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International Standing Committee Discussion of Sept 11th Attacks

General Assembly, September 22 - 23, 2001
Public distribution, 1/4/02

Pamela, Kent Smith Co-facilitators

It was decided to divide the forum into 3 different sections.

  • 1. Feelings -- please separate intellectualized ideas from actual feelings (until 5:00)
  • 2. Analysis and commentary -- what's really going on (5:00 -- 5:30)
  • 3. Solutions -- effective positive action and policy (5:30 -- 6:00)

Feelings about this unique event in political history

Pamela and Kent were the facilitators.

Pamela: It's hard for her to go into her feelings because she was in England at the time and ended up staying an extra week. Working with anti-nuclear activists, trying to explain what happened. Burst into tears at the microphone, didn't know what to say. Has friends in NYC, works in the UN sometimes. Has a friend who may be missing. Waited until she could get home to at least be with people and grieve. Had to get on a plane yesterday, had never feared flying until yesterday.

George Johnson: left radio on the night before and woke up to news of the 1st plane hitting. Hoped it was another timothy McVeigh because was afraid of the consequences otherwise. quoted from the bible and the Koran.

Tom: don't have connection with anyone in NYC but saw the same pictures as everyone. felt jumpy, couldn't get any work done, had symptoms of trauma similar to veterans with post-distress syndrome. the pictures had a profound effect on all of us.

Dietra: initially shocked and very sad for those killed and their families. Imagined her own children dying. Later as the flags started to spring up everywhere, she felt very intimidated like she'd never felt in this country before because of the absence of dissent to this patriotism. absolutely opposed to war; was a strange feeling. was here during Vietnam war and never felt that way. difference was that this time it was so many Americans. impossible to mention that you're opposed to war. revenge is definitely the wrong way to respond

Nancy. remembered how she felt after the Oklahoma city bombing, felt such grief for the parents who lost children. but when this happened, felt like a lost child. thought of those kids who may have had both parents in those buildings and the children who may be orphaned now and maybe nobody came for those children. grief is almost more than she can handle.

name?: on the day was on his way from the UN and there were emergency vehicles heading towards ground zero but didn't know what it was yet. Dept of pub info and NGO conference. soon everyone was evacuated from the UN buildings. Worked out a petition immediately and ... felt horrible like everyone else. but then felt angry. Not at the perpetrators but that we the people let something like this happen. We've been so apathetic about this whole thing, our own pride and arrogance towards the rest of the world. petition asking the prez to not act in violence but act in a humanitarian way. one out of 3 people were ready to sign the petition, against the violence.

Bud: turned on the tv that morning after it was mostly over and thought this must be a movie. spent several days pacing the floor, had a headache, trying to figure it out, or blocking tears or both. went to a Buddhist meditation. got me out of my head, out of his heart. my heart said we've got to stop the cycle of violence. but head says it was wrong and we need to punish them. feelings at the moment are anger and fear. anger at this culture and country that have created / caused this. anger at the terrorists for reacting the way they did. fear about the future and what's going to happen. fear about WW3.

Sara: was shocked, all the emotions at the same time. sad for the people who lost their lives. feeling angry. all that time that people were trying to say don't support the Taliban government that is a fanatic government. remembered the blast in Tehran, an attack from Iraq, 500,000 people were killed but the world was silent. They were killing each other but using weapons made in the US. we need to stop the cycle of violence. seeing al these flags, she gets really angry because it's not a symbol of peace and justice but of killing and war. so she came up with her own flag. maybe this can be a flat of solidarity.

