The Great Ecumene of Peace against the Great Economists of War
Pastor Friedrich Schorlemmer's address at the mass demonstration in Berlin on February 15, 2003 is translated from the German. In the name of the Prince of Peace, the rightwing should be evicted from the west wing. May we discover that peace and resistance are part of our nature as antibodies are part of our bodies!
"We stand in the Great Ecumene of Peace against the Great Economists of War"
by Friedrich Schorlemmer
[This address by pastor Friedrich Schorlemmer from the mass demonstration in Berlin on February 15, 2003 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,
We stand before a long announced war.
We rebel against this war.
We support using all civil possibilities to avert war.
We see and seek peaceful alternatives.
We stand here in the great ecumene of peace against the great economists of war.
We are part of an "axis of peace" today that extends from Paris and Berlin to Moscow and Peking and obviously to friends in the US.
Anxiety over the victims of war unites us.
Opposition to Saddam Hussein's reign of terror unites us.
The demand for disarmament of weapons of mass destruction and the demand for outlawing all means of mass destruction, irrespective of the country, development, possession and deployment, unite us.
The experience of a European policy unites us where structures of common security were built instead of a deadlock in black-white thinking and good-evil thinking and arming to death.
Fundamentalist thinking is an either-or thinking that is politically dysfunctional. This polarizing Manichaen thinking is unworthy of democratic states. One should leave lies and deceptions to Saddam Hussein and not join in propagandistic fraud.
Everyone has not forgotten the Gulf of Tonkin and all the other war lies.
The Bush administration now seeks a "coalition of the willing, the war-willing", a coalition of the compliant or obsequious. We counter this with a coalition of the unwilling, the war-unwilling, the persistent peace-willing. The large majority of people are against a belligerent solution of the Iraq conflict. The governments should listen to their aroused people. As long as any prospect exists for civil conflict resolution, this prospect must be sought!
A war brings endless suffering over countless innocent persons.
The UN describes the humanitarian horror scenarios of a war. Who will take responsibility for these scenarios? Is loyalty more important than peace, loyalty with the completely misguided? A war will produce a vast fire of violence, a political chaos in the region. The terrorists only wait for that chaos. A war doesn't diminish risk but multiplies risk. War opens Pandora's box from which disaster streams, invisible poison.
Why is the US at war against the dictator?
Does this war involve disarmament, regime change, weapons of mass destruction, human rights, democracy and the anti-terror struggle?
Why does president Bush so diligently avoid the word "oil"?
The "new world order" of the father and son Bush is obviously uppermost. The superpower reorders the world and seeks the few countries that will follow compliantly. However the multi-polar world cannot be ruled unilaterally. Winning the Muslim world must be our goal, not winning over them. This will be hard. Still it is necessary. Anything else would be a catastrophe for our whole world.
There can be no question about our friendship with the United States. Common values and goals unite us. We do not forget what we owe them. We stand for the America of Abraham Lincoln who said: "There is no honorable way to kill and no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good about war except its end." These are very different words than the words of George W. Bush.
Not to begin any war and to do everything to tackle the causes of war resolutely, courageously, hopefully and patiently would certainly be better. Weapons of mass destruction cannot be removed by war, only by controlled destruction. Therefore we support the continuation and expansion of the work of the inspectors. Why didn't the United States completely make available its findings to the inspectors on time? They should be reproached for deficient cooperation with the inspectors, not only Saddam Hussein!
We stand for war prevention, not preventive war.
We oppose geo-strategies of superiority and support a worldwide disarmament strategy. Instead of global war, we need global security structures with binding legal grounds. The strength of the law, not the law of the stronger, is our passion.
We support the basic principles of the UN Charter. These principles are in effect when a majority resolves to break the pressure of the superpower.
To that end we challenge our present German government today.
It is said the German government isolates itself.
In truth, other governments isolate themselves from the will of their people. Church leaders from Europe, the US and the Middle East recently declared unmistakably: "As people of faith, love for our neighbor presses us to resist war and seek peaceful conflict resolution. Praying obligates us to be instruments of peace. We appeal to the Security Council to hold to the principles of the UN Charter that strictly limit the legitimate use of military force.
The bishop of Rome declared four weeks ago: "The right to life is the most fundamental of all human rights to which follow the respect of the law, the duty of solidarity, the No to death, the No to egoism and the No to war. War is never an unavoidable fate. It is always a defeat of humanity. International law, honest dialogue, solidarity between the states and the noble profession of diplomacy are all worthy methods for settling differences between people and nations." As a Protestant, I don't believe the pope is always right. But he should be commended when he is right.
Let us do everything that is worthy of our civilization!
The will of peace cannot be denied to all who do not exclude drastic measures. However we ask them whether war is actually a way and not a dangerous cul-de-sac and whether all civil possibilities have been exhausted.
The ancient servant of peace Martin Luther wrote: "Whoever begins war is wrong. Starting war is not right. Whoever wants to be a Christian must not begin war and discord but help and counsel to peace wherever he can even when there is enough right and reason to wage war."
Thus war can only be the very last self-defense. The task of a Christian is to help and counsel to peace wherever he or she can. Thus peace often needs a tenacious courage.
Better to speak ill to one another than to shoot at one another.
Better to let inspectors control the whole country in the long term than to destroy the entire infrastructure in the short term.
Better to wear down the system of the dictator than to bomb people and land.
Better to be a peace patriot than a Hurrah-patriot.
Better to be mocked by Donald Rumsfeld than to make a fool of yourself.
Better to stand alone for what is right than to join together for what is wrong.
Better to endure the reproach of disloyalty than to act against the principles of the UN Charter.
Better to avoid the adversary's hand with watchful intelligence than to repulse him in blind rage.
Better to dream again the dream of peace than to indulge in cold power calculations.
Better honest friendship than calculated obedience or submissiveness allied with an armament- and energy lobby ready for war.
Better to exhaust all peaceful means - with a sense of distance and patience, with sympathy and expertise.
Jesus of Nazareth calls people blessed or happy who make peace. Peacemakers are called children of the Most High. God's image is encountered in every person. Protecting life is a duty of every person. We should be our brother's keeper. To president Bush and all who want to make war inevitable, I ask: what is your legitimation for waging this war? What gives you the right? Because you have power and divide the world into enemies, irrelevant and willing?
In whose name do you wage war? Not in our name! Not in the name of the values uniting our countries! In whose name? Not in the name of God to whom you appeal. God's name has been defiled enough through the wars of the centuries. The other person is a likeness of the Most High and is inviolable. His protection is the task of all of us.
Let us take the last chance that no new war may be instigated. War may not become a legitimate means of politics again. The urgent plea directed by Bert Brecht to his German compatriots in 1949 is true for all humanity:
Don't march into new wars, you poor,
as though the old never occurred.
I beseech you: Have mercy on yourselves.
And the peace of God that is higher than all reason keep you and lead you to the peace ordered by our insight and our sympathy.
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