On Sept. 19 a powerful letter protesting Bush administration post-Sept. 11 policies and signed by an impressive number of influential people was published as a full-page ad in the New York Times. The statement, entitled “Not In Our Name,” decries the assumption that Bush’s reactive strategies to the Twin Tower tragedy have had the support of all American citizens. It begins:
“Let it not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their government declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression. The signers of this statement call on the people of the U.S. to resist the policies and overall political direction that have emerged since Sept. 11, 2001, and which pose grave dangers to the people of the world.”
With many examples it then denounces the grave endangerment of civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorist measures, condemns the bombing of Afghanistan and vehemently protests the planned attack on Iraq, culminating with:
“President Bush has declared: ‘You’re either with us or against us.’ Here is our answer: We refuse to allow you to speak for all the American people. We will not give up our right to question. We will not hand over our consciences in return for a hollow promise of safety. We say NOT IN OUR NAME. We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name or for our welfare. We extend a hand to those around the world suffering from these policies; we will show our solidarity in word and deed.”
At the time of publication, over 2,000 people signed NION. Since then, an Internet-based appeal has spread like wildfire, calling for Americans and even citizens of other countries to sign the rapidly growing list, try to have it printed in local newspapers and spread it via other media such as fliers, radio and word-of-mouth.
The main website, www.nion.us, includes links to the full statement, the complete list of signers, simple instructions for signing one’s name, and explains other ways to help spread the message.
A growing number of UCSB faculty have already signed the statement. They include:
Donald Atkinson, Charles Bazerman, Eileen Boris, Juan E. Campo, Richard Flacks, Mario T. Garcia, Shirley Geok-lin Lim,. Lisa Hajjar, Tania Israel, Ruqayya Khan, Peter Lackner, Marc McGinnes, Kathleen Moore, Alice O’Connor, Robert Potter, Thomas Scheff, Geoffrey Wallace, Howard Winant and Mayfair Yang.
Students can sign the main NION letter per Internet but can also sign a UCSB list. Any volunteers for signing or coordinating the development of such a list can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 452-2053, providing phone number and major.
Many people involved in the cause for peace and preservation of liberties have stated that NION is one of the most powerful grassroots peace initiatives that are rapidly developing nationally and internationally. A presentation of all collected NION signatures delivered to the appropriate forum in Washington could truly make a difference.
There is also a major peace rally in Santa Barbara this Saturday, Sept. 28, at 11:00 a.m., gathering at Vera Cruz Park, on Cota St.
Peter Lackner is a professor emeritus in UCSB’s Dramatic Art Dept.