down in history as a day of infamy and tragedy. People, belonging to all religions, come together in prayer and harmony, so that we can build a better world for future generations.



Brother David Steindl-Rast, O.S.B., USA


This morning, I buried a chipmunk. The cat's teeth had left no marks. The cheeky fellow seemed to just have curled up to sleep in the hole I had dug between early chrysanthemums. As I piled a few trowels full of soil on this little grave, I remembered with a smile childhood games of burying dead birds and bugs and mice. Suddenly I thought of humans - thousands upon thousands - whom no one ever buried, because not even their bodies were left, victims of violence from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to lower Manhatten. Gratitude? The very word seems utterly out of place, even offensive, under the given circumstances.

And yet, that we speak of "given" circumstances is significant. Whatever is given is gift; and the appropriate response to any gift is gratitude. But what could be the gift in this case? The gift we were given by the Wake up Call of September 11th is an unprecedented opportunity. The gift within every gift is opportunity. For us, these days, it is the opportunity to wake up - wake up to the madness of violence and counter-violence. After all, we witnessed merely the most recent link in a chain of revenge for revenge. This recent retaliation is certainly not the first, but it gives us a unique opportunity to wake up and to make it the last.

Strange though it is, many of us were able to ignore the vicious circle of violence against violence - our own and that of others - as long as it was happening far away. We were asleep. This was a rough awakening. What now? We can show ourselves grateful for the Wake-up Call by staying awake, by acting wakefully. A danger recognized and faced is cut in half. The danger is violence - regardless who commits it, terrorists or legitimate governments. No rhetoric, no posturing can any longer obscure the fact that violence breeds violence. We must break that cycle of madness.

Violence has its roots in every heart. It is in my own heart that I must recognize fear, agitation, coldness, alienation, and the impuls to blind anger. Here in my heart I can turn fear into courageous trust, agitation and confusion into stillness, isolation into a sense of belonging, alienation into love, and irrational reaction into Common Sense. The crative imagination of gratefulness will suggest to each one of us how to go about this task. I will list here five small gestures which have helped me personally show my gratitude for the Wake-up Call and stay awake.

All gratitude expresses trust. Suspicion will not even recognize a gift as gift; who can prove that it isn't a lure, a bribe, a trap? Gratefulness has the courage to trust and so overcames fear. The air has been electrefied by fearfulness these days, a fearfulness fostered and manipulated by politcians and the media. There lies our greatest danger: fear perpetuates violence. Mobilize the courage of your heart, as the truly awake ones are doing. Say one word today that gives a fearful person courage.

Because gratitude expresses courage, it spreads calm. Calm of this kind is quite campatible with deep emotions. In fact, the mass hysteria rampant all around betrays confusion rather than deep feeling - superficial agitation rather than a deep current of campassion. Join the truly compassionate ones who are calm and strong. From the stillness of your heart's core reach out. Calmly hold someone's hand today and spread calm.

When you are grateful, your heart is open - open towards others, open for surprise. In the days since the Wake-up Call we have seen remarkable examples of this openness: strangers helping strangers often in heroic ways. Others turn away, isolate themselves, dare even less than at other times to look at each other. Violence begins with isolation. Break this pattern. Make contact with people whom you normally ignore - eye-contact at least - with the agent at the toll booth, the parking lot attendant, someone on the elevator. Look a stanger in the eyes today and realize that there are no strangers.

You can feel either grateful or alienated, but never both at the same time. Gratefulness drives out alienation; there is not room for both in the same heart. When you are grateful you know that you belong to a network of give-and-take and you say "yes" to that belonging. This "yes" is the essence of love. You need no words to express it; a smile will do to put your "yes" into action. Don't let it matter to you whether or not the other one smiles back. Give someone an unexpected smile today and so contribute your share to peace on earth.

