The Common Good

Feed the People, Halt the Bombing

Sojomail - November 7, 2001

               
*************************************************************

                       S O J O M A I L

          Promoting faith, reason, compassion, and justice
                   in days of violence and fear

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+++++++++++++++++++++++ 7-November-2001 +++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++ Feed the People, Halt the Bombing, Honor Ramadan +++++++

 Q u o t e   o f   t h e   W e e k
     *Thomas Merton: fear and war

 H e a r t s   &   M i n d s
     *A Call: Feed the People, Halt the Bombing, Honor Ramadan

 B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
     *Sojourners launches international campaign

 B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
     *U.N., aid agencies paint grim picture for Afghan refugees

 S o u l   W o r k s
     *Acting in the spirit of Ramadan

 B o o m e r a n g
     *SojoMail readers hit reply

 H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
     *Catholic cardinal: Cushion the blow for unemployed Americans

 C u l t u r e   W a t c h
     *Give peace a Web site

 W e b   S c e n e
     *All the news that isn't fit to print by corporate media channels
     
************************************************************************

Q u o t e   o f   t h e   W e e k
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"The root of war is fear."

         - Thomas Merton

*************************************************************************

H e a r t s   &   M i n d s
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
A Call: Feed the People, Halt the Bombing, Honor Ramadan

by Jim Wallis

Most Americans are united in the commitment to defeat
terrorism. But honest and soul-searching questions are
emerging as to how terrorism will best be defeated. It
is crucial that such questions, some taking the form of
dissent to current U.S. military strategies, not be viewed
as disloyal or unpatriotic. At this critical moment in our
history, we must not let the American flag become a blindfold.
       
The hideous murder of 5,000 people in New York and
Washington still brings us to tears, stirs our anger, and
summons our resolve. Since September 11, 500,000 other
Americans have lost their jobs, adding to the painful
fallout for many families and communities. And now in the
face of anthrax attacks and regular "high alert" warnings
of further terrorism, Americans are confronting the threat
of fear as a way of life. The questions about how to confront
such evil are, on the one hand, very practical, and, on the
other, deeply moral, as we assess the consequences of the
actions we undertake. Some have seriously asserted that
there must be "no rules in the fight against terrorism."
But that course would be our most serious mistake, and
would begin to blur the differences between us and the
inhumanity we must defeat. A national discussion of ends
and means is crucial, as we face both dangers and
opportunities.
        
First, winter is coming to Afghanistan where three decades
of conflict, three years of drought, and a new war has
provoked "a crisis of stunning proportions," according to
the United Nations. Humanitarian organizations, on the
ground, report astonishing numbers of people in great
peril. Five hundred thousand people in Afghanistan could
die quickly if aid doesn't arrive very soon; three million
more (the population of Chicago) are close to starvation;
and 7.5 million altogether (the population of New York City)
will need food to get through the winter. International
relief agencies warn of terrible consequences unless a
massive invasion of food in Afghanistan is undertaken -
urgently. Cold and snow will make humanitarian efforts
much more difficult.

Second, the U.S. bombing campaign has not produced the
results originally hoped for, and parallel diplomatic efforts
to create a post-Taliban government are seriously stumbling,
due to age-old ethnic, political, and personal rivalries between
warlords who hardly create confidence in a future government.
American air strikes haven't caused Taliban defections and
collapse, and have even rallied more militant Islamists to
their side. Despite efforts to avoid civilian casualties and
Pentagon regrets for bombs that have missed their targets,
the suffering of the innocent is increasing - both through
civilian bomb victims and massive refugee dislocation, which
are unavoidable in modern aerial warfare.

Public opinion in Afghanistan and the region has clearly turned 
against the U.S. since the bombing began. Alarmingly, the 
Taliban and Osama bin Laden seem to be winning support in the 
important propaganda war, by manipulating the pictures of dead
and wounded children and inflaming the charge of an American 
war against Islam. Yet, as far as we know, the military 
campaign has thus far captured or killed no members of bin
Laden's al Qaeda network - who are the ultimate targets.

The heart of our problem is this: Every day the air strikes
go on the international discussion shifts from terrorism to
bombing, from the attack on the United States to the ethics
and consequences of U.S. military reprisals. That change in
the conversation is bad for America, and for the fight against
terrorism. 

Third, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is fast approaching,
which is one of the five pillars of Islam. It obviously
comes at a highly sensitive time. While Arab nations have
sometimes continued fighting during Ramadan, there is a
real danger of furthering already serious Muslim resentment
if American bombs continue to fall on the people of
Afghanistan during their holy season and winter of suffering.

