Peace coalition wants ‘No More Victims’ of war

On the 14th anniversary of 9/11, local organization hopes for a world without war.
The columns on the Francis Quadrangle were decorated with American flags in remembrance of the lives lost 14 years ago in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Just 14 years ago, more than 3,000 victims lost their lives in 9/11, leaving a permanent mark on the nation. But for Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, the day is about much more than remembering the fallen.

The 14th annual gathering of No More Victims honored those who are affected by war around the world every day. The event was held under the soft glow of candlelight at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Boone County Courthouse Plaza. People came to reflect on the continued war in the Middle East, to promote diplomacy and to call for an end to international conflict.

Mid-Missouri Peaceworks Director Mark Haim has been involved with Peaceworks since the Vietnam War.

“Not to say that the tragedy of nearly 3,000 people in this country that lost their lives due to horrific acts of violence isn’t tragic,” Haim said at the event. “One life lost is tragic; one life lost to violence is tragic. But what we are dealing with and have been dealing with for the past 14 years is a tremendous compounding of that tragedy.”

Haim believes that instead of focusing on bombs, drones and troops, the nation should instead focus on promoting social and economic justice, providing aid through healthcare and making friends rather than making enemies, he said.

“Ever since 9/11, we have not just had a permanent war economy, but also a permanent war, and that is unacceptable,” Haim said.

Peaceworks member and event speaker Lily Tinker Fortel said when so many needed healing from 9/11, they instead got retaliation, power posturing and more violence.

“I think something is terribly wrong when our thirst for vengeance trumps our need for healing,” Tinker Fortel said at the event. “When we believe that our hurt and our desire for retaliation justifies the suffering of another human being.”

Tinker Fortel said in order for changes to happen on the policy and government level, changes must first happen on the individual level, especially in young people. She said our isolation from one another is part of the reason that evils such as materialism, militarism and racism continue to exist.

“I worry a lot about the way that technology can keep us isolated from one another, from really knowing each other, while somehow communicating a sense of connection,” Tinker Fortel said. “I think we need to do as much as we can to get away from screens and get to know each other … In a world that tries to keep us so divided, just walking up to a new person and introducing ourselves can be a very big, powerful, and important action.”

Tinker Fortel said she still believes there is hope for a peaceful world without victims of war.

“It is that promise, and that hope, of a peaceful tomorrow, is a promise that is ever worthy of our commitments,” Tinker Fortel said.

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