I couldn't be there, but I was asked by the International Peace Foundation and Peace University to contribute the following statement, which is to be read this weekend at the antiwar rally in Bangkok, Thailand:
"Too often our struggles for peace and justice are framed as battles against one thing or another. But there is power and inspiration in exchanging the 'anti' for the 'pro.' Yes, we are against war, but in a much larger and more comprehensive sense, we are for peace. This may seem like a minor matter of semantics, but language is power and we must be careful not to let ourselves or others frame our passions in a way that limits us.
To that end let me say that I support peace with Iraq. That is not to say that I approve of Saddam Hussein. The responsibility for peace falls as much with Hussein as with Bush and Blair. But the idea being propagated by the West that war begets peace is as logical as hate begetting love or darkness begetting light.
The conflict with Iraq does not require especially creative new innovations in conflict resolution; there are plenty of mechanisms in place to facilitate a peaceful end to this stand-off. The fact is, those mechanisms -- chiefly the United Nations -- are not being accorded the respect and authority they require to be effective. By eliminating the one peaceful alternative – diplomacy and negotiation -- the United States and Britain are attempting to make war the only option. And war is never the only option.
There is a massive groundswell making itself apparent this weekend of 15 February, 2003 in the form of the largest global simultaneous peace gathering in history. The potential power of such an outpouring of emotion is staggering. Yet imagine how much more invigorating it could be if we imagined it not so much as an angry, fist-pounding expression of rage and frustration, but as a massive affirmation of a common human faith in the virtues of harmony, love, respect, dignity, and fairness?"