We may now be faced with a very stark strategic and moral
choice this winter: To bomb Afghanistan during Ramadan while
a third of its people starve, or to assist a massive
humanitarian relief effort while still pursuing the
terrorists. I believe it is clear which choice will be
more effective, in the long run, for our campaign against
the terrorism. A growing number of voices are raising the
need for a different course and a better way.

1) Feed the People. The United States and the international
community must prioritize the saving of the people of
Afghanistan. A massive humanitarian relief effort must be
undertaken immediately and given at least equal importance
with everything else we are doing to defeat terrorism.

2) Halt the Bombing. Some aid organizations are calling
for a pause in the bombing so that urgent relief efforts
are unhindered. Others are saying that at least military
intervention must not exacerbate the humanitarian crisis,
and conditions that permit the safe delivery of aid must
be created, such as ceasefires, safe zones for relief
work, and aid corridors.

3) Honor Ramadan. In the end, we will need other Muslims
to defeat the violent voices of Islam, and Ramadan
provides an opportunity to build some bridges. The holy
month between November 16 and December 17 is a time for
prayer, fasting, and reflection - spiritual disciplines we
all need at this pivotal moment. American Christians, Jews,
and others of good faith should join in honoring Ramadan
this year - sending a clear signal of respect for the Muslim
faith, and sending the money saved from meals or days of
fasting directly to relief organizations feeding hungry
people in Afghanistan. Such a turn of events would be a
genuine act of religious solidarity and compassion, and
could also deal a blow to the terrorist's desires to
foment a war between the Christian West and Islam, and
recruit more terrorists. Let's show the Muslim world
they are not our enemy.

Cruise missiles and B-52 carpet-bombing do not easily
target networks of terror in more than 60 countries.
But those who oppose the bombing have the moral obligation
to offer alternatives. Other tactics must now come into
sharper focus:  continuing to cut off the financial assets
of terrorists, heightened and coordinated domestic security,
intensive worldwide police and intelligence activity, the
use of international law to convict, isolate, and discredit
the terrorists - and then effective and carefully targeted
search-and-capture operations to find and stop them. A
period of reflection would also allow us to focus upon
how to solve the root injustices and grievances, which
will never justify or even explain terrorism, but
clearly fuel its evil.

By acting boldly, we can help prevent a human catastrophe
while winning Muslim hearts and minds. A strategy of
humanitarian aid along with the vigorous pursuit of
justice against terrorism will take time, but so will
any other strategy. None of us knows all that it may
require to defeat terrorism, but in the face of military
quagmire and humanitarian disaster, it is time for a
better way.

*******************************************************************

FEED THE PEOPLE, HALT THE BOMBING, HONOR RAMADAN

Join the campaign and send a letter to
President Bush. Act now at:

http://www.sojo.net/haltthebombing

Pass along this action alert to your family and friends.

*******************************************************************

B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Sojourners launches international campaign:
Feed the People, Halt the Bombing, Honor Ramadan

by David Batstone

More than a few people have complained to me that they
feel completely powerless to raise a voice of concern
over the bombings of Afghanistan, let alone air public
discussions over alternatives to war. In the United
States, the mainstream media up to this point has not
been willing, by and large, to question the wisdom and
efficacy of U.S. military operations to stop terrorism.

With time, the commercial media will create spaces for
dialogue and dissent. Until then, rather than throw up
our hands in despair - or whine to each other about life
on the political margins - it's imperative that we take
advantage of the media channels available to us. Using the
Internet, we have the power to reach hundreds of thousands,
indeed millions of concerned citizens; we don't have to
bolt together a printing press or lick a mountain of stamps
to make it happen, either. But it all starts with you...
and your friends...and their network...and their network's
network.

Beginning today, Sojourners is launching an international
campaign with a simple message: Halt the Bombing, Feed
the People, and Honor Ramadan. The campaign is mobilizing
around these principals:

*As winter fast approaches, urgent action must be taken
to save the lives of millions of starving Afghans. We
are calling for a massive aid program that can operate
freely without the danger of aerial bombing.

*Halting the bombing that victimizes so many Afghan
civilians, offering aid instead, and honoring Ramadan
will send a clear message to Muslims around the world
that Islam is not an enemy of the West.

*All spiritual people, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, will
unite in a month of prayer, fasting, and charity.

*In a time of crisis, deep reflection and self-evaluation
of one's actions - practices called forth in the practice
of Ramadan - often fall by the wayside. It would show great
wisdom for the United States and its allies to pause - at
the least - their bombing operations and reconsider the
the best means to bring to justice Osama bin Laden and
the al Qaeda network.

Respected aid agencies Oxfam International and Christian
Aid and a host of Nobel peace laureates are raising this
call internationally as well. Here's how you can register
your support for this campaign:

1) Pledge your personal support and send a letter to
President Bush. Act now at:

http://www.sojo.net/haltthebombing

2) Pass along this message to your family and friends.
Bring it to the religious and civic communities to which
you belong. Send it to your local newspaper. Get the
word out as widely (and quickly!) as you can.

3) Organize a bi-weekly study circle to discuss such themes
as the threat of terrorism at home and abroad, the military
efforts of the United States and its allies, a religious response
to conflict and war, the contours of Islam, and the politics of
the Middle East. Sojourners is publishing a study guide,
titled "Conscience in a Time of War," that will help you
facilitate group discussions. To get ideas for setting up
your own study circle, including information on how to order a
Sojourners study guide, email: sojocircles@sojo.net

4) Send a monetary donation to humanitarian agencies providing
aid in Afghanistan.

It's a well-worn political slogan, but it takes on new relevancy
in the Internet age: "If you don't like the news, go out there
and make your own." Please join us in making some news
worth talking about.

***************************************************************************
B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
U.N., aid agencies paint grim picture for Afghan refugees

*Total Afghan refugees
    
Before September 11, 2001:
- 2 million in Pakistan
- 1.5 million in Iran

Since September 11:
- 110,000 more to Pakistan, although border officially
closed. As many as 1 million more may pour into Pakistan,
another 500,000 into Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan,
and Uzbekistan.

*Internally displaced persons in Afghanistan

Before September 11:
- 1 million

Since September 11:
- 150,000 additional. Between 50-70% of the population
of Herat, Kabul, Jalalabad, and Kandahar have fled to
rural areas since the start of the bombing.

*Food Risk:

- total Afghan population 26 million
- 2.5 to 3 million Afghans in immediate danger of starving
in the next two months
- total of 7.5 million will need assistance to get through
the winter
- In October, only 24% of the food aid required was
delivered into Afghanistan, and only 21% distributed
to those in need.

*Sources: United Nations, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Norwegian
Refugee Council.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

S o u l   W o r k s
+++++++++++++++++++
Acting in the spirit of Ramadan

by Rose Marie Berger

"Whatever share of this world You would bestow on me,
bestow it on Your enemies, and whatever share of the
next world You would give to me, give it to Your
friends. For you, O Lord, are enough for me."

                      -Rabi'ah of Basra

During the Gulf war many of us practiced the Ramadan
fast as an act of penance, mindfulness, and gratitude
for God's graciousness. During these days when the world
is wrestling for deep soul-healing, we put forth this
call again. We invite all Americans - Christians and
Jews, people of faith and good will - to act in
solidarity with Muslims by fasting for Ramadan.

Ramadan (November 16-December 15) is a month-long fast
for more than one billion Muslims worldwide. It is a time
of intensive worship, reading the Quran, giving charity,
purifying one's behavior, and doing good deeds. By
cutting one's self off from worldly comforts, a fasting
person develops sympathy for those who go hungry.

In the United States Ramadan and Thanksgiving (November
22) coincide this year. Thanksgiving is a day focused
on gratefulness for the land and the bounty of the earth,
as well as family and community. It is also a day that
many people across the country dedicate to the homeless
or those without adequate food through food donations,
serving in soup kitchens, or delivering food to
needy families.

There is an ancient Christian custom for nonviolently
resolving conflict called "purchasing the well-being of
one's enemies." While we are being told that the Afghan
people are not our enemies, we are treating them like
they are. 

We invite you to practice the Ramadan fast in the best
way you can:

1) Fast during daylight hours and focus your prayer on the
graciousness of God.
2) Wear a small purple ribbon during the day as a reminder
of your Ramadan discipline.
3) Include a Ramadan prayer in your table grace and weekly
worship.
4) Donate food to local food pantries helping Americans who
are hungry.
5) Send a monetary donation to humanitarian agencies
providing aid in Afghanistan.
6) Ask your local mosque or Islamic center if there is an
evening meal that is open to the public so that you can
celebrate the breaking of the Ramadan fast.
7) Call or write the local paper and let them know what
you are doing and why.
8) Hold public vigils praying for the people of Afghanistan
and collecting food and donations.
9) Invite friends to "break the fast" suppers for prayer,
study, singing, and acts of charity.
10) Promote community events (concerts, poetry readings,
art festivals) with these themes.

