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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> I thought the letters "CASI" stood for: "Campaign Against > Sanctions imposed on Iraq", not "Campaign Against SH". So if Yasser wants to make his point, > he should make it on another website. Dear Dirk and other list members, CASI stands for the "Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq". One of CASI's principal services is the provision of this electronic discussion list, which is open to all who wish to be members. The vast majority of these people will be concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the sanctions on Iraq and will be seeking to lift them. Thus, in my eyes, this is a list of friends and allies who, like me, are trying to alleviate the suffering that we, as members of the international community, are inflicting on the people of Iraq. Beyond this commonality, every member of this list will have their own particular concerns. Some, often Iraqis, have first hand experience with the brutality of the Iraqi regime. For them, discussions about respecting national sovereignty may seem distorted and unrelated to Iraq's realities: Saddam suppresses most political dissent in Iraq; in protecting 'national sovereignty', one may actually be protecting the right of a jail-keeper to keep a nation in prison. Equally, many list members may place their hope in international law as the surest footing for the maintenance of international peace, stability and justice. Decisions by powerful nations to discard law when it does not serve them are therefore deeply harmful to attempts to build a just and peaceful world. The dilemma facing those of us who care about people in Iraq is, I think, that these positions both are strong positions, but are in tension with each other. However we may choose to act (e.g. single issue or broader approach), I think that honesty requires us to recognise that there is not an easy way of resolving this tension. Intellectual honesty, then, is one reason that I think we must be respectful of the positions of others on this list whose own mix of concerns may not be the same as ours. While intellectual honesty may seem a rather gentle virtue to espouse in such a rough environment, I think that it is essential if we wish to help the people of Iraq. Another reason that I think we must respect the positions of others on this list is that, in the end, we are working towards at least one common goal. If we fall to infighting, and attempts to demonstrate our ideological superiority or purity, then we create divisions amongst ourselves, reducing our ability to achieve this common goal. I've been a bit worried by a tendency of late in this direction: after the momentum of 1998 - 2000, with the resignations of Halliday, von Sponeck and even Ritter, the past year or so has been a frustrating one. This frustration makes it easier to squabble with those near us, such as the members of this list. The respect that I am advocating does not mean censorship: the debate on the sanctions on Iraq now has clearly become wrapped up in a debate about US military strategy and the Iraqi government, and we must understand these issues if we are to be effective. Finally, I hope that my own remarks do not serve to stir exactly the sort of arguments that I have been hoping to reduce. I dislike posting on procedural issues like this, both for fear of entangling us in a morass of procedural debate that leaves everyone frustrated and because I sense that these remarks are very banal (along the lines of "people should be nice to each other"). At the same time, I do believe that the civility that has typified this list over the years has been a real tribute to the maturity of people in the anti-sanctions movement. I believe that this is worth speaking up for. Best wishes, and carry on posting! Colin Rowat work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of Birmingham | Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK | web.bham.ac.uk/c.rowat | (+44/0) 121 414 3754 | (+44/0) 121 414 7377 (fax) | firstname.lastname@example.org personal | (+44/0) 7768 056 984 (mobile) | (+44/0) 7092 378 517 (fax) | (707) 221 3672 (US fax) | email@example.com _________________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk