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Raphael-Leff, J. (1990). International Pact (Parents and Children Together) for Peaceful Negotiations by the United Nations. Brit. J. Psychother., 7(2):205.

(1990). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 7(2):205

International Pact (Parents and Children Together) for Peaceful Negotiations by the United Nations

Joan Raphael-Leff

As health-care professionals, I believe we have a duty to speak out against a policy which assumes war to be a viable solution to political conflict. I find myself in the unusual position of speaking for many hundreds of people who, over the past months since I began writing letters and articles in newspapers here and abroad, have responded by signing a pact supporting the United Nations in upholding peaceful negotiations rather than military efforts in the Gulf.

Inevitably, I've drawn flack accusing me of political naivete. My answer is that it is naive to believe modern war can be brief or successful. Those of us like myself, who have been to war know that unlike playground or fantasy battles, effects persist long beyond military action. Ordinary people are killed, mourned, maimed or displaced and every individual participant and world witness is irreversibly changed for the worse. Furthermore, in the present climate, war which arose to corner a desperate Saddam Hussein, would inevitably result in vast destruction of life and devastation of regions far beyond the local Persian Gulf.

In opposing war we can unite around our basic common denominator- that of being parents and/or children of parents. Acknowledgement that we all share similar early experiences and the same basic needs (for reciprocal recognition, creature comforts and personal space) can form a bridge across political, ethnic, religious and geographical divides. Indeed, supporters of PACT for peaceful negotiations have come from places as diverse in ideology as England, Sweden, Germany and Israel.

Force is never the only option and no single leader is infallible. We must exercise our human capacity to talk - use thought and words rather than resorting to action, and have a say in our fate rather than complying in being passive bystanders. I believe our hope for peace lies politically in reenforcing the UN as an international government in which we all have representative and consultant status, and as individuals, caring enough to become a worldwide guardian movement beyond this immediate crisis. Those who wish to express their agreement can sign a PACT of the form:

I support INTERNATIONAL PACT (Parents and Children Together) for PEACEFUL NEGOTIATIONS BY THE UNITED NATIONS ________ (Print name & Address) and send it to PACT, c/o UN Assoc. 3 Whitehall Court, London SW1 2EL or to their local United Nations Association abroad.

Joan Raphael-Leff

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