These are all ways of "purchasing the well-being of our
enemies." Christians and Jews will soon be entering the
seasons of Advent and Chanukah. We encourage you to
extend this model into those times and rituals as well.
We want one idea to trickle down to the ground in
Afghanistan. Americans are acting in solidarity with
Muslims by fasting for Ramadan.

Let Sojourners know what happens. For more information and
worship suggestions on Ramadan, Advent, Thanksgiving, and
Chanukah go to: 
http://www.sojo.net/haltthebombing/index.cfm/action/worship_resources.html

Agencies providing direct relief in Afghanistan:

Christian Aid
http://www.christian-aid.org.uk/index.htm

Oxfam
http://www.oxfam.org.uk/donation/afghanistan.html

International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent
https://www-secure.ifrc.org/donation/donate.asp

Mennonite Central Committee
http://www.mcc.org/afghancrisis/index.html

Mercy Corps
http://www.mercycorps.org/

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         A Dialogue Among Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Leaders

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*Rev. Jim Wallis, founder, Sojourners magazine
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*Imam Feisal Rauf, President of Sufi American Muslim Association

Live telecast and Webcast: http://www.ectn.org

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***************************************************************************

B o o m e r a n g
++++++++++++++++++

Jesse Barr of Winslow, Arizona, wrote:

Reading the exchanges in SojoMail is such a refreshing
change from the pap and propaganda that we are bombarded
with via the commercial news outlets. Our politicians and
military leaders need to read these exchanges. Even where
there is strong disagreement, it is couched in reasoned and
calm terms, always accepting the possibility of error on
the part of the writer and/or reader. The beliefs and
approaches demonstrated in these exchanges should be
lessons to us all in both problem solving and life in
general. Keep up the good work!

-----------------------

Michael Danner of Metamora, Illinois, wrote:

I appreciate David Batstone's honesty in response
to criticism that he is not "pacifist enough." If a
gunman was running loose in my neighborhood, as a
pacifist, I would call the police. It is the best
course of action to secure the safety of innocent
people in my neighborhood. I do this with the
realization that officers called to the scene will have
guns and may use violent force to subdue the gunman.
In calling the police, have I violated my convictions
as a pacifist? Am I hypocritical for saying I would
never kill a person, but it is OK to let others do
the job? I am morally liable if I simply retreat to
my prayer closet and pray the gunman doesn't hurt
anyone. These are difficult questions.
 
They are questions that center around that age-old
passage of Christian scripture, Romans 13. Although it
is inappropriate to use this passage as a justification
for obedience to governments no matter what they do,
even a right understanding of Romans 13 indicates that
governmental authorities have been given the power of
the sword for the purpose of supporting good and
supressing evil. Does this contradict Jesus' call for
his disciples to love their enemies?
 
The problem I have with my own above statements is the
reality that governments are prone to use the sword in
ways that violate the human rights of others.... On
every point, our current military actions in
Afghanistan fall well outside the provisions of Romans
13. It is clear in the context of Romans 13 that we
are to feed our enemies and give them water when they
are thirsty. We are never to retaliate, but we are to
leave room for God's justice.

This may raise more questions than it answers, but as a
pacifist that engages others in community, I cannot avoid
dealing with these arguments and the biblical material.
I believe there is a way through the tension that leads
to an ethic of peace that can coexist with the proper
use of punishment within the God-ordained functions of
governments. Calling the police is not the same as
shooting the gunmen yourself. Calling the police recognizes
the civil authority of the police to resolve matters
like this. Yet, the police must be accountable for their
actions as well. Police that misuse their authority and
abuse the sword must be prosecuted as criminals.

------------------

Tobias Winright of Indianola, Iowa, wrote:

[David Batstone] referred to Yoder's openness to police
actions. I, in fact, wrote a chapter on this topic for the
Yoder festschrift, edited by Stanley Hauerwas, et. al, titled
"The Wisdom of the Cross: Essays in Honor of John Howard
Yoder." In this chapter, "From Police Officers to Peace
Officers," I treat pacifism and policing, concluding with
a Yoderian take on the subject. As his graduate assistant
for two years shortly before his death - and as a former
law enforcement officer (and a current reserve police
officer) - I struggled with this topic, and Yoder was
always keenly interested in it.

