spirit we have, not the work we do, is what makes us important to the people
Sister of Erie, Sister Joan is a best-selling author and well-known
international lecturer. She is founder and executive director of
Benetvision: A Resource and Research Center for Contemporary Spirituality,
and past president of the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses
and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Sister Joan has
been recognized by universities and national organizations for her work
for justice, peace and equality for women in the Church and society.
She is an active member of the International Peace Council.
by Joan Chittister,OSB
They say that out of every war comes something useful,
something that advances the quality of human life. In the Second World War, for
instance, it was Teflon and microwave ovens and TV dinners. And, oh yes, the
United Nations, a body of international politicians designed to make the will of
the world’s governments prevail.
This time it may be very different.
However dangerous the present world situation, however dire
the present political climate, however obscene the effect of any attack on the
innocent people of Iraq, in the final analysis Iraq may stand as a turning point
in world history. Whatever the implications of this US-led war on Iraq for the
future of the U.N. and for the credibility of the United States, one thing is
sure: This situation has changed the world -- has changed politics -- in ways no
one could even have imagined before it all began. The world has found its voice.
Even democratic countries locked their people out of the
discussion of whether or not a preemptive attack on an independent nation with
an eye to regime change and reorganization by an outside power coincided with
traditional notions of national sovereignty and international law. But in this
situation, the governments of those countries themselves have received a solemn
warning: People intend to be part of the decisions taken in their name, whether
anyone invites them to participate or not. What’s more, they can’t be stopped
from being heard anymore.
And what is the proof of that? The proof is you. And your
computer. And your Internet connection.
Almost instantaneously people came together on the Internet
from around the world to sign petitions, to write to politicians, to lobby the
U.N. Security Council itself. Moveon.org, an Internet anti-war site, raised over
a million signatures overnight to ask for tough inspections, not war. Then they
delivered them personally, in 12 boxes worth of paper, to every member of the
Security Council. They raised vast amounts of money for advertising campaigns
around the country. They organized simultaneous and massive candlelight vigils
around the world, 1,605 of them in 77 countries in three days, if fact.
Never before in the history of the world have average
people been able to be mobilized to this extent, with this kind of clarity,
toward this kind of goal. Let the people who plan wars beware. There may be a
non-territorial country growing right over, around and even under the very
countries they think they lead.
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