THE WISE RESPONSE TO VIOLENCE

A Declaration of The Club of Budapest

The 11th of September kamikazi attack on New York’s World Trade Center and Washington’s Pentagon was an offense against all of human life and every civilization. We condemn this act of terrorism and call to ethical and peace-loving people the world over to join together to put an end to terrorism and violence in all its forms. There is no solution to the world’s problems by killing innocent people and destroying their workplaces and habitations.

If we are to succeed in eradicating violence and terrorism from the world, we must act wisely. Violence and terrorism will not be vanquished by retaliation on the principle of eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. The ultimate roots of violence lie deeper than the fanatic commitment of terrorists and the religious claims of fundamentalists. Killing one group of terrorists will not solve the problem: as long as the roots are there, others will grow in their place.

The terror that surfaces in today’s world is a symptom of longstanding and deep-seated frustrations, resentment, and perceived injustice. We of the Club of Budapest are committed to search for the causes of these hate- and violence provoking factors and to suggest peaceful and effective ways they can be overcome. Until and unless the root causes are eliminated there will not be peace in the world, only an uncertain interlude between acts of terrorism and larger-scale hostilities. When people are frustrated, harbor hate and the desire for revenge, they cannot relate to each other in a spirit of peace and cooperation. Whether the cause is the wounded ego of a person or the wounded self-respect of a people, and whether it is the wish for personal revenge or a holy war for the defense of a faith, the result is violence, death, and catastrophe. Attaining peace in people’s heart is a precondition of attaining peace in the world.

The Club of Budapest maintains that the wise response to violence and terrorism is to help people to be at peace with themselves and their fellow humans near and far. Promoting solidarity and cooperation in the shared cause of fairness and justice is the only feasible path to lasting peace on Earth.

Drafted on behalf of the Club of Budapest
by Ervin Laszlo, Michail Gorbachev and others
15 September 2001

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Date created: 26-Sep-03