Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Letter of the day: Sept. 11 a time to ponder

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As we commemorate the terrible day of Sept. 11, 2001, let us remember the grieving families who lost loved ones that day. But let us also remind ourselves that the violent reaction of the West, with two wars, at a cost of more than $3 trillion and the lives of tens, if not hundreds of thousands, has been short sighted and foolhardy. Let us redouble our efforts to respond to the primal violence from thugs without reacting in kind.

Gandhi brought down the British Empire with peaceful means in 1947, the East Block youth brought down the Soviet Empire with peaceful means in 1989, the Arab spring in 2011 brought down two corrupt regimes and may bring down others.

The horrors of the Second World War produced in 1949 the Geneva Convention, which stipulated the prisoners of war could not be killed and built on earlier conventions governing warfare. It seems too simple, but if we can agree as nations of this world to eliminate the killing of POWs, why not secure the same agreement and simply agree no longer to kill each other?

If we need to, in order to secure some kind of victory and bragging rights, perhaps we could still allow for the capture of people, granting victory to the nation with the most captors. It sounds ridiculous, but is this idea any more out of reach than the innovative idea from 1949 that POWs cannot be murdered?

And who knows, this particular convention could generate huge new industries in the building of nets -- smart nets, stealth nets, laser guided nets!

Seriously, as we commemorate 9/11, let us also use this moment to imagine a warless world, and then not relent until warfare has become a taboo for all time.

ROYDEN LOEWEN

Steinbach

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 10, 2011 A19

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