On September 24th, Kelly Campbell, who lost her brother in-law to the September 11th attacks, spoke at an event held at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation on how she and other family members of Sept. 11th victims came together in their grief to promote peaceful options in search for justice. These individuals formed an organization called September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows (www.peacefultomorrows.org) in an attempt to prevent others from suffering the pains of loss they have in the midst of US military retaliation. “Our grief,” they said, “is not a cry for war.”
To make clear the connection between their own suffering and the suffering of victims of the “War on Terror,” Peaceful Tomorrows has sent delegates to Afghanistan to meet Afghan civilians who have lost love ones in the US bombing campaigns. These delegates returned with the Afghans’ message of “do not forget us,” and they continue to be in contact with their Afghan sister families.
According to Campbell, delegates who traveled to Afghanistan were shocked by the stark contrast between the lack of aid for Afghans devastated by US bombing and the outpouring of support and compassion from around the world to their families after the Sept. 11 attacks. To address this injustice, Peaceful Tomorrows advocates for government funded aid to Afghan civilians accidentally bombed by US forces, urging the administration to take responsibility for detrimental effects of its military campaign.
Representatives from groups in the local community working on Afghan issues, such as the revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), were also present at Tuesday’s meeting, and joined Campbell in strategizing on effective means to reach the media and policy makers with their important message.
In addition, the participants discussed the links between the military campaign in Afghanistan and the Bush administration’s push to wage war on Iraq, which would no doubt have a devastating impact on the Iraqi civilian population. In a letter to President Bush the Peaceful Tomorrow members stated:
“We know that war in Iraq would cause the suffering of many thousands of innocent Iraqi families, people who, like our family members on September 11th, will find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. A war would also place our military personnel in harm’s way, causing deaths and the suffering of more American families. It is out of concern for our own service people and for the Iraqi citizens that we implore you to pursue a resolution of the situation in Iraq without war.”
After the NAPF event Campbell flew directly to Washington D.C. to meet with Congressional representatives to oppose war against Iraq.