Dear Mr. President,
I, in behalf of my countrymen and the rest of the world, would like to make an appeal to your humble office to reconsider your decision to wage war against Iraq and instead promote peace in the Middle East. Such war would only bring irreversible damage to our environment and loss of countless human lives. We call on you to promote dialogue and understanding, not confrontation within our civic community.
The attack on the twin tower last September 11 reminded us that we should take serious measure to stop terrorism. Thus the global fight against terrorism began. However, I believe that resorting to violence will not be able to solve this dilemma. Such actions would only lead to an endless series of war resulting to immeasurable damage in land, and property. I do understand that the actions taken by the Iraqi government-their refusal to abide by the United Nations Security council’s resolution to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs and the means to deliver and develop them, and to end its support for international terrorism-is wrong. The development of such weapons of destruction will certainly pose a threat to the security and safety of every individual in the planet. But violence will never bring peace.
Also, waging war against Iraq would affect the already miserable condition of our environment. Have we forgotten the lesson that we learned during the last Gulf war? During those days, Saddam’s forces poured oil into the waters of the gulf to interfere with military operations and to choke off Kuwaiti water supplies. The departing Iraqi army detonated and set aflame more than 700 oil wells, an unprecedented assault on the atmosphere and on an economic resource. As much as five million barrels of oil remains in the desert sand. The fallout from the burning oil wells caused acid rain from Iran across South Asia. It contaminated food and fisheries in the entire region. Huge quantities of mines and other ordnance continue to blight both land and sea. As a result of exposure to toxic air pollutants, slow-appearing injury to kidneys, liver, and respiratory systems can be expected. Children, the elderly, and other sensitive populations are most likely to be seriously affected. The waters of the Gulf were subjected to unprecedented stress. Damaged beaches, fisheries, and waterfowl are only the most visible scars. It may take years of scientific analysis to quantify the damage to the health of this sensitive ecosystem.
May the adverse effect of war on the lives of the people, directly or indirectly involve in the war plus the lives of the countless number of civilians that will be affected, and its harsh effect on our environment, be able to change your mind regarding your decision to engage war against Iraq. I am not saying that we should not condemn the actions of Iraq and its violation of the resolution. But war is not the answer. Perhaps, a discussion with its leaders could be an alternative. Maybe, if we will be able to listen to them we will be able figure out the root cause of their actions. Let us think of the future in every decision that we take. As Dane Spencer wrote:
“Peace begins when violence ends. That doesn’t mean that the conflicting ideas will suddenly disappear. It means that when people stop doing violence to each other-stop killing-negotiations can begin. In the simplest terms, peace is a process where no one is dying from an act of aggression. This is a real living peace that is attainable and quite possible when built upon the hard work of conflict resolution and diplomacy. Peace is not a time/place. Peace is a process that is ongoing and never without tension.”
Sherry Donne Sabalvaro
Student, University of the Philippines, Manila
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2002