Peaceful Tomorrows is an advocacy organization founded by family members of
September Eleventh victims. Its mission is to seek effective nonviolent responses to
terrorism, and identify a commonality with all people similarly affected by violence
throughout the world. By conscientiously exploring peaceful options in our search for
justice, we choose to spare additional innocent families the suffering that we have
already experienced--as well as to break the endless cycle of violence and retaliation
engendered by war.
Hi, my name is Andrea LeBlanc. I am happy to be here with you.
Martin Luther King said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent
about things that matter."
Twice recently, I have listened while someone implored me to go beyond the
boundaries of my comfort. So here I am...standing at the edges. I realized that
one of the most frightening things to me about what has been happening in
this country is apathy, my own included, ...or maybe it isn't apathy so much as
just a disbelief that this looming war will affect us personally in any serious
way...or maybe it is an unwillingness to think about the people it will affect
My HUSBAND, ROBERT LEBLANC ,WAS KILLED Sept. 11, 2001.
Bob taught Cultural Geography at UNH for 35 yrs.
He spent his life pursuing a better understanding of people and the reasons
they lived where they lived, spoke the languages they spoke, ate what they
ate, believed what they believed.
He was insatiably curious and open.
He delighted in the variousness of human cultures.
He was respectful and did not condemn...but rather tried to understand.
He was forever eager to see the places where people live, listen to the
stories, walk in the markets, taste the food, hear the music, stand in the holy
places to better know his fellow human beings.
Bob celebrated the wondrous diversity he found in the world...and he shared
this wonder and excitement with his students and friends and family.
He believed that meeting people on their own ground with a willingness to try
to know and understand the problems they struggle with and the joys they
celebrate makes our common humanity more obvious and undeniable.
I am telling you all this because I think the realities of who the Iraqi people
are...their faces, their lives...has gotten overlooked, missed somehow in all the
rhetoric about saving Iraq from Saddam Hussein and for democracy, which I
suspect isn't the real motivation for this war in any case.
Mother Teresa said, "If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that
we belong to each other."
On Sept. 11 I thought about what the mothers of those boys, the hijackers,
must be feeling.
I know the media said they were proud their sons died martyrs.
But somehow I think that the hearts of those women must have been torn and
Those mothers must be suffering still...as we still are.
I thought too about what it must be like to be Osama bin Laden, to live with
that much hate in your heart. Or to be Saddam Hussein....or George Bush, for
that matter. There must be pain there too.
There are many things that I don't even begin to understand.
I don't understand revenge.
I don't understand the arrogance of our government.
I don't understand the silence of our Senators and Congressmen (most of
I don't understand the kind of hunger for power our leaders seem to have.
I don't understand why the media gives so little attention to the cries for
peace in this country.
I don't understand the reasons we, who live in the wealthiest nation on earth,
don't use our resources and expertise to insure that the disposessed in
developing nations...and in the US...have clean water, food, medicine,
education,the means to support themselves with dignity.
Surely this is less expensive than bombs.
Abraham Lincoln said, "The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him a
friend." In my attempts to understand these things, words come to mind like
fear, ignorance, indifference, greed...and I wonder if they have something to
do with what is happening.
There are a few things I do understand and know to be true, however.
I know that when people are oppressed and desperate they do desperate
I know that when people feel they are not heard and have no choices and no
way out of their suffering they are easily persuaded to violence.
I know that it is easier to fear and hate someone if you see them as "other"
...or if you don't see them at all.
I know that it is easier to be for a war if you don't think about the people
whose lives will be destroyed.
I know that violence begets violence.
I know this war in wrong.
I Support Our Troops
I support our troops. The men and women of the military have dedicated
themselves to service to our country. The have agreed to leave their families,
put their lives at risk, and even to kill, without questioning their orders, so that
we may be safe. I pray for their safety every day.
That they have made this serious and deep commitment to us, puts a profound
moral obligation on the rest of us. We must not accept their commitment
lightly. In accepting their commitment to follow the orders and directions of
their country without question or debate, we must also accept the
responsibility to question and debate the orders, policies, and objectives that
put them in harm's way. They have given us their lives.
I take this commitment very seriously. That is why when, after long thought
and much debate, I can not agree with policies and decisions that commit our
troops to combat, I can not keep silent. If the risks or consequences of our
government's decisions were inconsequential, or were proportionally very low
compared to the benefits, then to speak out loudly against them would be bad
form, at best. But I don't believe that to be the case.
Deep in my heart, I feel the actions of our government to be wrong. Those
actions are asking our men and women to potentially give their lives, and
asking them to kill other people. How can I not speak out?
I have never been in the military. No one in my family is in the military. But if
anything, that increases my responsibility to speak out. How can I ask other
families to risk loss in my name? I understand the loss that families in this
country and others will suffer, are suffering already. I LOST MY STEP SON ON
9/11; a bright, energetic young man who lived with me since he was 5 years
old. He was a victim in someone else's misguided decision to use violence to
further their goals.
I support our troops. How can I not speak out?
"The past is prophetic in that it asserts that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows. One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. How much longer must we play at deadly war games before we heed the plaintive pleas of the unnumbered dead and maimed of past wars?"
-Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.