Here is the speach text for the UFPJ press conference on the demonstration in New York which took place at the same time as the anti-NATO protests in Strasbourg on April 4th 2009.
New York City – April 4, 2009
In Europe we understand the ravage of war. It has been part of our distant and recent history. We understand that conflicts cannot be resolved with military means. Peace cannot be made with the tools of war. Today, at this very moment, many thousands of Europeans are demonstrating in Kehl, Germany and Strasbourg, France to protest NATO’s military and nuclear policies and to assert our vision of a just world, free of war. Thousands of them are blocking the entrances to the NATO summit meeting in Strasbourg.
Today NATO is celebrating its 60th anniversary. This is sixty years in which NATO interventions have not been able to bring peace to areas of conflict. I personally have experienced NATO attacks during the war in the Balkans, a so-called “humanitarian intervention”. It has not resulted in peace for the region. NATO has waged seven years of war in Afghanistan, where the tragic situation is escalating and the war has even expanded into Pakistan. This military intervention is not creating a peaceful future for that region. We say to you and to President Obama, it is perpetrating a war that cannot be won.
In fact NATO is increasingly an obstacle to achieving world peace. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has become a tool for military action by the “international community”, including the promotion of the so-called “war on terror”. In reality it has become a vehicle for US-led use of force, often bypassing the United Nations and the systems of international law. NATO’s ongoing expansion into eastern Europe and beyond, and its “out of area” operations are making the world a more dangerous place, accelerating militarization and escalating arms expenditure.
We say: NO to WAR and NO to NATO.
But as you know, it is not enough to Just say NO! To achieve our vision of a peaceful world: We must decrease military expenditure – directing resources instead to meeting human needs. We must democratize and demilitarize the relations between peoples and establish new forms of peaceful cooperation to build a more secure and just world. We must develop civilian nonviolent peace forces and peace teams that can support parties in conflict to find solutions that meet the needs of all involved. All of us, the people from Europe, you in North America and everyone from all over the world need to further develop a peaceful culture that will make war unnecessary. Peace activists here and in Europe and all over the world-together we will make peace.
Eric Bachman, for the International Coordinating Committee of the No-to-War No-to-NATO Protests