This is the message from Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg to the Stop The War Coalition on 16th May 2004.
It will be read out to the Emergency Demonstration on Saturday 22nd May.
For further information please contact either Andrew Burgin on 07939 242 229 or Ghada Razuki on 07958 450 867
To: The Stop the War Coalition
When I read your generous offer to come speak at the Coalition Rally, a heart that was overflowing with sorrow knew that it was being offered a receptacle to receive
some of that overflow. People who know me, ask me how I can stand in front of a TV camera and know that I am speaking to the people of the world. Seven weeks ago I would not have been able to do so. But seven weeks ago there was no need to do so, and the world was not flooding me with mail, email and phone calls and pouring into me the strength I needed.
When I eulogized my son, Nick, I said that he was my teacher and my hero. He was the kindest, gentlest, man I know, no, the kindest, gentlest human being I know or have ever known. Did you know that he quit the Boy Scouts of America because they wanted to teach him to fire a hand gun, ironically, at Dover Air Force Base the place that Nick was returned to? Nick too poured into me the strength I needed and still need to tell the world about him and to send out his message of peace and brotherhood with the family he shared made up of the people of the world.
People ask me why I focus on putting the blame for my son’s tragic and atrocious end on the Bush Administration. They ask: “Don’t you blame the five men who killed him?” I have answered that I blame them no more or less than the
Bush Administration, but I am wrong: I am sure, knowing my son, that somewhere during their association with him these men became aware of what an extraordinary man my son was. I take comfort in the fact that when they did the awful thing they did, they weren’t quite as in to it as they might have been. I am sure that they came to admire him. I am sure that the one who wielded the knife felt Nick’s breath upon his hand and knew that he had a real human being there. I am sure that the others looked into my son’s eyes and got at least just a glimmer of what the rest of the world sees. And I am sure that these murderers, for just a brief moment did not like what they were doing.
But George Bush never looked into my son’s eyes. George Bush doesn’t know my son, Nick. And he is the worse for it. George Bush, though a father himself cannot feel my pain nor that of my family or the world who grieve for Nick, because he is a
policy maker and he doesn’t have to bear the consequences of his acts. George Bush can see neither the heart of Nicholas nor the American People yet alone the people his policies are killing daily. Donald Rumsfeld said that he took the responsibility for the sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners. How could he take that responsibility when there was no consequence. Nick took the consequences of the policies both stated and given with a wink and a nod by the Bush administration. And I can’t stand even more than those murderers who took my son’s life, those who sit and make policies to end lives and break the lives of the still living.
Nick was not in the military, but he was a soldier. He had the discipline and dedication of a soldier. But Nick Berg was a soldier of peace in Iraq to help the people without any expectation of personal gain. The trouble was he was only one man, but through his death he has become many. The spirit, the truly unselfish spirit of giving your all to do what you know in your own heart is right even when you know it may
be dangerous, this spirit has spread among the people who knew Nick, and that group has spread and is spreading all over the world even as I write these words For all of
the soldiers and family of soldiers in Iraq on either side who believe they were in Iraq working for peace, I say: Nick is your brother. Nick was there to help win the peace
not only by helping to rebuild what was torn down, but by spreading his message of peace and love.
So what were we to do when we in America were attacked on September 11, that infamous day? I say we should have done then what we never did before: Stop speaking to the people we labeled our enemies and start listening to them. Stop giving
preconditions to our peaceful coexistence on this small planet, and start honoring and respecting every human’s need to live free and autonomously, to truly respect the sovereignty of every state whether it be Israel, or Palestine, or Iraq. To stop making up rules by which others must live and then separate rules for ourselves.
We all know now that the controls for the weapons of mass destruction are in the White House. And George Bush has used a few of those weapons on the world. His ineffective leadership is a weapon of mass destruction and it has allowed a chain reaction of events that lead to the unlawful detention of my son. Yes it was the US government under whose authority my son was held. No one believes the Iraqi Police
control the American FBI and Military, Mr. Bush. That detention immersed my son in a world of escalated violence which were it not for his detention would have had him
in my arms again. That detention held him in Iraq not only until the atrocities that lead to the siege of Fallujah, but to the revelation of the atrocities committed in the jails in
Iraq in retaliation for which my son’s wonderful life was put to and end.
My son’s life was put to an end, but his work still goes on. Where there was one peacemaker before I now see and have heard from thousands of peacemakers. And for every one of them there are thousands more who can’t find the words but feel the same way. Nick Berg was a man who acted on his beliefs. We the people of this world now need to act on our beliefs. We need to let the evildoers on both sides of the
Atlantic know that we are fed up with war. We are fed up with the killing and bombing and maiming of innocent people. We are fed up with the lies from our government about Nick’s detention and we are fed up with the lies from our government about the reasons for this war. Yes, we are fed up with the suicide bombers, and with the failure of the Israelis and Palestinians to find a way to stop killing each other. We are fed up with negotiations and peace conferences that are
entered into on both sides with preset conditions that preclude the outcome of peace. We want world peace now!!!
What is it, I have to ask, that our leaders and the leaders of the world are afraid they will lose that is any more valuable than PEACE? Many people have offered to pray
for Nick and my family. I appreciate their thoughts, but I ask them to include in their prayers a prayer for peace. I ask them to do more than pray. I ask them to demand
PEACE NOW! from the politicians and leaders in the white house and in the state houses across the world and in the mountain camps where they may hide. Let the politicians know that you want PEACE NOW! And let them know that if you don’t
get it, they aren’t going to work for you as their leaders any more. DEMAND PEACE
NOW! DEMAND PEACE NOW! PEACE NOW! PEACE NOW! PEACE NOW!