Rebecca: she's gone through many different emotions since the 11th. woke up in the morning to the phone ringing, was her girlfriend, she started chitchatting. girlfriend told her the news and she thought she was joking and it took a while to realize the reality. that night went to a spiritual collective. was a really good way to be with people and to mourn. feel really stuck around her mourning. mourning isn't something we handle well as a culture. there was nothing there in Bush's eyes when she saw him speaking. he's not mourning. giuliani was mourning. realized he's not running for office again, maybe that's why. thinks it's important to say we can mourn and grieve without vengeance. report just came out about the fuel efficiency standards that bush wouldn't approve which would have saved so many lives. feels like this nameless movement (global justice, etc) was hitting a critical point of gaining public support and people were waking up and starting to understand it. but now she feels like oh, no, now those efforts have been

Carl: that morning he didn't have any time for feelings. his students were asking why. but didn't have time to feel. later that day, went home, thought about what had happened, meditated away his feelings. sort of already knew something like this was going to happen. now has feelings of rage that this has become an opportunity for 'them' to promote their agenda. over 2500 people from other nations were in the WTC. that's not being acknowledged. not an attack against us hegemony. fine activists died in that attack. I mourn for them, I mourn for our movement. hope we can still advance what we know as right, correct. carry on

Susan: was in sacto and la helping the energy coalition fight the bailout, at a hearing at the capitol. talked with women she didn't know very well. in the morning was awoken with the news. first response was: my god, this is a film? resented the media response. didn't even hear about human beings for the first 4 hours. people coming down the stairwell, in the aircraft, brought down the plane in pennsylvania knowing they were going to die. mourn every day she sees the degredation in the countryside, cities. this is an attack on the peole, not america. on the movement. that flag isn't all about nationalism. people are having feelings and we have to talk to them. she got out of her car and rode busses to be with people. and people don't even know about it. average, everyday people don't think we should act militarily. all those members of congress ready to go full spead ahead.

name? like many people, went through emotions from the surreal to what settled into a profound saddness that has stayed with him. have a hard time removing himself from that sadness. washed over him and made everyday activities very difficult. have a son who is a UCSC student. he came home to visit. gets mail. got a notice from the selective service saying you have neglected to register. although has this saddness, will be goddamned if he lets his sun be draged into this old man's war.

name?: first feeling was to be terrified. had a friend who was a victim of hate crimes and they've managed to go oon with their lives. the way he's dealing with his feelings is hope that doing good in the world helps to heal the world.

maureen: learned about the events last week as she was driving to be sworn in as an american citizen. after sorting through her feelings. as she approached being a woman the cold war was looming. feeling angry that these two huge countries had the power to destro not only people, but animals, the forest. still feels that. her son is a professional navy man. the only meaningful thing he culd do was go go home to his wife and child and try to deal with what he's going to have to do now.

name?: 9yr old grandson called to wake them up. told them that the WTC and pentagon and whitehouse had been blown up. didn't believe it until turned on the tv. went to a vigil. became amazing to him how many people had been touched by this. realized that his grandsons had been in new york only days before up on the observation tower. after that realization, began to get really angry. realized so much of this is becaus of our foreign policies. started investigating on the west, when roosevelt made a deal with the saudies, iran, iraq war, supporting both sides. fearful that we're going to loose our civil liberties. are we going to have armed soldiers protecting almos teverything? afraid of people's racist reactions agains arabs and muslims. latest reaction is one of sadness. sent a petition to a friend who wrote back and said she wouldn't sign it because in this case felt we have to defend ourselves. hope we don't get hardened. hope everybody can recognize that we all want the same thing, all want peace, but some have a different way of approaching it.

Jack: has two kids, the eldest is in brooklyn. saw it on tv and was scared. and sad. and glad to get a call from the other kid in washington to say that she's ok. remembered casualties brought into a hospital during vietnam and kids burned from napalm. physician was thinking of his own daughter. learned back then that americans are hated for vietnam and loved for the peace corps. american people are loved but we are hated for having supported dictators. and for our support of israel. the greatest thing we could do is to stop supporting israel. frustrated when hears jews talking about being the chosen race because it implys that they're better than someone else. this war machine is to make money.

Pamela: thanked everyone for sharing and for listening to each other. encouraged everyone to keep listening and keep talking. asked everyone to look at the vase of flowers in front of the room as a transition to the next topic. the vase was a gift to a group of greens in england. we're looking for the grail. when petra kelly was still alive. first big battle with england greens. petra sent this vase with a statement on it. when they received the vase, passed it around and said their focus and then what they're each going to do to make those hopes a reality. when she died, they filled it with water from a well thought to be a healing well. way to honor her. asked her to carry this 'grail' to send something tangible instead of just words.

