Criminal Trespass

In the Sept/Oct issue, an article "Inspecting the Inspectors," states "team members were charged with criminal trespass."

Now under British law you can't be sued successfully for trespass unless you did some damage, and there was none here. Perhaps it's not the same in the USA. But you may want to mention this to them or their lawyer.

W. Paul Ronald
Roxboro, Quebec

Palestinian home demolitions

Thank you for publishing my description of the demolition of the Palestinian home in "Lena Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (Sept./Oct. 1998).

Update: Lena's home was rebuilt a second time by Israeli and Palestinian peace activists - after the first rebuilding was demolished. So far it is still standing. What's more, the Israeli authorities informed us that hundreds of homes were taken off the roster for demolition. They did not tell us why. We do know, however, that thanks to publications like yours, good people from all over the world flooded their governments with letters and faxes demanding that Israel end its policy of destroying Palestinian homes, and that some of these governments - including the Canadian and the U.S. - have pressed Israel to stop. Your letters have made all the difference. Although the terrible memories must still linger for her, Lena again has a home, and she knows that not everyone is the enemy.

Gila Svirsky
Director, Bat Shalom
Tel: +972-2-563-1477
Fax: +972-2-561-7983

Bat Shalom is a feminist peace organization working toward a just peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors that will include recognition of a Palestinian state side by side with Israel, and Jerusalem as the capital of both.

Oppose MAI

I am deeply concerned about the push to move forward negotiations on the Multilateral Agreement on Investments - to try to have it in place by the spring of 1999. It was only by the merest fluke that it was not pushed through last spring. The secrecy surrounding it to that point was utterly shocking.

Most of us recognize that globalization is here to stay, a very obvious reality, and we must deal with it. We also know that not all corporations are monsters, power hungry and greedy. And we must have international laws.

But we also know that the MAI is not the instrument we need. It was obviously designed by people who are being guided by those who are power hungry and greedy, whose aim is to deprive national governments of their ability to govern their own citizens - to make their own laws to protect the environment and health.

Although the majority who voted, voted against NAFTA, we got it anyway and were assured that we would be protected by the insertion of sidebar agreements. But as events have since proved, NAFTA is weighted on the side of the most powerful in spite of efforts to make it more equitable.

All this is disturbing and makes me frightened for the future of my country and many other smaller nations.

Patricia C. Alcock
Huntsville, Ontario

Crime against humanity

A Chilean ex-dictator accused of crimes against humanity has been arrested in England and may be extradited to Spain. The three sovereign states involved seem determined to settle it according to international "law" - a mixture of hocus-pocus and hypocrisy. The case will probably be decided by the national sovereignty principle, itself a crime against humanity. It is high time that the myth of national sovereignty be universally rejected. NATO's recent shadow-boxing with Milosevic, if it had been genuine, might have constituted a move in this direction, since the argument was that Yugoslav national sovereignty must yield to humanitarian considerations.

If at the beginning of this century the world had not been enslaved by the demon of national sovereignty, it is conceivable that we would have escaped both world wars, the holocaust, the U.N.'s Korean war, and all its successors. The crimes committed by Hitler, Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, and the like could have been obviated by arresting the miscreants before the intended atrocities could take place. Protected by national sovereignty, their friends could always prevent their arrest by lawful means, whereas under a system of peacefully enforceable interpopular law (for example, in a federal union) attempting to prevent the arrest of a suspected criminal would be a felony itself.

Harold S. Bidmead
Oslo, Norway

Peace Magazine Jan-Feb 1999

Peace Magazine Jan-Feb 1999, page 5. Some rights reserved.

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