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Fri, Sep 14, 2001 - Page 4 News List

Local pacifists urge the US to forgo any plans for retaliation

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Unnerved by the terrorist attacks against the US, local peace activists yesterday called on the superpower to refrain from violent retaliatory measures, saying such action would only sow more seeds of hatred.

"The acts of terror on American soil Tuesday deserve the severest condemnation," said Chien Hsi-chieh, chief executive at the Peacetime Foundation of Taiwan, a civic group devoted to promoting peace.

"The US authorities should seek to track down the culprits the best they can and mete out due punishment."

But Chien, also a lawmaker from the ruling DPP, said an eye-for-an-eye approach may not prevent similar tragedies in the future, as violence is bound to breed more violence.

"I understand it is difficult for the American public to keep a cool head and it may even sound hypocritical to ask for tolerance," he told a news conference. "But the US must not allow passion to discontinue its pursuit of global peace."

Military weapons, however potent and advanced, cannot protect innocent people from unprovoked harm as evidenced in the disaster on the other side of the hemisphere, Chien said.

Echoing the theme, Benoit Vermander, chairman of the International Ricci Association for Chinese Studies, said military retaliation promises no end to terrorist acts, as perpetrators demonstrate no fear of death.

He urged the US to think twice when mediating international disputes.

"It is time that the US reflects upon its foreign policy and see why there is such strong anti-US sentiment in some parts of the world," Vermander said.

Although it remains unclear who the attackers were and what their cause was, investigators are pointing the finger at Islamic fundamentalists who dislike the US presence in the Middle East.

Ping Lu (平路), a social commentator, said that the terrorist acts, though catastrophic and horrific, opened an opportunity for Washington to teach its citizens and the world a lesson on peace.

Noting that terrorists tend to be gripped by hatred, she said goodwill and dialogue promise better cures for the pre-empting of terrorism.

In a separate news conference, New Party Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) argued for the need to enact counter-terrorist laws that grant the president more power to grapple with an emergent situation.

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