Honored guests and friends in the peace movement:
As I listened to Mr. Senji Yamaguchi the other day, and to Hideko Matsuya and Shimohira-san last night, I had mixed feelings of sadness, anger, gratitude and hope. Sadness - because no one or nothing can ever bring back the light and the future that was taken away from them on these fateful days. Anger - because the perpetrator of that heinous crime remains unrepentant until today and continues to pursue nuclear weapons development. Gratitude - for it is their stories that will continue to energize us when the sailing gets rough. It is their stories that will continue to inspire us to remain faithful to our commitment to peace and justice. Hope - because the younger generation have listened and are responding with enthusiasm, creativity and unwavering commitment.
It is always with a sense of hope and a source of inspiration to witness the emergence of strong civil society movements in many parts of the world in varying degrees of militancy, but always with a strong sense of commitment to achieve their goals through peaceful and non-violent means. The Philippines is a model of this phenomenon to which scholars have attributed the peoplefs non-violent uprisings of EDSA 1 (1986) and recently, EDSA 2 (2001). This process is marked by the emergence of a wide array of voluntary associations of citizens which have grown and created networks of their own, that make them key players as well in the unfolding drama in local and international relations that we witness in the course of our work. Drawn from various social classes, representing diverse social movements across nations, personified by the nongovernmental organizations and grassroots peoplefs movements that has given life and nurtured different struggles and campaigns.
These are the groups that resist trade policies that cater to the profit-oriented transnational business at the expense of the poor and the marginalized communities. These are the movements that challenge authoritarian regimes. These are the citizens who organize barricades to stop the plunder of their forests or to prevent bulldozers from reducing farms and communities into playgrounds of the rich, the powerful and the foreign intruder. These are the men and women and children who will put their lives in the line of fire to stop a foreign power such as the United States from continuously transforming their lands and seas into virtual war zones and minefield of toxic and hazardous chemicals making their lands and seas unfit for human habitation. These are the people who rage at the rape and abuse of their women and children and demand that justice be rendered.
The campaign for nuclear abolition, as well as the rejection of U.S. military presence and its impact on our communities and environments should be part of the peoplesf movement for justice, freedom, and peace.
Activists and peace workers like you and me will continue to be energized and inspired by all the powerful expressions of rage, hope for justice, and the promise of a continuing struggle until victory is attained.
I leave you today with a renewed commitment for continued solidarity in your struggles.