March 17, 2003
IRAQ: Christian Peacemaker Team statement to U.S. and Iraqi governments
Dear Iraqi Administration,
Dear U.S. Administration,
Other interested Governments,
and interested parties,
We, the Iraq Peace Team, of which Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq is a
part, are present in Iraq as U.S. and British troops amass at Iraq’s
borders, and the possibility for escalated violence increases. While we
believe and pray that an escalation of violence can still be averted, we
write to clarify our presence.
We are an extension of Voices in the Wilderness, which is a Chicago-based
independent grass-roots organization that has spent years building
relationships with Iraqi civilians. We accompany civilians who are
suffering, largely due to the combined effects of the U.N. sanctions and
the Gulf War. We are committed to continue to accompany and befriend
civilians in the event of escalating violence.
We have been accompanying important humanitarian sites of our choice because
of relationships we have built with people, and because of the death that
the sanctions have caused for them, and because of the horror that would be
caused by the further attacks on such sites. We do not bind ourselves to
sites” because our work is relationship based, not infrastructure-based, and
because we do not want only electrical plants and oil wells etc. spared, but
rather want all of Iraq spared from every kind of violence.
We are convinced that:
*nonviolence is more life sustaining than violence
*friendship is more sustainable than enmity
*our autonomy and freedom to move around Iraq and to accept invitations
from non-governmental entities is what helps us to be effective, to have
integrity, and to work most effectively to stop war.
As long as we can stay in Iraq, we will:
*seek to expose the criminality of war.
*befriend, comfort, and share the risks of non-governmental, un-armed
*serve witness against “Shock and Awe” if it ever happens.
*serve and be helpful before, during and after any escalation of violence.
*respond non-violently and respectfully to all people, including those with
whom we disagree.
We will not:
*be used by any administration as a tool for war.
*protect any violent party or violent machinery.
* support the violence of any party to the conflict.
*accept protection from any violent party.
* promote any government.
*use violence against anyone, even if others use violence against us or
people we love.
Regardless of who initiates violence, we will not comply with violence. If
coerced or forced into doing anything that promotes violence and goes
against our conscience, we will non violently resist.
We hope for Peace for all of us and for all of our children.