(This essay was delivered as part of a lecture on nonviolence at the University of California at Berkeley, on February 7, 2002.)
Why are you talking about globalization when at the same time the decisions you are making are about pleasing only your own citizens, this military, or that economic alliance, instead the whole world?
Why when there are procedures in place, according to UN charter, to bring specific terrorists to justice have you allowed massive military campaigns that wipe out innocent populations and destroy nations? Why are you allowing atrocities and crimes against humanity in the name of peace?
Why have you not visited the museums of Hiroshima and Nagasaki while in office, or had your military officers hear the stories of the nuclear victims, or offered your own citizens the chance to read the Russel-Einstein manifesto?
Why have you not weighed properly what is at stake when you threaten other nations, when humanity and the civilization of thousands of years is 30 minutes away from extinction at any given moment?
Why is it okay in some places when international law is broken, but in others it is not?
Why do you still keep weapons of mass murder around when you know that you cannot guarantee that they will never be used against billions of innocent civilians, your sons and daughters included, or that they will not be triggered by human error or computer accident?
Why do all of you, almost exclusively, still support such a war policy around the world that threatens to annihilate the whole of humanity?
Dear Sirs / Madams,
I am writing to you as a temporary citizen of the earth. Destiny has entrusted you for a short time with the future of your countries, and you work diligently to please the citizens of your own countries. Many people like you had similar titles and responsibilities in the span of thousands of years all over the world. They did their duty and history has recorded it. Some of them are remembered with peace and joy in humanity’s soul, and some others are remembered with sadness and horror. They had a choice to make and they did.
Should the decisions you are making today be about pleasing only your own citizens, this military, that economic alliance, or the whole world? It is not a secret that we have been at the point of extinction for about 50 years now. Does anyone doubt that the world has recently entered a new extraordinary chapter? Only a dozen years ago there was a dynamic equilibrium between the deadly forces of the East and the deadly forces of the West, and the people of the world thought that they were in trouble. They were willing to pay taxes to strengthen the forces to keep a balance. We now know that was a horrific mistake. Now that this balance is no more, the people are in despair and fear that the worse is about to come. What should the people of the world expect to see in the near future?
It is therefore your responsibility, which is infinitely greater than that of any other people like you in the recorded history of human kind, to come together and finally abolish the weapons of mass murder. The people of the world deserve that you humble yourselves into immediate negotiations, no matter the cost. Later they will demand it. We cannot and we should not think anymore of the future of our countries alone, but of the future of humanity as a whole. Under these extremely dangerous conditions in order to combat terrorism, your governments are justifying any means, no matter how brutal. Why do all of you almost exclusively still support such a policy around the world that threatens to annihilate the whole of humanity? And why when there are procedures in place, according to UN charter, to bring specific terrorists to justice have you allowed massive military campaigns that wipe out innocent populations and destroy nations? Why are you allowing atrocities and crimes against humanity in the name of peace?
Over six billion of people are asking every one of you personally. Have you ever read the Russel-Einstein’s manifesto? Have you offered your own citizens the chance to read it? Have you ever visited the museums of Hiroshima and Nagasaki while in office? Have your military officers heard the stories of the nuclear victims? How is it possible for the whole of humanity and the civilization of thousands of years to be 30 minutes away from extinction at any given moment, gone forever, and you have not weighed properly what is at stake? How can you continue discharging your duties as usual when global death is minutes away?
Military bases around the world trying to control the military, political, economic, and even social life of the people of the earth are devoid of meaning today. All fear dies when a nation does not threaten anyone. Doesn’t everyone like to live among nations that no one needs to be afraid of? We do. Then why threaten? Almost all of the people of the earth if allowed to know the dreadful facts would never pay taxes to support the building of the graveyard of humanity by their governments. They would revolt. They need no world government while there are weapons in storage. As long as these weapons exist, humanity will be oppressed. They need no empires and national interests when Damocles’ nuclear sword hangs over their head.
