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CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS RESPONSE TO ATTACKS IN THE UNITED STATES (New York, September 13, 2001) – We condemn and deplore Tuesday’s horrific attacks in the United States and express our sorrow and solidarity with the victims, their relatives and friends, and all people who have been wounded by these crimes. Amidst the devastation, the response in New York has been inspiring. Despite palpable anger, New Yorkers have largely resisted the lure of answering hate with hate and instead joined together in grief for the victims and resolve to carry on. Despite continuing danger, firefighters, rescue workers and volunteers have worked nonstop to control the inferno and locate survivors. Mayor Giuliani himself rushed to the danger zone to supervise the rescue effort, and also announced zero tolerance for vigilante reprisals. In contrast, our highest federal officials in Washington went missing from the scene of destruction and issued what can only be termed dangerously irresponsible calls for military vengeance. President Bush’s warning that we “will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbored them” can be interpreted to justify attacking an entire nation rather than strictly targeting those responsible. Democratic Senator Zell Miller of Georgia made this explicit: “I say, bomb the hell out of them. If there’s collateral damage, so be it. They certainly found our civilians to be expendable.” We affirm that all civilians, regardless of nationality or any other status, are protected by fundamental principles of international law, human rights and common decency. The tragic loss of life in lower Manhattan and elsewhere must not be followed by another slaughter of innocents in another part of our world. US media coverage has simplified the issues as good versus evil, American liberty versus irrational Islamic fundamentalism. This indicates a profound lack of political reflection on the US role in supporting oppressive governments and policies in the Middle East, from Israeli occupation of Palestinian land to Egyptian and Saudi repression of democratic dissent. It is never popular to discuss root causes in the midst of such carnage. But these disaster scenes will become increasingly frequent unless we resolve to consistently support human rights in all countries for all peoples. Indiscriminate bombardment of Afghanistan or Iraq – whose populations are already brutalized by war, US-driven economic sanctions and repressive governments – will destroy fragile infrastructure, kill civilians, inflame anti-American sentiment throughout the region and escalate the cycle of violence – while leaving the architects of the suicide attacks untouched. The damage to our own society could be even greater – increased militarization, potential suspension of civil liberties and widespread scapegoating of minority communities. Already there have been scores of bias crimes against Arabs and Muslims reported across the country. We urge all people of conscience to extend all possible support to victims of Tuesday’s heinous attacks, to stand fast against all forms of racism and stereotyping, and to oppose calls by certain political leaders for indiscriminate vengeance abroad and diminished freedoms at home. The path to increased security for Americans and other peoples lies through more justice and more democracy, not less. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk