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Take a Stand for Peace and Justice

I work as a pilot for a regional airline. Pilots are notoriously conservative. A couple of days ago I decided that I needed to take a stand. The following letter written to the chief pilot explains the situation. It is followed by his response.
Dear Vvvvv,

When I boarded my airplane the other day, there was a poster of an American flag on the outside of the flight deck door with the quote by GWBush saying "Make no mistake - we will win." Were I to have not challenged it, I would have been seen as acquiescing to the current nationalist war hysteria. Because I do not acquiesce to what I consider to be a form of immorality, I explained to the captain that its presence made me uncomfortable, as it was contrary to my religious beliefs which strongly condemns all forms of terrorism against civilians whether carried out by individuals, groups or governments. Further, my love for my country mandates that I openly dissent (which is still my right protected by our Constitution) when I do not support the actions of the government.

Fortunately, Captain Qqqqqq removed the poster without a second thought and we continued our trip without any apparent animosity.

My concern is that if I am forced to challenge this every time I fly, I may be met with overt hostility, as that is the nature of war hysteria. I am therefore requesting that this problem be addressed by management. I understand that my view is the minority view, and I also understand that the rights of those with whom I disagree must also be respected. I am hoping that a creative solution can be reached.

One further consideration. I know of at least one other pilot who feels the same way as I do. Pilots are generally a very conservative bunch. If we feel this way, rest assured that many of our passengers feel the same way.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Dear G,

Bottom line is [our airline] is committed to providing a harassment-free workplace. I don't see harassment in this issue as you were able to work it out with [the captain].

However, this is an issue of Company policy, and for that I am sending your email letter on to Yyyy Xxxxxx, our Director of Employee Resources for further direction.

Yyyy, I will await your call and guidance.

Keep workplace from becoming a warzone 25.Sep.2001 01:05

Just a worker

Many of us have seen our workplaces become miniature rallying points for a U.S.-led war. A lot of factories and hospitals have been handing out U.S.flag stickers and in other ways helping to prepare for the coming war.
Those of us who intend to oppose that war - for whatever personal or political belief - should begin by asking questions: What does this have to do with our jobs? What does this have to do with the safety of our workplace or customers? How does this make our customers feel, especially those who are Islamic or Arab or from the Middle East?
There are a lot of questions that could be raised, especially if you support justice, not vengeance. Suppose we had promoted similar policies following the bombing in Oklahoma City. Would we have carpet bombed Oklahoma and Kansas because Timothy McVeigh had supporters there? Would we have prosecuted those in the U.S.Army who trained him?
Should the CIA, which funded and trained both bin Laden and the Taliban, be charged as co-conspirators now?
Should the forty other countries which lost citizens in the World Trade Center attack also have some jurisdiction in deciding who is sought for questioning and trial? Who decides there should be a war, rather than a trial? After WWII, when the Nazis were put on trial at Nuremburg, wasn't there a multi-national body prosecuting them, rather than just one nation?
I don't mind political debates at the workplace, provided they don't interfere with safety there. I do mind letting the workplace become a recruiting grounds for nationalist sentiment and war-mongering. Thank you, Skyboy.

Standing up for Peace, Justice, and Country 25.Sep.2001 03:53

Dance Dancing@theedgeoftheknown.com

Thanks, Skyboy, for taking a stand. And also for letting us KNOW of the situation and of your standing up to it.

Regarding U.S. flags, it's important to remember that virtually ALL Americans (both citizens and alien residents) are feeling great fear, anger, and empathy as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks. Many people choose to exhibit this by "showing the colors". It's the most immediate and universal method of joining with others in a common display of unity.

We must not mistake those who take comfort and pride in the flag for irrational vengeful hawks. There are many who do seek vengeance and bloodlust. And many politicians want to promote hate and war in order to deflect criticism for their own failures to protect us, or perhaps for even more sinister motives. But many Americans are wearing or flying the flag simply to show their sympathy for the victims or, at most, their determination to stand by their country.

WE MUST NOT LET THE FLAG BE USED OR SEEN AS A SYMBOL OF WAR, nor let "standing by one's country" mean calling for war or saying "Heil, Dubya".

Therefore, it's important that we, 1)Be in touch with our own identity and love of community and country; 2)Express our concern for Americans, as well as potential foreign victims, and our concern for maintaining American values and constitutional protections; 3)Embrace "Old Glory", not offend others by ignoring or rejecting it; 4)"Reclaim" the flag as a symbol of OUR nation and of the finest qualities commonly identified as American ideals; and 5)Associate the flag publicly with these values, including justice and peace.

Only in this way can we challenge the assumption that every one waving a flag is eager for war. We need to demonstrate that patriotism and compassion for fellow Americans do not necessarily go hand-in-hand with making war. We need to affirm the inclinations of those patriots who do not wish to sacrifice American lives in order to kill more innocent victims around the world and, in turn, end up with more victimized Americans. By "waving the flag" explicitely in conjunction with advocacy of tolerance, compassion, reasoned determination, and pride in leadership towards peace, we can give dimension to that choice. In so doing, we present the alternative that we offer, not as one of cowardice, intellectualism, or anti-Americanism, but as one of passion, strength, and caring for our country.