Commentary and analysis

Larry and Carol were the facilitators.

first there will be a reading of a statement which was issued by the US green party immediately after the incident.

John: a statement was put together by the Green Party of the US. He took the national statement and modified it. Read statement which can be found on the webpage.

Harter?: has been a green since the gulf war which this was the first time we've had this bunker mentality since he can remember. initially felt lik ehe'd seen this movie before and wanted it to end. went to meeting in santa clara county trying to figure out what we can do. need to ge tthe general public to ask why this happened. need to facilitate public discussion so people really get it. also on email, refered to the afghanistan email. but one thing he doesn't think is being widely circulated is look at the wya bush is using language. he's talking about a global war to bring these people to justice. mixin the language of law with the language of war. as the gp we have such natural ability to address this.

name?: has both an an Genine: analysis and stragegie. in her town there are people asking why and what she'd like to get out of this conference is to see a national party response to this. something to destribute that is simple. reads proposal which generally offers some answers to why this happened, what is going to happen, and what is the patriotic response: solution deals with promotion of alternative energy and elimination of dependence on fossile fuels. govt could direct this change which would help stimulate the economy.

Carl Sanders: everybody's talked about the nature of our foreign policy. he talked about education. problem is ignorance or the islamic culture. this idea that they are 'other'. he was talking to his students about what and why and who are these people. these are fresh and soph at a jc. don't get this info prior to college.

name?: just say a few things: try to talk to americans who are ignorant who to them this is totally unexplainable. it's a shock to a lot of americans that we supported and trained bin Laden. in bush's speach, he refered to them as radical. the only comparison is fundamental christians in our country. planes being highjacked first happened when the us offered money to cubans who hijacked airplanes. us was conficted and fined for this in the world court. our government is convicted of terrorism. every year in the UN the entire world votes agains us and israel, votes to end the illegal blockade of cuba. american people are not aware of these things. total favor of fbi and cia who get so much money and they still didn't have a clue. what have they been doing? blocing trade unions, etc. cna't blame te american people for being ignorant. not their fault. how we talk needs to be extremely cautious and well thought out. our goal is to win them over to us

name?: american people are involved. most of us here feel that the world is the us. we have our govt with its levels of authority. subsidiary. but we live in a world of anarchy. prez got away with it. never mentioned the UN. said this is a world problem but isn't utilizing the world bodies whih address these issues. when he talks to people about these issues, their eyes glaze over.

michelle: when she heard, she was reminded of a famous author from sandiego, likes hs perspective. in his culture and ours, define history by wars. women define history by birth and marriages and deaths in the family. at the same time that these things are happening, every day relationships are happening. as an activist and advocate. when congress gives all that money for military, those monies would otherwise support social services and these have now been completely stripped away from us. now we are going to see more mothers without roofs over their heads and this is goin gto resonate for many years. harm not only by te action but by the policy

Lauren goody: realized that this tragedy is no greater than the acts we have created such as bombing sudan pharmaceudical facility. things aren't adding up. 50,000 people worked in those towers. plus 10,000 tourists at any one time. when those planes hit the bilding, at least 1/4 of those people were instantly destroyed. plus the time it takes to evacuate the peole who didn't get out. there have to be more people missing or people got out before because they already knew about it. thinks there should be an investigation into tihs. reading time magazine said the presidency of GWB begins now. let the uncivilized take their chances in the game they started. did they really started us bombing iraq since 1991. part of that campaign was to destroy the water system and encourage waterborn diseases. us has some responsibility in this attrocity. lesson to be learned: if we learn that peace is better than those live shave not been lost in vain. if not...

