In response the attacks this past week in Beirut, Paris, and Nigeria, WILPF US has issued a statement.
“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.” These are the words of WILPF member Jeannette Rankin from Montana, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress and the only person in the Congress who voted against U.S. entrance to both WWI and II. WILPF US takes this analogy one step further. We may not be able to stop an earthquake, but we can stave off the causes of these human earthquakes. We can and we must!
This week’s earth-shattering terrorist attacks in Paris, in Beirut and by the Boko Haram in Nigeria added to the continuing brutality of the Syrian civil war with its floods of refugees are bringing to us the greatest threat of all – fear.
The success of extremists of all sorts is to build fear by tearing down our trust and belief in one another … fearful to reach out to our neighbours and to cross over the man-made borders, we perpetuate their terror. Fifty-nine-and-one-half (59.5) million people were displaced by conflict over the last decade, a 60 percent increase, and have sought refuge and aid from those who hold out their hands. To destroy those connections, those altruistic principles on which a democracy is built, is the insidious legacy of terrorism; the transformation into a culture which echoes the Japanese Internment camps during WWII.
At this moment, there are 31 states that are closing down the acceptance of Syrian refugees, who are mostly women and children. WILPF US must reach out to the peoples of those states as well as their leaders, to say that in our land of “Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning to be Free” we will not allow bigotry and fear to punish those who need refuge. These refugees are fleeing ISIS and denying them entry will serve the purposes of ISIS, which would like them to be returned to where they are more easily massacred by that organisation.
We call on our members to write or call those state governments for the humane treatment of people needing our helping hand. We can take our protest to the streets and in the front of the capitol buildings as well. On a more global scale, we can protest to the UN High Commissioner of Refugees, António Guterres and Ban Ki-Moon who is preparing for the first World Humanitarian Summit 2016, UN’s first humanitarian conference in 2016. Start by being humanitarians now!