[Reader-list] Disproportion and the Justificaiton of War

Monica Mody monica.mody at gmail.com
Mon Aug 7 16:30:10 IST 2006

That was a brilliant debate on the list - all of which went towards making
the protest space on Saturday vibrant, inclusive, and exhilarating.
Apologies that this was not forwarded to you on Friday night, which is when
we put together what finally became the citizens' petition handed over to
the embassies at UK and US (Israel and Lebanon tomorrow).

I have already shared with you the press release for the protest and will
shortly be sharing the pictures clicked then.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lesley E <lesley.esteves at gmail.com>
Date: Aug 4, 2006 11:04 PM
Subject: Protest update, Friday 4 August
To: voicesagainst377 at yahoogroups.com, nigahmedia at yahoogroups.com, Apoorva
Anand <resistanceever at yahoo.co.in>, svinita at gmail.com,
aparna_sanyal at yahoo.com, iram at sarai.net, jamie.dow at pobox.com,
mail at shivamvij.com, aasim27 at yahoo.co.in, shuddha at sarai.ne,
aziz.mansour at gmail.com, mriduus at yahoo.com

  Dear friends and colleagues,

I have been organising Saturday's protest against Israel with Monica
Mody, Apoorvanand and Mridu Koshy. Several others too have contributed
to the organising effort, all in individual capacity and not as part
of any organisation.

We have received very many signatures to the letter and feedback from
some about its content.

There were at first objections to the fact the number of Lebanese dead
were recorded, not Israeli. This was indeed an unacceptable omission
and was rectified.

It was suggested that the line "The Lebanese and Palestinians are not
children of a lesser god and their blood is not worth less than
Israeli tears", which is a reconstruction of what Lebanese Prime
Minister Fouad Siniora said to assembled diplomats at the failed Rome
summit, was too emotive and melodramatic. It was dropped, because it
was considered unnecessary anyway.

There were objections to the demand for US and UK to be prosecuted for
war crimes. It was clarified on all lists that these two countries
have been included in the demand as they have provided material and
logistical support to Israel's ongoing war in Lebanon and Gaza, by
sending bombs (US) via their own airports (UK) with the knowledge that
these are likely to cause civilian deaths. This is a war crime. While
today Prime Minister Tony Blair finally said that the bombing of
Lebanon is "unacceptable", the UK continues to refuse to condemn
Israel's actions as disproportionate and still refuses to demand an
immediate and unconditional ceasefire. The UK hence extends its
sanction for Israel's actions in Lebanon and Gaza against the majority
opinion within the UK, among citizens and MPs. Meanwhile, Israel
continues to bomb civilian targets and as these words are being
written, is preparing to attack a residential suburb of Beirut which
will undoubtedly lead to even more Lebanese civilian deaths.

The strongest objections have been to the use of the word
'disproportionate' in describing Israel's actions. The gist of the
suggestions is that no war or violence is justifiable or can hence be
considered "proportionate". We agree, and must clarify that it was not
the intention to ask that violence of an acceptable degree be visited
upon anyone, whether Lebanese, Palestinian or Israeli. We would have
it that no one is killed or injured, soldier or civilian. Hence we are
demanding an immediate and unconditional cease-fire.

But since far greater powers than us remain determined to continue
with this war, to which we can only offer our opposition, either
through this protest or in any other way, we can also certainly point
out that even as per accepted laws of military engagement (who would
not love to live in a world which had no need for such laws?), the
force of Israel's response to attacks on its territory and citizens is
disproportionate. To give a very simple analogy: if my enemy slaps me,
its wrong. If I slap him back, that's still wrong. But if he slaps me
and I respond by blowing his head off with an AK47, that's a very
different kind of wrong. And one must protest all these degrees of
violence, and violence itself. The letter does both.

We do see though that the word 'disproportionate' need not be in the
headline and have hence dropped it. The heading now reads as 'CALL TO

To ensure that the letter no longer gives the impression that the
signatories advocate a lesser degree of military action by Israel, we
have added the following line to the first para: Even as we condemn
all acts and forms of violence in the current crisis in the Middle
East, irrespective of who commits them…'. We have also updated the
statistics. The rest of the letter remains unchanged.

Should anyone still like to add or retract their signature, please do
get back to us before 9 am tomorrow morning since we will be printing
copies of the letter then to release to the press and take to the
embassies. We hope that even those who don't wish to sign the letter
will attend the protest.

We look forward to a disciplined and peaceful protest tomorrow. Please
do come with placards, banners, slogans, songs and poetry.

In solidarity,


- -- 
Lesley A. Esteves
Associate Editor

Outlook Traveller Getaways
Outlook Publishing (India) Pvt Ltd
AB10 Safdarjung Enclave,
New Delhi-110029
Tel: 01141650184 (direct)
01126191421, ext 317
Cell: +919810297743
Fax: 01126191420
Email: lesley at outlookindia.com <lesley%40outlookindia.com>

apni aag mein khud jal jaye,
tu aisa parwana ban ja...
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