As the threat of war with Iraq appears to be increasing, Pat Gaffney from Pax Christi has sent us the following reflections. "..today there is an obvious need for the correct use of political authority in the dramatic situation of the Middle East and the Holy Land. Day after day, year after year, the cumulative effect of bitter mutual rejection and an unending chain of violence and retaliation have shattered every effort to engage in serious dialogue on the real issues involved. The volatility of the situation is compounded by the clash of interests among the members of the international community. Until those in positions of responsibility undergo a veritable revolution in the way they use their power and go about securing their peoples' welfare, it is difficult to imagine how progress towards peace can be made." World Peace Day Message January 2003, Pope John Paul II "I have witnessed the suffering of the children of Iraq at first hand. They have been the victims of double bind, the sanctions regime, and its abuse by Saddam Hussein has let to many thousands dying needlessly and many others being forced into begging, prostitution and less dramatically, loss of educational opportunity and the prospect of satisfying work and hope filled lives. Any war will place them further in jeopardy. I shall never forget the look in the eyes of children who seemed mystified by western visitors, whose compatriots have dropped bombs on them; they seemed to say - 'what have we done wrong?' Pray for the children of Iraq and for those who would kill them." Message to Holy Innocents service in London December 2002, Rt Rev Peter Price, Bishop of Bath and Wells To the Citizens of America from Pax Christi USA delegation to Iraq "Our government suggests that war is the answer to our fears. But war will never protect us - it will endanger the entire human family. A war against the people of Iraq will slaughter thousands of innocent men, women and children in a land already devastated by sanctions. A war could also kill and injure countless young Americans. And a war will unleash violent repercussions and terrorist acts that could destroy our world. War is not the answer. We must seek a path to peace. Therefore people of good will, join us in insisting that our government stop this madness and commit to a path of active nonviolent resolution. We as ordinary people can reach out to our Iraqi brothers and sisters, who are people like ourselves. Together we can work to create a world free of weapons of mass destruction, a world free of sanctions, violence and war. Together we can build a world where our voices speak peace, peace for all people Then we will witness the words of the psalmist, "mercy and faithfulness will meet, justice and peace will embraceJustice shall march before us and peace shall follow in our steps". Psalm 85". Iraq, 21 December 2002
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