posted on Sept. 20: Centre for Peace Studies issues statement on attack on U.S.


The co-ordinating council of the Centre for Peace Studies is composed of student, faculty, staff and community representatives. The council held an extraordinary meeting on Saturday, Sept. 15, to consider a response to the attack on the United States of America. The following statement is a result of that meeting:

The Centre for Peace Studies is an academic unit which seeks to understand the reasons for war and violence on all levels and to find ways to transform or prevent destructive conflicts. Since its formation in 1989, the centre has offered courses and engaged in research and field projects in many conflict zones throughout the
world. A current project in Afghanistan aims to promote peace in that area.

  • We condemn the brutal Sept. 11 attack on the United States in the strongest terms, and we offer our heartfelt sympathy for the victims and their families as well as all those around the world who have been traumatized by this event.

  • We believe those responsible must be held accountable for their actions. We support efforts to find them and bring them to justice under United States and international law.
  • We reject the principle of vengeance and strongly urge the U.S., the NATO countries and the United Nations to ensure that responses to this act of violence do not engulf further innocent victims and embroil future generations in war and hatred. We support Canada's tradition of upholding principles of justice and law, and we
    urge our government to act on these principles, rather than on those of vengeance.
  • Wherever suspects are apprehended, we hold the U.S. to the same standards of protection of the innocent that would obtain within its own borders. We hold the Canadian and all other governments, in co-operating with bringing those responsible to justice, to the same standards.
  • As a centre for peace studies, we seek to contribute to the understanding, elimination and prevention of all forms of terrorism and violence for political ends, whether committed by individuals, groups or states. The factors causing and maintaining these phenomena deserve sustained, engaged research.
  • As an academic unit engaged in peace studies, we emphasize the importance of fostering free expression of ideas and alternative processes in dealing with events such as these.
  • We urge all Canadian citizens and Canadian governments at all levels to defend vigorously the civil rights of each one of us in this crisis, when polarization and racism can be fanned by fear and anxiety.
  • Recognizing that many Canadians have suffered from experience of war, we urge sensitivity to them and provision for expression of distress that may be triggered.
  • The Centre for Peace Studies is working on conflict and peace issues in Afghanistan and has supported research among those working for peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Our experiences there leave no doubt in our minds that the great majority of the Afghan and Palestinian people do not support acts of terror committed or
    co-ordinated from their soil and do not share the goals of terrorist individuals and groups. We urge distinction between assigning blame to individuals and indiscriminately punishing populations.
  • We are very concerned about the possible use of nuclear weapons, both by terrorists and in retaliatory acts by governments. We believe that abolition of nuclear weapons is the only rational way of minimizing this risk,and urge the speedy completion of this task.
  • We join with people everywhere, including those in the U.S., who are attempting to build a global order based on principles of justice, equity and common security, rather than on militarism, national security and technological weapons prowess, convinced that this is the only way to ensure the long term safety and well-being of all people.

For more information, contact Gary Purdy, ext. 24729, Joanna Santa Barbara, 905-529-9951 or Graeme MacQueen, ext. 23388.