Reports from Palestine
Earth Day in Israel: Apartheid Showing through the Greenwash
Occupied Washington, DC
AIPAC: Telling a Whopper
Questioning Our Special Relationship with Israel
My Memories of Fort Hood
Italy's Fallen Soldiers
Yes We Camp
Absurdity is the Norm in the Gaza Strip
U.S. Military Base in Vicenza, Italy Gets Final Approval
Mat and Yvonne Say: No Dal Molin
Anti War March in DC
March for Palestine
Letters from Camp Casey
Don't Iraq Iran
Italian National Assembly of the Anti-War Movement
International Peace Conference in London
Note: Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of USC4P&J
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Don't Iraq Iran
As I set off for Washington, DC to be present at my son's graduation, I did not expect that I would be participating in either the presenting of a petition to the White House stating our opposition to the bombing of Iran or a conference launching the beginning of a “spiritual progressives” movement.
Let me share with you the events of my last two days here in DC.
On Wednesday, May 17th, a conference with 1200 participants from many faith backgrounds, opened at All Souls Unitarian Universalists Society to create, “The Network of Spiritual Progressives.” The plenary speaker was Rabbi Michael Lerner the author of the book, “The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right.” The purpose of this new movement is “to challenge the misuse of God by the Right to justify militarism, the dismantling of social justice and ecological programs, and assaults on the rights of women and gays and lesbians. Also to challenge the anti-spiritual biases in some parts of the Left.” The purpose is to create a new ethos of justice and generosity to replace the dominant one of selfishness and materialism. Rabbi Lerner's models for this movement are “spiritual” social change agents like the Reverend Martin Luther King. Jr., Desmond Tutu, Bishop Romero, Mohandas Gandhi, Dom Helder Camara, Father Roy Bourgeois, to name a few.
On Thursday morning, May 18 th, 400 delegates met with a Congressional office to deliver the new proposed, “Covenant with America.” What is being proposed for foreign policy is, “ a Global Marshall Plan to use 5% of the GDP of the advanced industrial countries societies-each year for the next twenty years-to end poverty, hunger, homelessness, inadequate education and health care.” It was stated that these underlying causes is what is “breeding terrorism” and would make us and the rest of the world a safer place, instead of sinking trillions of dollars into wars and strategies of world domination that can never work and are immoral.
During Thursday afternoon from 1-4 pm, there was a large gathering in Lafayette Park (with the White House as a backdrop) that focused specifically on ending the war in Iraq and bringing home the troops and to stop military aggression against Iran. For some, it was a pray-in for peace with talks given by several religious leaders from Christian, Jewish, and Islamic sects. Reverend Jim Winkler, the chair of the United Methodist conference in the U.S., which is the faith community of the Bush family, stated very forcefully that what President Bush's policies are doing, domestically and internationally, is NOT in keeping with his chosen faith. Singer and songwriter, Holly Near then led the crowd in a rousing rendition of “Down By the Riverside.”
When Cindy Sheehan joined the gathering, there was much flurry of photographers. Slowly the sea of pink t-shirts, and umbrellas grew. Both Cindy and Medea Benjamin of CodePink spoke to the crowd. Medea talked about the decision by one of their members to start a “hunger strike” on July 4th. In the crowd on Mother's Day was Dick Gregory, longtime political activist and presidential candidate, who also pledged to join the, “Withdraw the Troops Fast.” This was my third time hearing Cindy Sheehan speak and she seems as determined as ever to end the madness by our government and military.
Other groups who were present with banners, signs and distributing flyers to those gathered were: The World Can't Wait organization-Drive Out the Bush Regime; the Friends Committee/Quakers; School of the Americas Watch; Pace e Bene (Franciscans); Global Exchange. The people gathered were asked to take The Declaration of Peace Pledge, which calls on the Bush administration to immediately withdraw all US troops from Iraq with no future redeployments before September 21 st, 2006, International Peace day. In addition, people were encouraged to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience if this plan for a comprehensive withdrawal is not activated by September 21 st, 2006.
David Swanson from After Downing Street spoke about their efforts to collect signatures to stop the attack on Iran. Following the rally, about 100 people joined him and Cindy Sheehan/Codepink to deliver the petition of 43,000 signatures to the White House. At the gates, security would not receive the papers and so we pushed them through the fence while alternately shouting, “Don't Iraq Iran,” and singing, “Give Peace a Chance.”
A contingent of about 50 people proceeded to Donald Rumsfeld's home, led by Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst, who recently challenged Rumsfeld about his reasons for going to war on Iraq.
Being part of these activities has reinforced for me the need to end our military aggression, to impeach our current leadership and to focus our resources (human and material) on addressing the basic needs of the world's population.
In justice and peace,
May 23rd, 7:30pm,
in Rome, piazza Bologna
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Click below to see the call to help us choose the films for our film series 2017
and our next film:
Copyright © 2006 Kathy Ford All rights reserved.
U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome, Italy