21 November 2001 why the attacks of 11 September?

a world conference on the prevention of terrorism

an open letter to:

The Right Honourable Chris Smith,
Member of Parliament for Islington, London.

dear Chris Smith,

I am one of your constituents whom you have much helped in the past (to get dental surgery done via the National Health Service). Thank you.

I am writing now to let you know that I oppose the bombing of Afghanistan and wish that British policy would change from aggressive to peaceful action.

For instance, instead of attacking the Taliban, hold a televised world conference on 'why the attacks of 11 September?' in which the Taliban, and Islamic people generally, and all other people, are invited to take part - either by attendance or by phone-in and phone voting.

a world conference on the prevention of terrorism

The aims of the conference would be:

1. to find out what really causes people to give their lives in such seemingly callous attacks

2. to find out what political or economic or cultural actions would actually reduce the chances of further attacks of this kind the world over

3. and then to openly and publicly negotiate with the attackers the terms for the ending of such attacks

4. to open up world politics to direct action on the media as an alternative to bombing - in a new political climate created by the conference itself

In keeping with the public nature of this suggestion I am publishing this letter in my digital diary at http://www.publicwriting.net/2.2/digital_diary_21nov01.html
(together with some notes addressed to everyone).

I hope you will give some time to this suggestion - I know it does not fit with the existing priorities but if no one breaks out of these there may be no hope!

Your attention to this matter could be an historic action that changes the political climate - for the better!

good wishes

john chris jones

To others who may read this letter:

It may well be that members of parliaments, as presently constituted, are not free to react openly to a suggestion like this.

It may be that the use of the media as an alternative to bombing and other forms of violence is not possible alongside centralised governments composed of rulers and representatives.

It may be that those old forms have to fall apart before such new forms can be.

In which case I address this letter not only to my representative, Chris Smith (whom I respect, and who has the first chance to reply), but also to everyone else, terrorist or terrorised, governing or governed, to all of us as people, as a precious generation that, in this destructive splitting apart of what was called government and what was called protest against it, may be ready to think some new thoughts and to act in new ways...

For myself - I may be able to explore the idea of a tv conference on the prevention of terrorism (and perhaps other such conferences on the solving of other world problems) in fictional form, in the future diary.

Others reading this, and liking it, may perhaps have the time and the ability to enact it in the present - with all the hopes and the risks and the difficulties that that may entail...

'When misfortune has spent itself, better times return.'

from The I Ching, or book of changes, the Wilhelm/Bayes translation, Bollingen Series XIX, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, twenty-seventh printing, 1997, page 96.

digital diary dates