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Violence begets violence

Pacifists promote a peaceful path

By Joshua Lynch

jlynch@postbulletin.com

Violence, says Charles Butler with a solemn tone, begets violence.

That’s; why the retired United Methodist pastor from Rochester said he expected America’s; leaders to respond to the attacks of Sept. 11 the way they did —; by violently lashing out, issuing ultimatums and firing cruise missiles.

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"We; have ways of justifying ourselves," Butler said. "Terrorism; is what others do to us. But death is death, suffering is suffering, pain is pain."

Local and national peace advocates note alternatives to fighting have fallen by the wayside as President Bush conducts America’s; war on terrorism.

Art Kennel, a retired man who raises llamas on Rochester’s; south side, is one such advocate. He said the missiles and Marines heading into Afghanistan will do nothing to solve international conflicts in the long term.

"I; would say bend over backwards to negotiate," he said. "Settle; the differences in a friendly manner and address the root causes to whatever extent is possible."

Kennel and Butler are two of Rochester’s; relatively quiet and loosely-knit collection of pacifists —; men and women who are calling for a cease-fire in the war on terrorism. The real conflict, they say, is not being addressed.

"There; was this question asked after September 11: Why do they hate us so?" Butler said. "It’s; not an easy answer. But it’s; so vital that we understand why."

Butler said answers to such questions can come only through the exchange of words, not the exchange of gunfire. The proposal, however, is widely perceived as little more than a minority stance.

Nevertheless, peace advocates continue to espouse their beliefs, championing right over might. Because as the world becomes smaller, the need for peaceful co-existence is essential.

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"The; thing is, whether you recognize it or not, we impact others and others impact us," Butler said. "At; one time, isolationism might have had its place, but not today. We’re; interconnected. The sooner we see this, the better off we’ll; be."

Inside

•; Pacifists look for non-violent options in the search for lasting peace —; Page 5B

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