The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Dear Dave and everyone
The diversity of views even within Voices is now apparent.
What has been in danger, in my view, has been the degree of focus of this list (and therefore the degree of its usefulness to the ordinary people of Iraq), and the tone of the conversation we are trying to conduct amidst what Dave very appropriately describes as 'the fury of reality'.
All of us on this list want to help the people of Iraq. We all want to stop the British government contributing to hunger and disease, the destruction of culture and the erosion of society.
This list helps us to do that, by being focused on this task, and by being a safe place for people to exchange views and information and experiences.
Protecting that focus and the sense of safety and civility are very important to the anti-sanctions movement in this country, in my view.
From a factual point of view, it is not my understanding that either of the two people mentioned have been prevented from posting to this list. Postings they wish to make will 'require the explicit approval of the moderators' before they are posted.
This is a form of pre-publication censorship, I agree, but one that (a) is justified in these circumstances, and (b) cannot be described as a blanket ban on postings from these individuals - if I have understood the process correctly.
Members have not been 'excluded' from this list, then, if my understanding of the 'read only' status is accurate.
I should also clarify that I did not ask for a new list to be set up because I disagreed with any of the opinions being aired, as has been suggested.
I also did not ask any members of this list to 'clear off'. I hope that everyone who is now a member will continue to be a member and will continue to contribute to our common purpose of lifting these economic sanctions from Iraq.
We disagree on a thousand subjects but we agree on one very important subject, and our unity and agreement has had and can have in the future considerable importance for the lives and hopes of 22 million people.
I agree that the list discussion manager's intervention was authoritarian. But I believe it to have been a justifiable act of authority, in the same way that it is justifiable at a dinner party for a host to tell a guest who is acting inappropriately to go home and sober up (not that this is at all applicable to Nels!).
Or the case of the chair of a political meeting who is forced to ask someone who is speaking interminably and to no obvious benefit to wind up (again, this is not an analogy to recent events!).
I don't feel that CASI as an organisation lives in a 'make-believe world', or that this list has constructed 'barricades' to keep out the realities of the world, as has been suggested.
I think we have managed to have effective, efficient and courteous discussion of some very complex and painful issues, and while much of the credit goes to those who contribute to the list, a lot must go to those who have moderated it.
CASI, I salute you! (I expect a fiver in the post tomorrow.)
Can we stop discussing the management of the list now and start discussing the sanctions again?
Voices in the Wilderness UK
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