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Dear Mr. President: Words of Resistance, Reason, and Peace

A Vote for Sanity
by Rigoberta Menchú Tum,
Nobel Peace Laureate

September 18, 2001

After learning of the events which moved the world in the early hours of today, I wish to make my position public with the following words:

  1. I strongly condemn and repudiate the terrorist acts that have cost thousands of innocent civilian lives and have unleashed a spiral of violence and unforeseeable consequences. Terrorism, regardless of origin, is a politically unjustifiable and morally unacceptable conduct.
  2. I express my deepest feelings of condolence and solidarity with the victims, their families, and the people of the United States.
  3. I put out a call for calm and sanity to avoid responding to this provocation and senselessness with actions that could then result in a retaliatory offensive that would only fuel an escalation of violence. Despite knowing how and when this violence would start, no one would be able to foresee how or when it would end.
  4. I invoke making full use of the resources that would make a dialogue possible between a hegemonic world system that includes and excludes selectively and unilaterally, and the desperate radicalism of the responses it has engendered.
  5. I alert the international community to the danger that the actions of these terrorist groups may contribute to unleash a warlike logic seeking to settle old and new controversies between nations and justifying actions against groups and sectors which, within the current institutional framework, have not found a pluralistic disposition for the recognition of and respect for their expressions of identity.
  6. I call upon the media to avoid alarmism founded on interpretations of strong ideological affiliation, which only promote confusion and feed the ghosts of intolerance.
  7. Finally, I summon the planet's civilian society -- the Nobel Prize winners and those who carry the responsibility of governing all the countries of the world -- not to hasten to conclusions about today's events, but to commit to a grand FRONT OF SANITY which may halt the cowardly senselessness of violence and avoid greater suffering for humanity.

Rigoberta Menchú Tum
Nobel Peace Laureate


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