OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. FROM: MAIREAD CORRIGAN MAGUIRE, NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE. 20th JUNE 20ll.
DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,
‘STATE VIOLENCE & KILLING IS NOT THE ANSWER’
As you know, on lst May, 20ll, the NATO forces tried unsuccessfully to assassinate the Libyan Head of State, Moammer Gadaffi. This attempt to assassinate the Libyan Head of State under US Army law, was a war crime and punishable as an International crime in its own right. During the attack by NATO forces one of President Gadaffi’s sons, and three of Gadaffi’s grandchildren were killed by NATO forces.
The following day, 2nd May 20ll, the extra-judicial killing and assassination of Osama Bin Laden, and killings of a woman and two men who were with him, by the US Navy SEALs, continued the State Terrorism of the US Government. After the assassination you, Mr. President, addressed the media and attempted to make acceptable the idea that such violence is just and acceptable. Do you and your Government and Allies who support you, really believe that the vast majority of men and women around the world have lost all sense of what is right and what is wrong? Do you really believe that we have all abandoned all sense of decency and ethical values exchanging them in support of your endorsed illegal, killing of unarmed civilians? Do you really believe we will all remain silent whilst under your warrior leadership the US Government and its allies dismantle basic human rights and international laws, so long fought for by brave, courageous men and women (including Americans) replacing these with extrajudicial killings, torture and assassinations?
Three months into the French, English, Italian led NATO/US campaign (never sanctioned by US Law) and shamefully agreed by U.N. (who identified the purpose of the operation to be for the protection of citizens!) people of conscience are horrified to hear that, yet again, on l9th June, NATO has carried out more air attacks on Libya, killing 15 unarmed civilians, including women and children.
After 9/ll the whole world shared the grief of the American people, and many hoped that those who carried out such horrendous acts would be brought to justice through the Courts. We were moved by many of the families who lost loved ones on 9/ll when they started ‘Families for a peaceful tomorrow’ and called for justice not revenge. However, violence and revenge was the chosen path of the US Government and its Allies, who for ten years embarked on a path of violence and war. In this time over 6,000 USA soldiers have needlessly died and countless thousands injured physically and mentally. Wars in Iraq (over l million Iraqis killed) and Afghanistan (over 50,000 Afghans killed) were carried out by the US in their pursuit of vengeance. The US-led so-called ‘war on terrorism’ in Iraq/Afghanistan/Pakistan has ‘terrorised’ unarmed civilians by carrying out aerial bombardments, night raids, death squads, extra-judicial killings and drone attacks killing many unarmed civilians, including women and children, and tragically they continue to this day.
In a world struggling to birth a new consciousness, it is not incredulous that the best the US Government, NATO and its allies can offer as a model to world citizens, is the outdated example of violence, militarism, and war, destroying humans and their environment?
I believe real change and leadership is coming from the people’s movements and what is happening around the world amongst the masses of extra-ordinary men and women rising up, mostly peacefully and non-violently, in country after country for human dignity, equality, freedom and democracy and against violence, oppression, injustice and war, is the real force for change. We all take great hope and inspiration from the ‘Arab Spring’ and join in solidarity with our courageous Arab brothers and sisters in working for change.
A new dawn, a new age of civilization is coming. It will be an age of solidarity, of each person dedicated to ‘protective love’ of each other and our World. It will be an age of nonviolent evolution which shows we can solve our problems as the human family by peaceful means not by violence, nuclear weapons and war.
The peoples of the world are sending a clear message to you Mr. President, to NATO, and all our Governments, and armed opposition groups, that there will be no military solutions to these ethnic/political/economic problems, but only through ending occupations (USA -Iraq/Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine) declaring ceasefires (Libya, etc.,) and entering into dialogue and negotiations with all parties to the conflicts, can we begin to solve these problems, the roots of which are inequality and injustice.
Mr. President, you came into office promising change and gave the world hope. You lit the passion in the hearts of many men and women longing for change, for dialogue and negotiation, to move beyond destructive militarism, nuclear weapons and war. That passion remains in the heart of humanity as can be seen in the mass nonviolent movements for social and political change taking place around the world. Will you, Mr. President, take this great opportunity in human history and help lead ,the world to a new beginning, so we can in the words of the late President John F. Kennedy ‘begin again the quest for peace?’
Yours in Peace,
Mairead Corrigan Maguire (Nobel Peace Laureate)
Mairead Maguire was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her peace work in Northern Ireland. She is a member of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation's Advisory Council.