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  • Writer's pictureDavid Roberts UK

Archbishop of Canterbury talks about war (2007)

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

13 February 2019

I am currently working daily on re-building my War Poetry Website which I gradually built over a 20 year period. Amongst the poems I have found a number of prose pieces which don't really fit in with a poetry site. This is one of the prose items:

Archbishop of Canterbury, December 2007 Violence, Iraq, Britain, America, and the role of Christianity - Extracts from comments made by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, which were reported in the Muslim magazine , Emel, (issue 39, dated December 2007)

"Whenever people turn to violence what they do is temporarily release themselves from some sort of problem but they help no one else.” Speaking about Britain’s role in Iraq he said. “A lot of the pressure around the invasion of Iraq was ‘We’ve got to do something! Then we’ll feel better.’ That’s very dangerous.” With regard to the Iraq war he says he wants to “keep before government and others the great question of how you can actually contribute to a responsible civil society in a context where you’ve undermined most of the foundations on which that society can be built.” Referring to America he said, “We have only one global hegemonic power at the moment. It is not accumulating territory. It is trying to accumulate influence and control. That’s not working.” He describes this as “the worst of all worlds. It is one thing to take over a territory and then pour energy and resources into administering it and normalising it. It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on and other people will put things back together –Iraq for example.” He describes the role of Christianity as "revolutionary", desiring to bring about "a new creation where our relations to each other are no longer mutually suspicious or exclusive or competitive, but entirely shaped by giving and receiving – building one another up by a community of transformed persons, not just by a new legal system." November 2007

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