Artists appeal for campaign against war, not Afghans

Terror in America: Dissenters
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The Independent Online

The playwright Harold Pinter joins a group of actors, poets and artists today to protest against any military strikes against Afghanistan.

In a letter to The Independent, they warn that revenge action against countries said to be harbouring terrorists responsible for the attacks in New York and Washington would only create more victims and a new generation of potential suicide bombers. They call for a campaign against a war and say terrorism will be defeated only by improving the material wealth of the world's poorest countries.

Pinter, the author of 29 plays and a fierce opponent of Nato's bombing of Serbia, was joined by Corin Redgrave, his actress wife, Kika Markham, the painter Maggi Hambling, the playwright Bryony Lavery, the poet Jehane Markham and her actor husband, Roger Lloyd Pack.

The letter says: "A new crusade against Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries which are said to harbour terrorists will not rescue any of the victims of 11 September or make the cities of America and Europe any safer. It will only create thousands more victims.

"... Terrorism cannot be defeated by bombs and bullets. It cannot be prevented or foreseen by armies of secret intelligence. Terrorism is the language of hatred and despair. Out of the carnage and rubble of a new crusade will come new terrorists even more desperate and ruthless than before."

The letter says the victims of a new war would be the poor and homeless in Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya and Palestinian towns.