Moving on to strategies

Joan and Jim were the facilitators.

sara amir: wants to talk about islam. why we have so much fundamentalism as compared to years ago. she comes from iran. in 1910 or so when there was a constitutional revolution, people wanted a religious govt. those people were executed. first with the brit govt, tried to bring fundamentalism to these countries. but because of the oil, money, cold war, brit govt and americans wanted to have a belt of protection against communism getting to these countries. she grew up under the shaw, couldn't read marx, anything about communism. but mosques allowed discussions of this and people began to become more religious. many people said we should not support this because people are going to become fundamentalism. she didn't believe it could happen but then it did. osama bin laben left when the us army went there. was a self-exile, weapons supplied by the us. so many people have died by war. terrorism that is being supported by governments. others have gone through it, now it's come to our homeland. makes us very very angry but let's put out anger in a positive way. talk to people about what we have done to others. break the cycle of violence. knowledge is power so let's empower each other.

proposed three sections during the next section: what if we had a green administration, what should the current administration do, and then what can we as individuals do?

name?: was up on the top of the trade centers and looked at them and saw how environmentally terrible they were. should never be rebuilt. have a peace garden at that site. multi-layered movement

name?: the world did not used to hate us. a book by solomon... about immigration of a syrian american shows good and bad of our country and how it was viewed. what's the root cause of this? it's not osama bin laden.if we were able to root out everyone involved with this. israel used the most extreme terrorist methods possible. brits crushing the northern irish forever. root cause of this is fundamentally injustice. foreign policy which puts money before peole. we support dictators, cia supports attrocious individuals. just gave taliban millions in may for their anti-drug policy. droping on columbia. could reduce our military costs if we ended these policies. millions of people who are suffering.

Larry: week ago, saw someone and brought him back to a place of compassion. human response to this crisis. need to understand the suffering. lost people there. cannot remove ourselves from the suffering that is going on here in the us. as a green party he wants us to respect that. doesn't want to hear any more israel bashing. design our plans in a way to articulate this and stop the cycle of violence. this is a world tragedy. need to connect with our sisters and brothers as a green party. mobilize together. we need them, they need us.

name?: addressing what a green presidency would do right now. would stop what has been going on. we would instead of taking military into the islam world, would take humanitarian aid and try to help the people. use the money spent on military on aid instead. call together the people of these countries. do it in a peaceful manner.

joan: reminded people to stay with practical solutions

name?: what we have to do is talk about what we can do now as veterans. if you want to help with GIRS hotline. some folks have been on kpfa talking about the way. general consensus is that we may be entering in ww3. talk to the youth, make our feelings known, let themselves be known as vets. wear vets for peace paraphernalia.

woman: have another audience we need to address. those who want security and safety at any price. there are americans who want to see anti-aircraft guns in all the airports. if we do give upall our freedoms that their feared enemies have won.

man: faced with a situation that is almost a constitutional coup. bushism: promots militarism, use of fossil fuels, etc. very important for the gp to be here. congress went all for bush xcept for barbara lee. demos are not there for us. hold vision of a unified mankind. practical idea: at any moment we are a place of life and love and peace in our hearts.

spontaneous announcement about Nader Power to the People Super Rally.

woman: whether the bin laden people... used bombs. if you follow the money, people with oil profits always react first. promoting solar energy are on the right track. look at the way people are raised in schools. need to keep talking to people who are hypnotized by their televisions.

man: talk about what a green policy should be. what should we be doing differently in the us. first of all should be using the us to address whoever did this. stop all military aid to everybody. israel stop occupying palestinian lands. 1948 agreement by roosevelt is antiquaited and should do away with it. need to democracize. need to recognize that these are poor, repressive regimes. should go in with a green plan to help these peole recover from the wars we have created. need to address the causes that created this.

todd landis: think about the spanish american war, sinking of the maine that led ot that. perceived threat to the us. first newspapers whipped up public sentiment towards war. lot of money to be ade by waging the war. territory to be had in philipines and cuba. see another set of people in the us govt with plans to implement in the cia. greens should protest this. run candidates for fed office. call attention to these issues.

man: change state department to foreign relations department change un charter to work with the general assembly various bodies of the un need to be restructured. focus much more on intl terrorism.