Why is it okay in some places when international law is broken, but in others it is not? The citizens of the world demand an answer from you. They sense that their future and their children’s is at stake because of the lack of your will or ability to resolve such issues. Will you be able to resolve a nuclear scenario tomorrow? Your predecessors proved that they did not have the capacity to avoid two global massacres. If you have the slightest doubt that you also do not have the ability, why then do you still keep weapons of mass murder around?
The desire for world domination is not new or a secret (http://www.dtic.mil/jv2020/). And let us be truthful, if it were not the USA today, it would be one of the rest of you. The question is what will each one of you do about it? Are you going to use your nuclear weapons to destroy our beautiful world and every one of us forever? Good, loving people who want to love and support their families and their nations are waiting to hear what your answer is.
When we know what the results of colonialism were in the past, why have you invented a new kind of colonialism, one that is less conspicuous than the colonialism of old Europe? People see that your strong governments achieve domination of other weaker countries by investing capital abroad, which makes those countries firmly dependent on you, and anyone who opposes this policy or its implications is treated as an enemy of your states. The result is a growing discontent pervading the people of the world because of this unhealthy kind of globalization. More and more, as years go by, the feeling of unrest is growing in the world. The most recent example is Argentina. As economic interests are intermingled around the world, agitation spreads beyond borders and takes the form of definite demands in the form of terrorism. This state of affairs is unsustainable.
The anti-globalization movement and so many other similar movements are growing at an alarming rate, that is a fact. You claim that you act for people’s interests, but the people are not convinced. Brussels on December 13th, 2001 saw possibly the largest ever demonstration across Europe. Well over 100,000 people took five hours (on a working day) to march through the capital with the slogan “people not profit.” Your mission should be to help eliminate the mistrust between nations, and as a consequence, eliminate militarism and everything else that goes with it. We live in an age in which you have to make the great decision, to abolish or perish, soon, very soon. We have the capacity in the blink of an eye to destroy everything that we have put together in the span of thousands of years.
While the leadership of some of you seems unable to do anything but raise fear in people’s hearts, the conscience of humanity will always hope. As fear sweeps the globe more often today than yesterday, let us not forget that “he who wrongs no one, fears no one. He has nothing to hide and so is fearless. He looks everyone in the face. His step is firm, his body upright, and his words are direct and straight” as S. Radhakrishnan, president of India once said.
The times are pressing for an immediate, serious consideration of what we want to see for the future of our children. Weapons of mass destruction do not provide any protection for our children, future generations, and us. Can you honesty look at your sons’ and daughters’ eyes and say to them that you work for world peace when some of you support with your words and actions the research and maintenance of an unthinkable number of weapons of mass murder? You are very well aware that instead of the abolition of weapons of mass destruction, our world is headed for proliferation and nuclear anarchy.
Today your governments are developing, maintaining, and threatening to use weapons of mass destruction against nations that do not have them. Also you are demanding that these nations not be allowed to acquire them, or otherwise they will be bombed. Moreover, some of your governments are using bribery towards the governments of the rest of the nations that already have weapons of mass destruction to make them destroy their weapons. What has made some of you think that you are better than others, that you can hold on to your weapons of mass murder but others cannot have any of their own?
Governments embracing weapons of mass destruction need to understand that there is something much higher at stake than your private vested and national interests are. You derive the right to take the chance of a global catastrophe from nowhere. What you are doing is simply wrestling with the infinitely great. It will be a lost game for all. More power demands more responsibility, wisdom, and concern for others. Let us abandon all means of war that bring about murder and destruction in the name of national security and self-defense.
Having contemplated on these facts, I have decided to dedicate the rest of my life to bringing awareness to the world’s people about our predicament. I would rather use my skills for world peace than for the annihilation of my fellow beings. Can lovers of life count on your help? It is our most sacred duty.
Mr. Andreas Toupadakis, Ph.D. is a Former Research Scientist of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.