(2/18/03) US Senator Robert Byrd
We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own
uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on the
editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of
the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war. Senate Floor Speech delivered on Wednesday, February 12, 2003.
(12/21/02)John Paul Lederach
I have a wish for a gift given from our generation to our great grandchildren, from the adults of this decade to the children of the end of this Century: Let this be the decade remembered as the time when the beginning of the end of human warfare happened.
(12/16/02)Ronald S. Kraybill
America has invested lavishly and narrowly in hammers. As a consequence, the mightiest nation in history responds simplistically to a problem of vast complexity. Rather than examine the full extent of the evil mess created by decades of destructive interaction between ourselves and others, we choose responses that under-estimate the gravity of our situation. We satisfy our need to act, but our children will bear the cost, for the problems will grow far worse on the long-term.
The need for voices which can articulate, with experience and professional knowledge, the dangers of spiraling cycles of violence, of an "us vs. them" approach to the world, of seeking security for oneself through war against another, has never been greater. More than anything, policymakers in the U.S. and internationally need to be convinced that effective alternatives for dealing with entrenched and spiraling conflict do exist, that face-saving ways out of the corners we find ourselves in can be found, that our own security is linked inextricably to the security of our global neighbors and even our so-called global enemies. The conflict resolution field has the experience, the knowledge, and the compassion that is critically needed in the current political debate. If only it will raise its voice.
(9/22/02)Ronald S. Kraybill
It's time to move past "do-we-or-don't we shell Saddam" to the stuff burning holes in our hearts. Let's name what we're really after. Isn't it security, to know that when we say good-bye to our families in the morning we'll live to say hello again over the dinner table at night? To know that our kids get to have grandkids someday?
(4/29/02)W. Steve Lee
An increasing number of people are expressing concern over the loss of civic connectedness in America. Voting, volunteerism, and participation in professional and community associations, it seems, are in decline. Experts, such as noted scholar Robert D. Putnam, warn that our stock of social capital - the fabric of our connections with each other - has plummeted, bankrupting our lives and communities.
The Weeping will last for generations to come, and what are we to tell our offspring? I was born and raised in Israel, where I served in an elite unit in the Israeli Defense Forces. When my comrades and I were trained to be soldiers, we knew that our army was essential for protecting our homes and families. We also still believed that our army was guided by the principle of "tohar ha'neshek." It translates into English as "purity of arms," and refers to the moral understanding that any weapon must be used solely as a means of defense in preventing the destruction of oneself, one's family and one's nation.
Washington Mediation Association President Cris Currie writes on the Mediate.com website that we should be willing to negotiate with all, including terrorists. I bring a different perspective to this discourse, and I differ with Mr. Currie.
In a poll released by Mediate.com (www.mediate.com) on December 21, 2001, the public seems to recognize that the U.S. long term best interests are served by outreach discussions with Muslim nations.
While it may seem that those of us in the field of conflict resolution have had little to say since September 11, 2001, professional negotiators have not been silent on the subject of terrorism. Roger Fisher addressed this very question in the second edition of Getting To Yes, and in January of 1992, the Negotiation Journal published a special issue called Reflections on the War in the Persian Gulf. The insights found in these publications are just as valid in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack as they were for the terrorism of the 1980s and early 90s.
(11/20/01) EEOC, Department of Labor and the Department of Justice, U.S.
We continue to receive reports of incidents of
harassment, discrimination, and violence in the workplace against
individuals who are, or are perceived to be, Arab, Muslim, Middle
Eastern, South Asian, or Sikh. As leaders within the principal federal agencies responsible for
enforcing the laws against discrimination in employment, we are
issuing this joint statement to reaffirm the federal government's
commitment to the civil rights of all working people in our fight
(11/09/01)John Paul Lederach
The events on September 11, 2001 that overtook our daily lives and reoriented our national and global priorities pose significant challenges for our newly emerging century. They leave us with the question -- Quo vadis -- where are we headed? Where we are going and how we get there depends a great deal on how we define the nature of our journey, its challenges, and ultimately its proposed destination. We might best understand our destination as a horizon, visible as a guidepost but never removing the need for continued journey.
