The Nation - Friday, November 07, 2003
United States can become a force for peace only if it changes its
present course on foreign relations and abandons its unilateralism and
double standards, Reverend Jesse Jackson told a mostly student audience
at Thammasat University yesterday.
will be no peace until lions and lambs lie together, until the strong
and the weak agree to reconcile,' he said. 'Coalitions of unlikely
partners are built on mutual interests, common ground.
believe that all nations must play by one set of rules. The fact that
the United States is strong enough to ignore other nations, at least in
the short term, is not the same as saying it makes sense to do so, or
that it is somehow moral to bully them, intimidate them or bribe them
into supporting our unilateral decisions.'
spoke on the topic of 'The US After the War on Iraq: Beating Swords
into Ploughshares' at the event organised by the Vienna-based
International Peace Foundation.
American civil- and black-rights activist criticised his government for
debasing international institutions, abandoning international treaties
and talking tough to other nations including long-time allies such as
Germany and France. He urged the world community to find a way toward
'Unilateralism is dead,' said Jackson, an aide to the late Martin Luther King Jr and a former presidential candidate.
The occupation in Iraq would only fan more hatred and violence, he warned.
'The world believed this is about oil, not terrorism, about payback, not regime change . . . about empire, not democracy.'
prodded people around the world to keep their hope for a peaceful and
better future alive by tackling global poverty and environmental
problems. This can only arise from a global sense of togetherness, he
'Every nation must develop an
overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best
in their individual societies . . . We still have a choice today:
non-violent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must find new
ways to speak for peace and justice throughout the developing world.'
United Nations statistics, Jackson called attention to the 365,000
children dying every single day from what the UN calls 'conditions of
starvation'. About three billion people around the world make to do
with less than US$2 (Bt80) a day. One sixth of the world's population
lives a wealthy life while five out of six persons suffers.
nation is the world's number one arms dealer, and it pains me to say
so. We could waste less on weapons of war and mass destruction, and
spend more on growing food, cleaning air and the water, curing the
age-old diseases that still torment the poor, fighting Aids all around
Change never comes from
the government but from the power of protesters outside the government,
Jackson said, citing Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi
'We're winning. We're in a better world because of martyrs, boycotts, pickets and marching.
'One candle will challenge all darkness. Let your conscience be your guide. Let's not follow opinion polls.'