I am deeply troubled by this crisis which threatens to further divide and polarise people. It is bound to make our world a much more dangerous place.
No one wins a war: wars yield nothing but devastation, tragedy and deep smouldering hatred. Nor can a war resolve a problem conclusively. Afghanistan is a recent case in point. Poor Mr. Karzai has to depend on the US for his safety. It would be tragic if we, in the West, foolishly presumed that war is an easy option. It is never that.
I feel a kind of despair when I see the incredible might of the warmongers, the sophistication of their propaganda machine and their unwillingness to listen to reason. But, equally, I am encouraged by the extent of anti-war feeling in Britain. Despite the propaganda there is very little public support for this action. My faith in the wisdom of ordinary people is restored when I see the massive block of protest and resistance. It includes people from every faith, every race, every community, and of every political hue.
I have not as yet met anyone in real life, white, black or Asian, left, right, or centre, who actually wants this war. If our government here blatantly disregards public opinion and chooses to participate in the action, or even to bless it, it will be a real travesty of the spirit of democracy.
Originally published as part of a debate on 12 January 2003 Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. 1.