The discussions in the media about the terror attacks in the USA make painfully clear that the commentators and decision-makers react to the events in such different ways that meaningful communication is very difficult. However, the outcomes of these discussions are critically important to us all, because the reactions of the West to terrorism will have far-reaching consequences for the course of events in the global society in the coming years.
The field that studies conflict as a social phenomenon is still in its infancy. Nevertheless, during the last 50 years the work of social scientist has greatly advanced our understanding of the problem. Today, we have a better understanding of the creation and development of such conflicts and we have developed social tools and methods necessary to analyze and address them. The purpose of this paper is to review some of them and to apply this knowledge to the events of September 11.
Some years ago I wrote a paper, entitled “I used to know all the answers. Now, I know some of the questions.” The question that introduces this reflection is one that I never expected to ask. But it must be asked if we are to learn anything from the events of September 11th.
The barbaric terrorist attacks of September 11 have brought out the courage, patriotism and selflessness in millions of Americans. It will be interesting to see what effect those tragic events will have on litigators and litigants. A few early returns are most promising.
"How easy it is to kill someone you don’t have to mourn because you never dared to imagine him alive." This is the essence of terrorism, but it is also the essence of war. Indeed, isn’t terrorism simply a form of warfare directed at civilians? Isn’t every war, regardless of its’ declared military aims, an assault on innocent civilians?
Forgive me if I join the call for a peaceful dialogue and justice through international criminal law. As a mediator and trial attorney, I have faith in the integrity and success of both processes. Forgive me if I chose to wear black in respect for the missing and dead, but chose not to wear a flag in support of a call to war. Forgive me if I ask for the courage to look for a skillful resolution that does not involve violence.
The recent terrorist attack on the World Trade Center has forced me to evaluate the thinking that has gone on in regards to resolving the dispute. Of course the dispute in this case has taken on proportions that have been unknown in recent times. War is the ultimate result of poor dispute resolution.
On that Tuesday morning, I woke up to NPR and heard the words, ....plane....World Trade Center....Pentagon....crash... terrorists..., and like most people, could not quite comprehend what was happening nor the catastrophic enormity of the event. It felt like I came in late to a movie— a bad movie.
(9/24/01)Jayne Docherty, Ph.D.
Given our reliance as a nation on a war metaphor for describing many difficult situations (e.g., war on poverty, war on drugs, war on crime), it is natural that we would talk of our current situation as a state of war, even if we do not envision an immediate massive counter-attack. Nevertheless, this metaphor should be used with great caution
(9/19/01)United States Institute of Peace
Over the past twelve years, the Grant
Program of the United States Institute of Peace has provided funding for
research and analysis on an array of topics in the field of international
peacemaking. Grantees have examined particular conflicts and identified trends
in international conflict and have evaluated the successes and shortcomings of
efforts at conflict management and peacemaking.
(9/14/01)John Paul Lederach
Though natural, the cry for revenge and the call for the unleashing of the first war of this century, prolonged or not, seems more connected to social and psychological processes of finding a way to release deep emotional anguish, a sense of powerlessness, and our collective loss than it does as a plan of action seeking to redress the injustice, promote change and prevent it from ever happening again.
(9/14/01) Peter S. Adler & Robert D. Benjamin
Despite our rage, not out of moral or humanistic belief but from practical experience, we also recognize that our anger unleashed will make the situation worse. The violence— at last count, some 6,714 innocent civilians missing or dead---– cannot be left unanswered. Conversely, we also know that doing what seems most simple and obvious will make matters far worse. It leaves us twisted and confused and stuck on the horns of a profound dilemma.
Many ADR professionals have begun to explore whether a
response utilizing the tools of dialogue and negotiation might
produce a better outcome than the prolonged war on terrorism
now foreseen by the US administration.