A Message to Members and Supporters of Amnesty International from Bill
Schulz, Executive Director of AIUSA

Sometimes death comes in the dark, in the dead of night.  But not this
time.  This time the day could not have been brighter or more beautiful.

Sometimes death comes when we are by ourselves.  But not this time.  This
time it came to those who were surrounded by friends and colleagues.

Sometimes death comes on a battlefield or in a prison cell.  But not this
time.  This time it came in commercial airplanes and pleasant office
buildings.

And sometimes death comes after a long struggle and much anticipation.    But
not this time.    This time it came in an instant.  And it appears to have
swept in its wake family members of our staff and volunteers, friends of
members of our Board and doubtless a good many Amnesty International
members themselves.

Now that it has, you and I have work to do.  Not the kind of work that
sorts through rubble or loads up body bags, thank God.    Those who do that
work deserve a thousand tears of gratitude.  Our work is of a different
order but just as important nonetheless.  The work of anger, to be sure,
but an anger tempered by wisdom.  The work of grieving, absolutely, but a
grieving that pays homage to suffering.  And the work of justice, no
question about it, but a justice of which every one of us can be proud.

To get to grieving, we must go through anger.  And to get to justice, we
must go through grieving.  Because, as the theologian Sam Keen so
eloquently put it, "Every day we are not mourning is a day we will be
taking vengeance" and vengeance is different from justice.

Those who died on September 11 represent the best that is in us as human
beings, as citizens and as a people.  The best that is in us knows that
individuals are responsible for this crime -- not anonymous masses of
people. The best that is in us knows that the guilty deserve to be punished
-- not those who share their names or their language, their skin color or
their religion.  It knows that blind hatred corrupts the hater.  It knows
that the greatest power evil has is to entice the innocent to mimic its
practices.  It knows that every action has unintended consequences.  It
knows that the truly strong never forget that in the heart of every
stranger lurks a reflection of our own.

Those who died on September 11 represent the best that is in us, the
calling of our highest selves.    We owe them anger; we owe them grieving; we
owe them justice.  But everything that we do now must reflect the best, not
the lowest, of our humanity.  We pay those precious souls their rightful
tribute only by leveling a wise justice, only by exhibiting a tender
righteousness.    We pay them tribute only by understanding what brought
about their deaths and hewing to those principles that call us to a more
abundant life.

Toward those ends, Amnesty International will mourn the victims; we will
speak out against impunity for the perpetrators; we will demand that those
innocent of crimes be protected and respected; and we will insist that
justice is not justice if it fails to adhere to international human rights
norms.    Both the International Secretariat of Amnesty International and we
in AIUSA have appointed Crisis Response Teams to work together in a
coordinated, unified response to this tragedy and its aftermath.  We will
be determining as soon as possible how best our membership can help advance
our common goals.

For death has come in an instant.  And now there is work to be done.
 

Bill Schulz,
Executive Director
AIUSA

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