Delegates to the Mennonite Central Committee Canada annual meeting in Winnipeg have sent a letter to Prime Minister Jean Chretien in an effort to raise concerns about the “war on terrorism”.
The letter highlighted a number of concerns regarding the US-led approach and extensive attack on the people of Afghanistan.
“We feel that the bombing campaign, which Canada supports, continues to promote injustice towards the people of Afghanistan,” said MCC Canada chairperson Ron Dueck.
The MCC Canada annual meeting was held in Winnipeg November 23-24. “As Canadians, we want to add our voice to those who are calling on our federal government to assume a stronger international role. We would like to see our country work towards a solution that would lead to world peace rather than contribute to a war that increases the suffering of many innocent people.”
The letter was approved by the 35-member delegate body, which represents Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches with a combined membership of 200,000. Drafted with the help of MCC‘s Ottawa office, it raises the following concerns:
1) There seems to be far too much faith in the efficacy of military action. This is especially high now that the Taliban government has fallen. History shows that in many situations massive military action has not solved problems; often it has made things worse.
2) The focus is too much on only some acts of terrorism. In many countries, including Congo, Colombia and Indonesia, where there are Mennonite churches, and others where MCC has programs, millions of people have been terrorized, displaced and killed in recent years. But this has not aroused the world to action.
3) The injustice in the international economic system should be recognized as one reason for the anger against the West. The aid money that goes from rich countries to poor ones is small relative to the large sums that flow from poor to rich countries, often to service debts. Access to resources is most uneven. Over a billion people now live in extreme poverty. This must be addressed.
4) The war may cause a deterioration in interreligious relations. This could have serious implications for Muslim minorities in Western countries and for Christian minorities in Muslim-majority countries, as well as for global relations generally.
“We do not generally write these kinds of letters,” said Dueck. “But our constituents want us to reinforce our thoughts and ideas to the government. They want us to take that extra opportunity as we look towards the future and decide where we want to go in addressing these issues.”
The letter also urges the Canadian government to call for a halt to the bombing of Afghanistan and to oppose the bombing of any other countries.
“We believe the task of bringing to account those who perpetrated the September attacks can be effectively pursued through the UN and other multilateral procedures,” states the letter.
—MCC Canada release