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It's Not Pro-Iraq to Be Anti-War



To the Editors of The Crimson:

In your October 10 opinion piece "Unity Needed in Gulf Crisis," the writers use one quote by the Society of Arab Students' president, namely that "the main idea is to get U.S. troops out of the Gulf," to accuse three different student groups at Harvard of supporting Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Let us be clear. We condemn all forms of violence and aggression. We condemn Iraq's invasion of Kuwait because of moral reasons and because we oppose the order that Iraq's regime represents. We believe that all Kuwaitis who were living and working there before the invasion should decide their own political future, whatever it may be.

However, the conflict right now is not about the principles of democracy and sovereignty, nor is it about a people's right to self-determination and self-rule. The U.S. and the Arab world are on the brink of war, a war which would devastate the whole region and result in the deaths of thousands of innocent people.

We want to prevent such violence and bloodshed before it occurs. What is at stake right now is not just the sovereignty of Kuwait but the destruction of human civilization in one of its earliest birthplaces.

We condemn the way in which our president has reacted to Iraq's aggression by sending U.S. military troops to the region. Bush's response is strikingly similar to Hussein's: both have chosen military over political solutions. One aggression does not justify another.

We demand that any troops in the region should be there only under United Nations authority. We also call for an international peace conference under the auspices of the U.N. to address all the tensions and conflicts in the region, including the Palestinian question and the turmoil in Lebanon. We call on all countries and governments to stop occupation, whether it is Iraqi, Israeli or otherwise.

Unfortunately, the authors have interpreted our opposition to the presence of U.S. troops in the region under any flag other than that of the U.N. or the Arab League to be a sign of support for Saddam Hussein and for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. They are wrong. We condemn aggression in all forms and we call for the upholding of international law.

The authors claim that "by condemning international efforts to counter Saddam Hussein's atrocities, these groups have effectively alienated and silenced the voice of the majority in the Arab world." However, mass demonstrations all over the Middle East clearly indicate the strong popular Arab opposition to U.S. interventionist policies in the region and to U.S. support of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, southern Lebanon and the Syrian Golan Heights.

We call on the American people and the Harvard community to stop supporting violence and aggression in the Middle East. We want peace and justice for all the peoples of the Middle East, and we see U.S. intervention under any flag other than that of the U.N. as dangerously escalating the chances of war in the region.

We can start by recognizing the double standards being used by our administration, and must continue to pressure our leaders for a diplomatic resolution to the conflicts in the Middle East. Only then can we hope for a truly just and lasting peace for the peoples of the Middle East. Samia Mora '92   President, Society of Arab Students

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