------

*Ed. note: The book referenced above by Mr. Winright
also contains an essay written by Marc Thiessen
Nation on the tough choices Dietrich Bonhoeffer faced
in the Nazi era. SojoMail reader Kathy Neely asked for
more background on Bonhoeffer in last week's SojoMail.

------------------

Susan Klein of Girad, Ohio, wrote:

Regarding David Batstone's column "What else can we
do...plenty" and the many responses to it: First, let
me say that I deeply believe in living out Christ's
commitment to nonviolence.

But can we as Christians strive for total nonviolence
while supporting the lesser of evils? As peacemakers
who are often ignored by the majority and the media,
can we hold up our commitment for all to see
while also realizing that a reduction in violence is
better than a continuation of a devastating violence
such as what's happening in Afghanistan? It appears
clear that the U.S. government will not quickly turn
to nonviolence. In the short term, supporting the
lesser evil (international law) could possibly stop
innumerable deaths and tragedies. Can we do both things?
It seems that the present viable options are intense
violence and lesser violence. Can we support
reduction in violence while working toward total
nonviolence?

-------------------

C.R. Krieger of Lowell, Massachusetts, wrote:

Thanks to Ruthmary Magnan. [In last week's Boomerang]
she said what I believe to be true. If we believe in
democracy, we must believe in the responsibility of
the people, otherwise the people need minders and that
leads to dictatorship. It doesn't matter how well-
intentioned the minders are. Power corrupts. I go
with the Declaration of Independence on this.

I don't hold children responsible, and I make
allowance for the fact that the Taliban is not a liberal
democratic government, but at the end of the day someone
(namely, the citizens) needs to be responsible. It is
good propaganda to say we are fighting the bad government
and not the good people, but deep down inside we should
acknowledge that the people are responsible. By the same
token, if we think our own government has gone well off
the rails, then we should be prepared to stand up and
say so.

--------------------

Barry Higgins of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, wrote:

I can understand the utter frustration that leads
all of us to at times view peoples as "ultimately
responsible for the governments they allow to rule
them." My concern is that we don't allow ourselves to
use this point of view to justify the loss of civilian
lives during the current bombing campaign. This logic
echoes the same rationale of the terrorists who destroyed
the World Trade Center. They gave their lives in the
belief that all U.S. citizens were ultimately responsible
for U.S. policy in the Middle East, policies that many
people argue has led to a tremendous loss of life,
especially in Iraq. Perhaps bin Laden and his
associates have more ground for such terrifying logic
than we do? After all, U.S. citizens have more freedom
to speak out against their government than those
currently suffering under the Taliban do.

Cambodians who suffered greatly under the Khmer Rouge
might also find something disturbing about this way of
thinking. So might many aggrieved U.S. citizens currently
lobbying for an international trial of key Khmer Rouge
leaders. History absolves Cambodians generally from the
argument that they were in some sense responsible for
the death of almost a third of their citizens. Most of
them were victims of a reign of terror. Some argue that
the U.S. bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War was
more responsible for creating the Khmer Rouge than the
average citizen in Cambodia.

History demonstrates over and over that large-scale
bombing campaigns can have unintended consequences far
more serious than the original threat used to justify
such campaigns. Let's pray that this will not be so
in the current crisis.

-------------------

Chris Benge of Raumati, New Zealand, wrote:

I follow Ruthmary Magnan's argument that there are no
truly "innocent civilians." But I wonder if she gives
sufficient weight to the impotence of ordinary citizens
in many of the poorer, non-democratic societies of the
world. Hitler rose out of a more democratic context
than that of modern-day Afghanistan, and so, at least
early on in his career, might have been opposed more
effectively by comparatively rich and powerful German
citizens, had they chosen to mount opposition.

--------------------

David Weinschrott, of Indianapolis, Indiana, wrote:

Re. Jim Wallis' column on the economic stimulus package:
We don't need to replace favorite Republican initiatives
(cut in capital gains) with favorite Democratic initiatives
(increase the minimum wage) in this stimulus package. Both
are examples of "pushing string." What has happened is a
weakness (nay plummet) on the demand side, initially for
airplane trips and travel in general, then compounded by
layoffs in the travel industry that spread out into layoffs
in the general economy. Indicators match plummeting
consumer confidence along with purchases.