What your gratefulness does for yourself is as important as what it does for others. Gratefulness boosts your sense of belonging; your sense of belonging in turn boosts your Common Sense. Your "yes" to belonging attunes you to the common concerns shared by all human beings. After the Wake-up Call, nothing else makes sense but Common Sense. We have only one enemy, our common enemy: violence. Common Sense tells us: we can stop violence only by stopping to act violently; war is no way to peace. Listen to the news today and put at least one item to the test of Common Sense.

The five steps I am suggesting here are small, but they work. It helps that they are small: anyone can take them. Imagine a country whose citizens - maybe even its leaders - are brave, calm and open towards each other; a country whose people realize that all human beings belong together as one family and must act accordingly; a country guided by Common Sense. To the extent to which we show ourselves not hateful but grateful this becomes reality. Who would have foreseen that gratitude could shine forth with such new brightness in these dark days? May it light our way.



Sir Sigmund Sternberg, KCSG, Chairman, International Council of Christians and Jews, London

At this times of crises for all civilised humankind, the Three Faith Forums, linking Christians, Muslims and Jews, was holding an emergency meeting of it´s Advisory Council on the 24th of September 2001, to which representatives of Government and the diplomatic community will join us in demonstrating our respect for each other.

We are concerned at the stereotyping of Muslims as terrorists or sympathisers to religious violence. Unfounded accusations against Muslims not only perpetuate prejudice against the religion of Islam and it´s followers; they also undermine the civic voice and contributions that British Muslims make to our society.

This unprecedented gathering enabled members of the faith community to reach out to each other, to proclaim their solidarity in the face of murderous acts of terror which threaten us all and offer our sympathies to the relatives and friends of all the victims.



Konstantin Wecker, Singer and Songwiter, Germany

Ist es nicht entsetzlich, was Nationalismus und Fanatismus anrichten? Wie verblendet und von Hass verbrannt muss man sein, um sich zum Massenmord berechtigt zu fühlen? Zum heiligen Krieg? Mein ganzes Mitgefühl gilt natürlich den Amerikanern: Den Verletzten, den Verwandten und Freunden der Toten, den Kindern und Müttern und Vätern, all denen, denen der 11. September 2001 das Leben zerstört hat. Wie viele Kinder warten heute vergebens auf ihre Mütter und Väter? Uns erschüttern diese Bilder auch deshalb so , weil es ein Anschlag auf unsere "zivilisierte", westliche Wohlstandsgesellschaft ist. Aber ich denke, gerade in solchen tragischen Momenten, sollten wir auch der 80 000 Menschen gedenken , die täglich verhungern. In Gegenden die weit weg sind. Am Rande sich rasant ausbreitender Wüsten. Denen keine Sondersendungen gewidmet werden.

... Ich hoffe, dass man jetzt nicht wieder einzig die "harte Mann" Reaktion als Antwort hat. Das würde die Spirale der Gewalt nur weiter drehen. Solch eine Zeit der Trauer sollte auch eine Zeit der Besinnung sein.Für uns alle.

... Meines Erachtens war der das kein Anschlag auf Amerika, sondern ein entsetzliches Verbrechen gegen 5000 Menschen aus über 60 Nationen. Meine uneingeschränkte Solidarität gilt diesen Menschen, ihren Freunden und Verwandten. Nicht einer Nation. Denn wir alle sind aufgefordert umzudenken, nicht nur die Amerikaner. Unsere westliche Lebensweise des Überflusses, der Verschwendung, der Gedanken- und Geistlosigkeit zu überdenken. Unseren Hochmut und unsere Ignoranz. Das große Leid rechtfertigt nicht die ewig alten Fehler.

Nationalismus ist und bleibt ein Grundübel.

Terrorismus muss mit rechtlichen, nicht mit militärischen Mitteln bekämpft werden. Also muss man die ganze Welt einbeziehen im Kampf gegen die unmenschlichen Verbrecher. Nicht nur die sogenannte zivilisierte Welt.

Dies ist kein Krieg.

Noch nicht.