As the World March for Peace and Nonviolence, an initiative of the Humanist organisation World without Wars, arrives in New York at the start of its 3 day tour of the United States, President Obama prepares to cap several weeks of deliberations on the future of US involvement in Afghanistan with an expected increase of up to 40,000 additional troops.
In a statement issued by Rafael de la Rubia, Spokesperson for the March, he said, *“We call on President Obama to take a lead in this moment, to live up to the Nobel Peace Prize that was recently bestowed on him and to seek an alternative solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. The money allotted for troops could be more wisely spent on the development of the region, leading to social justice for all, and on the elimination of the roots of terrorism that supposedly led his country into this interminable war in the first place.”*
Commenting on the Statement de la Rubia added, *“If the expenditure necessary to send 40,000 soldiers were spent on improving health and education in the USA, things would be a lot better for them. Better to invest in books than in weapons. On the one hand society benefits, on the other hand it’s the weapons factories.”*
The World March, which arrives in the US after 59 days travelling through over 50 countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe and Africa, has already passed through many parts of the world that are affected by the death and destruction caused as a result of US foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. World March spokesperson for North America, Chris Wells said, *“The World March has been in Japan, which is still living under a virtual US military occupation and still suffering the effects of nuclear weapons; in Korea, where the Korean war over 50 years ago led to a devastating division of the country and has led to millions of family members being separated from one another; the Middle East where Palestine and Israel (funded by the US) are constantly living in a situation of intolerable violence and the Balkans, where US bombing led to a fragmentation of the region and the creation of new borders leading to the artificial division of people, families and friends which is still the cause of local level conflict to this day.”*
He continued, *“In all of these places there has been overwhelming support for Peace and Nonviolence. Nowhere did people say, ‘Don’t come here! We want war!’”*
Dennis Redmond, US coordinator for the World March said, *“We have received support from nearly all the States of the Union, from Hawaii, to Florida. Hundreds and thousands of volunteers are turning out to support the March. This is a call to our President to listen and act on the words that he himself spoke at Martin Luther King’s Ebenezer Church referring to this country’s great hero of active nonviolence, ‘He led with words, but he also led with deeds. He also led by example… He led by taking a stand against a war, knowing full well that it would diminish his popularity.’”*