Story last updated at 12:45 p.m. Thursday, September 19, 2002

Quakers call for peace
We were pleased to see your editorial and opinion page recently. Those of us in the Homer Quaker Worship Group are convinced that there is part of God in every person.

The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has historically provided humanitarian aid to all sides in wars or conflicts. We believe that we are called to work to "take away the occasion for war."

We oppose the devastating economic sanctions against Iraq and the illegal bombing of Iraq's "no-fly zone," a residential area, which have been led by the U.S. government. We oppose the U.S. preparations for a wider war against Iraq.

According to UNICEF's best estimate, the sanctions have already caused the deaths of a million Iraqis, many of them children, and continue to cause death and extreme hardship. The words of Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, challenge us: "The next generation will ask us, 'What were you doing when the children of Iraq were dying?'"

We endorse the Campaign of Conscience for the Iraqi People led by the American Friends Service Committee, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi, and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The Campaign of Conscience is sending water purification equipment to the Iraqi people, with or without U.S. government approval, in a nonviolent humanitarian effort. While our government refuses to allow such humanitarian shipments, our endorsement implies civil disobedience for many of us.

We strongly urge our government and the United Nations to end bombing and economic sanctions.

It is only by turning away from militarism and working for peace and justice that we will achieve true security.

We deeply regret the suffering and death that the bombing and sanctions cause. We commit ourselves to work for a new day of peace and reconciliation between the people of Iraq and the United States of America.

Rich Kleinleder and Lolita Brache, co-conveners, Homer Quakers

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