Defend Our National Interest, Say No to War on Iraq!
Statement of the University Council, University of the Philippines. The University Council is composed of all faculty members with the rank of Assistant Professor and upwards at the country’s premier university, the University of the Philippines, Feb. 10, 2003.
In these highly volatile times, the danger of a major global armed conflict breaking out in the Middle East is much closer than it appears. Already, some 150,000 American as well as British and Australian troops have massed in territories surrounding Iraq, just waiting for the signal to unleash their massive firepower on Saddam Hussein’s army and captive population. The question is no longer when, but how soon the attack will come.
The gathering clouds of war threaten to overshadow our nation as well. There is little doubt that should the Philippines be sucked into this conflict halfway around the globe, our national interests will irrevocably suffer.
Government officials themselves have warned about the grave economic crisis which Philippine involvement in the war would entail. The massive repatriation of OFWs from the Middle East would put enormous strain on our resources and result in loss of livelihood and income. The rise in oil prices will trigger unbridled inflation and drop in the value of the peso.
The perception that the attack on Iraq is another form of Islamic persecution will fan the flames of extremism that could aggravate the conflict in Mindanao. The logic of the bellicose policy of officials in Washington, DC and Manila is rushing us all headlong to a crisis whose long-term effects we can only begin to speculate upon.
Unsettling questions about territorial sovereignty and independence in foreign policy are routinely brushed aside by Philippine authorities. And yet our government leaders’ short-sightedness and long record of subservience to the overlords in Washington DC have yielded nothing of profit to our nation. Once more, today we see the life and livelihood of Filipinos abroad put at risk and our national pride and wellbeing bartered for a few million US dollars of military assistance.
But it is not only from a national perspective that we base our opposition to the US-instigated aggression in Iraq. It seems that the suffering of the innocent civilian population of Iraq is of little import to Bush and his hawks, who have short memories where the Vietnam war is concerned. But for the rest of humanity, including several hundreds of thousands of concerned Americans, the US-led war of aggression against Iraq is a naked and arrogant display of power, the incontrovertible proof that an imperial hegemon is bent on imposing its egoistic norms and values on all.
We are against weapons of mass destruction. But we do not think war will rid the world of these weapons. We support the exhaustion of peaceful and multilateral efforts to achieve this aim not just in Iraq but in all countries.
We support Pope John Paul II, Nobel Peace Prize awardees Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter, Mohammad Mahathir, Vice-President Teofisto Guingona, and other world leaders who are on record as saying NO! to the US war of aggression. As peace-loving members of the UP Diliman community, we do not want our country involved in this conflict as an instrument of superpower violence and arrogance.
Defend our national interest, say no to war on Iraq ! Oppose America’s intent to use unilateral force and aggression! Fight for peace!
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