Architects Against War

Een aantal prominente architecten (waaronder Rem Koolhaas) heeft op uitnodiging van Charles Jencks en RIBA voorzitter Paul Hyett een petitie ondertekend waarin een mogelijke oorlog tegen Irak wordt veroordeeld. Gevraagd naar de redenen om als beroepsgroep en niet in het algemeen als verontruste burgers deze oproep te doen antwoordde Jencks in AJ dat: 'the profession has a crucial role to play in opposing the warmongers. In the contemporary world, professions have obligations as well as individuals. Architecture, as a profession particularly close to the environment and to people, should take a stand. You can protest on all sorts of levels. Unless the war seems to be completely legal, it will be seen as an act of terrorism. There is nothing like war, it is an irreversible step. … We will all have blood on our hands if this war goes ahead'

(bron: The Architects Journal, 23 jan 2003)

Hieronder de volledige tekst van de brief.

Architects Against War

We the undersigned believe that the case for war against Iraq has not been made, that it is immoral, and that it will very likely lead to an increase in international terrorism. As with other professionals and bodies directly concerned with the well-being of people and the environment, we feel that taking a moral stand at this moment is necessary. The American and British public has already declared its distaste for coercive pre-emption and unilateral action. Not to take a stand, as a profession, amounts to silent, complicity, while speaking up now in the present uncertainty may persuade leaders to pull back from the brink or, at the very least, oblige the Prime Minister to put the choice of War where it belongs: to the people and Parliament.

Our position rests on four main foundations. The case for a Just War cannot be convincingly made, the link of Saddam Hussein with al-Qaeda has not been established; a war against Iraq is likely to kill large numbers of civilians and intensify the great suffering there; and unilateral action by the US (with Britain's support) will undermine international law and set a precedent for pre-emption by other nations in places such as Chechnya, Palestine, Kashmir and Tibet.

It is possible to imagine circumstances where pre-emptive war could be justifiable in this age of mega-terrorism. But these must be exceptional and based on concrete evidence of an immediate and severe threat. Such a showing has not been made in relation to Iraq. A consequence of invasion by the USA and Britain is likely to be the very clash of civilisations sought by terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. Arab statesmen from all Muslim countries have said an invasion would be seen either in terms of a Christian crusader (President Bush's initial reaction to terrorism) or Western imperialism and the grab for oil. The goal of the terrorist is to make the nation-state itself adopt terrorist tactics, and thereby lose legitimacy in the eyes of the people. In the eyes of the Arab world, the USA and UK are perilously close to being regarded as rogue states who do not respect international law and, if they invade Iraq without just cause, many of their own citizens will so regard them.

Terrorism will have won the War on Terrorism.

Yours faithfully,

Charles Jencks, Architectural Historian and Designer

Paul Hyett, President RIBA

Lord Richard Rogers, Architect

Sir Terry Farrell, Architect

Professor William Alsop, Architect

Rick Mather, Architect

Paul Finch, Writer

Eva Jiricna, Architect

Mohsen Mostafavi, Chairman Architectural Association

Zaha Hadid, Architect

Rem Koolhaas, Architect

Sir Richard MacCormac, Architect and Past President RIBA

Ken Powell, Architectural Critic

Richard Murphy, Architect

Frank Gehry, Architect

George Ferguson, Architect