AGAINST THE WAR
The Asian Pacific Environmental Network opposes
United States-led war against Iraq. We declare that this
war is racist and unjust, and that this war is driven by a
United States political and corporate agenda that seeks
global economic control at the cost of human suffering
and environmental damage. Our opposition to this war
reflects our deep commitment of developing community-based leadership
and power to counteract and ultimately transform the structures
and processes that continue
to promote militarization and violence in its many forms
in our communities.
The Asian & Pacific Islander communities that we organize
understand deeply the costs and impacts of war led by the
U.S. The scars of war live in our current and historical
memory—from Japanese internment in World War II to
the Vietnam War that expanded to Laos. As immigrant
and refugee communities in this country, we have
experienced first-hand war that tears apart our families,
our homeland countries, our cultures and our livelihoods.
Many of us who fled our homeland countries did so to find
refuge from the terrors of war. Many in our communities
face fear, confusion, and intimidation as we try to
understand and act upon the U.S.'s escalating war in Iraq.
Despite this fear and confusion, many know that this is an
unjust and unfair war. We do not want to relive those
memories of war, nor experience again its detrimental
impact on our communities.
Since September 11, thousands of immigrants from Asia,
Africa and the Middle East have been unfairly targeted,
detained or deported in the name of “homeland security.”
Our communities are also experiencing the effects of
massive state budget deficits, and resources that could be
used to provide food, housing, education, health care and
other services are largely being redirected towards this war
effort. We have also witnessed members of our community
encouraged to cause divisions within the community by
acting as spies on anyone they see as suspiciously unpatriotic.
As an environmental justice organization, we at APEN
understand the environmental consequences of war,
especially the polluting impacts of bombs and toxic
chemicals and the resulting ecological destruction. We
see that behind this war is an agenda of greed and power.
Because the Middle East, including Iraq, is one of the
major oil-producing regions in the world, the Bush
administration hopes to gain complete control and power
of the oil economy in this region, and thus, control of the
world economy. We recognize the destructive results of
a fossil-fuel-based economy, not only on people’s health
but also on the global climate. In these times, we stand
firm in upholding the Principles of Environmental Justice,
and we recognize that this war explicitly violates these
Principles, especially the following:
Principle 1: Environmental justice affirms the sacredness
of Mother Earth, ecological unity and the interdependence
of all species, and the right to be free from ecological destruction.
Principle 5: Environmental justice affirms the fundamental
right to political, economic, cultural and environmental
self-determination of all peoples.
Principle 10: Environmental justice considers governmental
acts of environmental injustice a violation of international
law, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the
United Nations Convention on Genocide.
Principle 15: Environmental justice opposes military
occupation, repression and exploitation of lands, peoples
and cultures, and other life forms.
This war continues a long history of militarism, aggression
and genocide on which this country was founded, and
we recognize that war and militarism impact different
parts of our communities in different ways. War and
militarism directly intensifies violence against women,
including the superexploitation of women and their labor,
including the sex trade. Youth, particularly poor and
working class youth of color, are victims of war and
militarism through forced inscription, economic draft and
placement on the frontlines. We also recognize the role of
war as a justified means to intensify systematic oppression
based on race, religion and community, and to undermine
civil liberties as we have seen in the attacks on Arabs,
South Asians and Muslims.
We oppose the use of our valuable public
dollars to support this war effort and recommit ourselves to
transforming the imbalance of power in public policymaking
that places greater value in supporting military might and
subsidizing corporate profit over ensuring people’s right
education, housing, adequate food, safety, true security
and a sustainable environment and quality of life. We
challenge the power of decision-making that rests in an
elite few rather than to all peoples.
It is in these times that
we recognize and reaffirm the importance of our grassroots work
for justice and peace
in low-income Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
And we recognize and reaffirm the necessity of the work
of our allied organizations and others who build alternative
models and strategies in communities throughout the
world that expand our notions of hope, compassion, our
sense of community and our feeling what’s possible.
We at APEN raise our voices to protest this war and we
join with the growing millions of others throughout the
world who call for peace. We call for an immediate end
to this war and we call for a movement to stop the Bush
administration’s war agenda at home and abroad in his
pursuit of global economic and political power. We invite
you to join us and to express your public opposition to
this war and your public support for peace.