Crisis - Open Forum > Next Story

 "Some are quilty, all are responsible."
 Ruth Messinger, USA
 February 15, 2003
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel: "in a free society, where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty, all are responsible."

As people of conscience we are responsible for what our government does.

We are here exercising that responsibility. we will continue to be heard, to stand strong, to speak truth to power, to say no to a unilateral pre-emptive war.

Because silence in the face of this threat is unacceptable.

Because silence in this instance is betrayal.

Because there are serious international efforts underway to stop Iraq and Hussein without going to war.

Because there is no plan for this war, no commitment to rebuilding Iraq.

Because in a war tens of thousands of lives will be lost. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters. Lives of Americans. Lives of Iraqis. Other lives. Precious lives.

Because a war will cost us $200 billion, more than we now spend on health care, education, job training, housing and environmental protection for our own citizens—a sure prescription, as Dr. King warned, for spiritual death.

The money we will spend on this war could provide health insurance to every kid in the United States, double the funding for renewable energy, feed the 30 thousand children around the world who die from hunger every day, invest to make a serious impact on the global Aids crisis.

We stand united, to speak out, to do all we can to change the world.

Let us never retreat to the convenience of being overwhelmed. We are powerful. We can make a difference.

Never doubt that a small group of citizens can change the world. It is the only thing that ever has.

Ruth Messinger is Chair of the Board of the American Jewish World Service, in New York, a not-for profit organization helping to alleviate poverty, hunger, and disease among the people of the world regardless of race, religion, or nationality.

The above speech was made on Saturday, February 15, 2003, at the anti-war rally in New York City.