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I do not give my consent: Voices of protest to military intervention in Syria

By: Lucy Duncan
Published: September 6, 2013

Man and son in Syria by Alessandra Kocman

Photo: Alessandra Kocman / Alessandra Kocman

Note: So far 35,000 people have signed AFSC's petition protesting military intervention in the civil war in Syria, and advocating for diplomatic, political solutions instead. Many have added their own thoughts and reasons for opposing becoming involved in the war, many very direct and moving. Here are a few of the comments shared. For more about an alternative way of thinking about our role in the region, read Doug Bennett's What are our obligations to Syria? Are we exceptional or responsible? - Lucy

The region needs humanitarian aid, not military strikes. – John, Mooresville, Ind.

We CAN do SOMETHING. It just doesn't have to be more killing. – Elaine, Fort Collins, Colo.  

War is not the answer. This can only escalate into further, larger, conflicts with dire consequences.   – Lynne, Greensboro, N.C.

Killing more people is not a way to protest the killing of people. It does not lead to negotiated peace; it leads to despair and revenge. Put resources into giving people a reason to negotiate, a reason to hope and doing so over a long period of time is more productive than putting resources into weapons and power plays. That holds for nations as well as high school students going through their own personal crises. What example is being set?  - Morris, Media, Pa.

Punishment and retaliation are anachronistic concepts, utterly and shamefully inadequate to handle foreign policy. We need a mature, serious commitment to practical and effective steps toward a negotiated and legal solution to the Syrian civil war. – Jorge, Brooklyn, Wis.

Say, “no.” We are tired of War.  – Melinda, Jessup, Pa.

Military action is the opposite of what needs to be done. Let's take care of the refugees. – Martha, Concord, Mass.

There are two perspectives. As a student in the United States, I can already see the effects of various wars on education, becoming more costly and a leisure for the few rich who can afford. I don't want another war which damages our economy even more. As a person with knowledge of Levant I know this area has been through conflict since the earliest of settlements, Damascus being the oldest city. The ethno, religious make up is so complicated with every regional player having their own interests; it would be hard to tell what benefit we will find out of it. What do we want to see in Syria after Assad? Islamic extremists like in Afghanistan? I would request you to opt for a more diplomatic approach than aggressive.  – Muhammad, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Don't we ever learn? – Cameron, Edgewater, N.J.

Open and engaged dialog, not weapons is the way to move forward in our relationships around the world. – Kathryn, Kodiak, Alaska

Enough is enough! NO MORE WARS!!!  - Margi, Lynchburg, Va.  

I am not interested in killing, I am interested in loving. – Lori, Media, Pa.  

Always money for war, but not to feed our own people or to provide healthcare. – Shannon, Notus, Idaho

Bombing a country never helps anything, it only makes things worse and it is inhumane. – Marilyn, West Hartford, Conn.

What positive results for the U.S. have our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya produced? At what cost to our reputation and economy? At what cost to the inhabitants of those countries? Syria is in no way a threat to the United States. – Peli, Ribera, N.M.

Violence begets violence; war begets war. Charge the UN to take the lead in fulfillment of negotiating peaceful solutions. – Olivia, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Harvard-educated Middle East scholars such as William Polk are not even convinced that Assad and not one of the rebel factions used the weapons, how can we possibly take action? – Bridget, Gainesville, Va.

For our children’s sake think beyond this madness and learn some lessons from the mistakes of history, end war before war ends us. – Marc, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Let’s drop tons of medicine, medical supplies and humanitarian aid. Let’s see if that causes a terrorist backlash. – Carol, Seattle, Wash.

We have enough misery and wounded souls from war involvement by Americans. Let’s not inflict more war on the world. – Eileen, Portland, Ore.

Only peaceful means create a more peaceful and secure world. – Marcelle, Philadelphia, Pa.

Please accept more Syrian refugees into the U.S. Cheaper and more clearly humane and legal than dropping bombs. – Joanna, Lacona, N.Y.

Please, do the right thing. – Renee, Berkeley, Calif.

I am already against the next war! Make peace! Help the refugees! – Allen, Bellingham, Wash.

Violence never solves a problem. We have to start making the world a better place, today. The road to peace is hard, but not impossible. Do not kill in my name and in the name of my fellow citizens. I will never condone murder in my name. Seek a diplomatic option. Do not sink to the level of hatred and violence. I do not give my consent. – Sara, St. Louis, Mo.

 

About the Author

Lucy Duncan

Lucy serves as Director of Friends Relations for AFSC. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience. Before working for AFSC, she was Director of Communications at FGC, managed QuakerBooks of FGC, and owned and managed her own children's bookstore in Omaha, The Story Monkey. She attends Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and lives with her son and partner in a Quaker cemetery.

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