Sr. Mary Grenough’s Message
STAND FOR PEACE
Jan. 31, 2003 Rally
Following is a speech delivered by Sr. Mary Grenough (Sr. Mayang to many Filipino activists) at the December 31, 2003 Multi-sectoral, ecumenical rally STAND FOR PEACE! A National Day of Prayer against War on Iraq. The rally was held upon the invitation of Philippine Vice President Teofisto Guingona, Jr. with the support of a broad network of anti-war groups and personalities from the NGO community, the mass movement, the Catholic, protestant and Evangelical churches, schools, the Muslim community, national and local government units, including a representative of the Catholic Diocese in Iraq as well as a personal representative of Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.
For Jan 31 Prayer for Peace Rally
Good afternoon to all.
I stand here in Plaza Miranda, together with all of you, for PEACE. I stand as a U.S. citizen who strongly disagrees with my own President George W. Bush’s plans for a US war against the people and country of Iraq.
I stand as a professed religious, a Maryknoll Sister, together with Maryknoll Sisters serving in Asia, Africa, Central, North and South America, for PEACE. I join millions of people here in the Philippines, in the States and all over the world who pray – and work – for peace. My 35 years with you in the Philippines have taught me much.
Living and working with you here, experiencing six Philippine Presidents and being in touch with world politics convinces me that war will never bring peace. War always kills and maims, destroys and poisons. In modern warfare such as the US wants to wage, civilians – especially the poor and middle class – suffer 90% of the pain, disease, death and destruction, loss of land, homes, jobs. This war will further injure our already damaged planet earth, the womb of all our lives and human history.
Of course I am against Saddam Hussein developing and using weapons of mass destruction. But why should a whole country and a whole people – and the whole Middle East – be punished for this? And why would we think that a war against Iraq would solve this problem?
I stand against ANY nation or persons developing, keeping or using weapons of mass destruction. And I say with deep shame that my own country’s leaders are greatly to blame for developing, storing and using weapons of mass destruction. The weapons industry is one of my country’s biggest businesses. And I am ashamed to say my own country’s political leaders used weapons of mass destruction – atomic bombs – on civilian targets not only once but twice. The atom bombs dropped on the city of Hiroshima killed 78,000 people – and in the city of Nagasaki, 74,000. US warplanes also firebombed Tokyo City in 1945, killing 100,000 people – almost all were civilians. Right here in Manila at the end of World War II, the massive destruction and killing of tens of thousands of Filipinos in the so-called “Liberation of Manila” was caused mostly by US bombs.
This is why I do not trust my own government at this time to take the role “peace-maker” or “protector of democracy.” I have lived too long and become personally acquainted with the wars and undemocratic politics of my own country – to believe President Bush when he claims to be protecting democracy and liberating other countries. I know how the US supports wars against the peoples of so many countries who are struggling for their basic rights – including in the Philippines.
To pray for peace we must work for peace. Let us pray and work for true peace, a peace based on justice, respect for ethnic, religious and ideological differences, where no country is “#1” and all countries become mutually responsible for each others’ well-being and protection of our planet earth – its waters, soil, air, forests, plants, all creatures.
To pray and work for peace requires of each of us to learn the truth – not to rely on what the TV, radio and politicians tell us. Prayer and work for peace requires that we practice true justice and respect for each other – in our families, schools, work places, organizations, and governments at all levels.
The meaning of democracy is a government by, with and for the people – a government which respects and protects truth, human rights, natural resources and always governs for the common good. A democratic government assures that its citizens are adequately fed, sheltered, educated. A democratic government protects women’s rights, children’s rights, workers’ rights. This includes health care and opportunities for employment which is decent, life-giving, and capable of supporting the worker and his or her family’s basic needs.
Let us re-commit ourselves to work for peace as we pray:
O loving God, you are known by many names, we acknowledge you as our Creator and Sustainer. You have given us all we are, our bodies and minds, our planet earth. You entrust us with decisions which become in fact choices for life or for death. Enlighten and strengthen us at this time to make decisions for life. Give us the insights to know the truth and to risk our own reputations, safety and personal interests if needed, to unite with peoples throughout the Philippines and throughout the world, to work together for genuine peace.
At this crucial time, we join our voices, our prayer, our actions to the millions throughout the world including in the US, who stand for PEACE, who refuse to support the US war against Iraq in any way. We pray, too, that the issues underlying the ongoing wars in the Philippines can be recognized and dealt with, so that our scarce resources can be re-directed to supporting life for the Filipino people and helping to restore its endangered seas, poisoned waters and soil, and dangerously polluted air. All knowing God, help us to help ourselves and each other to nurture life, to create peace.
Sr. Mary Grenough, MM
Justice Not War Coalition
January 31, 2003
Plaza Miranda, Manila, Philippines
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 2003