Supply side benefits - "trickle down" incentives - will be
long in having an impact. They don't prevent layoffs as
indicated by actions of the airlines....

A cut in payroll taxes would be more likely spent than
the tax rebate checks that have recently been mailed to
taxpayers. It stands to reason that a measurable share of
those receiving tax rebate checks simply endorsed them
and sent them off to their favorite mutual fund or
invested in a CD. These same people would have been less
likely to do that if the rebate had been deposited directly
to their checking accounts first.

A cut in payroll taxes would also benefit the nation's
least advantaged workers, with less in the way of savings
and other assets. This would be particularly true if the
cut occurred before year's end since many higher-income
taxpayers have already surpassed the annual maximum
contribution subject to the Social Security portion of
the payroll taxes. Indeed, a number of lower income
workers who didn't qualify for the tax rebate would get
some benefit with this tax cut.

The American economy needs help, and, fortunately, it's
very likely to get it. The question at hand, however,
is whether Democrats and Republicans will address the
problem honestly, or use a crisis to shoehorn
inappropriate policies into place.

-----------------

Bernard Harkin of Chicago, Illinois, wrote:

I am grateful for SojoMail. It is important at this
time to get independent news reports. The mainstream
media is not very well known for its objective
reporting. Keep up the good work!

-----------------------------

Boomerang is an open forum for all kinds of
views. The views expressed are not necessarily
those of Sojourners. Want to make your voice
heard? Send Boomerang e-mails to the editor:

"boomerang@sojo.net"

***********************************************************************

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H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Cushion the blow for unemployed Americans

Below is a statement from Cardinal Roger Mahony, urging
government leaders to provide expanded programs to aid
the unemployed in our current uncertain times. Cardinal
Mahony chairs the U.S. Bishops' Domestic Policy Committee
and called for action in the face of new unemployment
statistics following the tragic events of September 11.

Cushion the Blow for Unemployed Americans
November 2, 2001 

The tragic events of September 11 dealt a serious blow
to the people of the United States because of the horrific
loss of life in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon.
The unemployment numbers released today are a fresh reminder
of the continuing impact on many people's lives. National
unemployment claims have reached a level not seen in the
last decade. While nearly every industry has lost jobs,
the most vulnerable workers have been hit especially hard.
Many were just beginning to get an economic foothold after
leaving school or welfare, or recently arriving in our
country.

As our nation focuses on increased security at home and
abroad, we must not forget the economic insecurity of
so many families, especially those with low-income
workers, minorities, and women heading households. Some
will need immediate relief to pay rent, and purchase food,
clothing and other necessities. Churches and charities
will do their share but it will not be enough. Others
will lose their employment-based health insurance,
putting at risk their own health and that of their
families. Obviously, new jobs are the best answer for
the newly unemployed, but until the economy recovers,
just and compassionate public policies and investments
are required.

Today, I renew my call for the administration and
Congress to help cushion the blow for unemployed
Americans by providing them with some measure of
economic security in these uncertain times. Expansion
of our unemployment insurance system, modifications
to food and nutrition programs to meet increased
need, and extension of health care benefits are
essential first steps to respond to the crisis
touching jobless workers and their families.

The events of September 11 have united our people. As
our nation tries to move forward together, it would be
wrong to leave behind workers who have lost jobs or
health-care coverage because of these terrible attacks.
All of us must make sacrifices at times of national
tragedy, but let us not ask too much of those who
have so little.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

C u l t u r e   W a t c h
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Give peace a Web site

by Jeffrey Benner

Polls show majority support for the military action
in Afghanistan. But that still means millions of
Americans oppose it. The Web allows them to find one
another easily and organize with an efficiency like
never before. To read more, go to:

http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,47669,00.html?tw=wn20011022

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*AlterNet is a project of the Independent Media
Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to
strengthening and supporting independent and
alternative journalism.

http://www.alternet.org

*Indymedia is a collective of independent media
organizations and hundreds of journalists offering
grassroots, non-corporate coverage.

http://www.indymedia.org

*TomPaine.com seeks to enrich the national debate
on controversial public issues by featuring the
ideas, opinions, and analyses too often overlooked by
the mainstream media.

http://www.tompaine.com

*The Transnational Foundation offers frequently updated
analyses, ideas, columns, debates, news, and links. TFF's
mission is peace: learning to handle conflicts with ever
less violence.

http://www.transnational.org/new/TNN.html

*Institute for Policy Studies celebrates its 37th year
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