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Maxine Waters, Congresswoman (D.-Calif.), Washington, D.C.
I cannot stand the thought of the "collateral damage" of Bush's war on terrorism-babies, women, children, innocents. Though I voted to give Bush full use of armed forces, I thought this simply reaffirmed the powers he already has. I thought he would come back to Congress if he wanted to declare war. Bush was talking tough, saying things like "wanted dead or alive" and "no negotiations." I was hoping to see the rhetoric lowered.
About 75 percent of everything I do now is related to terrorism. I voted against the Anti-Terrorism Act because I am extremely concerned. John Ashcroft is going to take advantage of our vulnerability to carry over new laws, not for fighting terrorism but for greater intrusion of the state into the regular justice system, such as detaining people and abusing their rights.
Pinar Ilkkaracan, coordinator of Women for Women's Human Rights, Istanbul, Turkey
I was in my teens when armed conflict began in Turkey in the seventies. The government justified state violence as a way to "end terrorism," but violence from organizations such as the PKK [the Kurdistan Workers Party] has continued.
Terror justifies the desire to keep girls and women isolated, to curb their mobility. A culture of fear quickly springs up and women are pressured to disappear, stay home. Neither Turkish nor Kurdish women could start a women's movement because of the terrorism. Women have been pressured to set aside their own issues, and were threatened if they didn't. But after two and a half years of workshops, training, and discussions, Kurdish women have finally started their own organization. This was a big success.
Wartime violence leads to more crime. Rape and domestic violence increase in an atmosphere where all violence against women is tolerated. All over the world, wherever there is violence, people get more violent. Heated notions of masculinity perpetuate a culture of aggression and intolerance.
We are very, very afraid of the American response to September 11, although we sympathize. We are overcome with fear at what the United States can do in response and the violence it can unleash.
Yolanda Castro Apreza, activist and anthropologist, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
Since September 11, things have changed for every country in the world. The border between Chiapas and Guatemala, for example, is now much more militarized. Besides the Zapatistas in Chiapas, we have approximately 26 armed organizations. The Mexican government is not addressing the reasons for the existence of these groups. You have to see why someone wanted to shoot. We wouldn't have violence if it weren't for the political policies that engender poverty and inequality. In Mexico there are 70 million poor, the majority of the populace. Poverty can be a terrorist act just like a bomb.
The U.S. talks about attacking terrorism but generates violence by dropping ideological bombs on the rest of the world. September 11 comes from policies the U.S. follows, like those of the World Bank, which have repercussions around the world. In all of Latin America, we've suffered political and military intervention from the U.S. I think it's up to the villages, the poor, the indigenous, the disempowered to stand together and stop this violence.
We need to open up a dialogue among diverse groups around the world. And we need better information. The media was showing images of Osama bin Laden before it was even clear that he was involved. The control of information started almost immediately after the act. In Chiapas, we are fighting for our right to control our own information and to free ourselves from the terror of poverty.
Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, act
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