Environmentalists Against War
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The Asian Pacific Environmental Network opposes the 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 to 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.



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