U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome Italy anti-war demonstration in Rome

Past Events

Solidarity with Bradley Manning
December 17, 2011

No to "war as usual"
March 19, 2010

Winter Soldier Europe
March 14, 2009

Palestinian Flags Flutter
Alongside Peace Banners

January 17, 2009

Close Guantanamo Now!
January 17, 1009

10-Day Vigil for Gaza
January 8-18, 2009

Supporting La'Onf
October 29, 2008

Free the Cuban 5
Sept 13, 2008

Cheney in Chains
Sept 8, 2008

No Bush, No War
June 11, 2008

May Day ILWU Solidarity Action
May 1, 2008

War Tax Day
April 15, 2008

World Social Forum Global Day of Action
Jan 26, 2008

Shut Down Guantánamo Now!
Jan 11, 2008

No U.S. Military Base in Vicenza
Dec 15, 2007

Meeting Iranian Artists
Dec 05, 2007

End the War in Iraq, No War on Iran
Oct 27, 2007

Report on Final Days of No Dal Molin Festival in Vicenza, Italy
Sept 16, 2007

Camping for Peace in Vicenza, Italy
Sept 12, 2007

Impeach Them Both +
Judiciary Fax Blast

July 23, 2007

I-M-P-E-A-C-H !
April 28, 2007

4th Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq
March 20, 2007

No Dal Molin, Vicenza, Italy
Feb 17, 2007

Congress: Act Now to End the War
Jan 27, 2007

No Military Bases, Vicenza, Italy
Dec 2, 2006

No War, No Cluster Bombs
Sept 23, 2006

Protest Calling for Cease-fire in Lebanon
July 26, 2006

Military Spending
Bean Poll

July 18, 2006

Stop the Escalation
in the Middle East

July 17, 2006

Refusing to Kill
July 06, 2006

Shailja Patel:
Poetry in Times
of War

July 05, 2006

Troops Home Fast
July 04, 2006

Italian Vote on
Military Missions

June 27, 2006

Peace Parade
June 02, 2006

Michael Uhl of
Veterans for Peace

April 29, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Hidden in Plain Sight

April 26, 2006

War Tax Day
April 15, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Hotel Palestine: Killing the Witness

April 12, 2006

National Anti-war Protest in Rome
March 18, 2006

Soldiers Against War
March 18, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Aristide and the Endless Revolution

March 15, 2006

Women (and men!) Say No To War
March 8, 2006

An Eyewitness Account of Post Katrina New Orleans
March 2, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Life and Debt

February 09, 2006

Vote to Renew Italian Mission in Iraq
February 09, 2006

Cindy Sheehan
February 06, 2006

NBC Today
Show Blitz

February 06, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
The Revolution Will
Not Be Televised

January 26, 2006

Cindy Sheehan
In Rome

January 18, 2006

Crimes & Lies:
with Dave Lindorff
and Maurizio Torrealta

January 13, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Peace Propaganda and
the Promised Land

January 12, 2006

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
The Oil Factor

December 15, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Plan Colombia

December 01, 2005

Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre
November 30, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series

November 17, 2005

Protest at U.S. Embassy: White Phosphorus in Fallujah
November 14, 2005

Control Arms Petition
at Piazza Chiesa Nuova

November 12, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Invisible Ballots

November 10, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
The Corporation

October 27, 2005

Movie Night:
Viva Zapatero

October 25, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Hidden Wars of
Desert Storm

October 13, 2005

Anti-war rally
at U.S. Embassy

Sept 24, 2005

USC4P&J Social
at the Beehive

June 22, 2005

Die-In with
Articolo 11
at Palazzo Chigi

June 21, 2005

Collecting Photos
with Control Arms

June 18, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series

June 16, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series

June 09, 2005

Eyes Wide Open
Film Series
Weapons of
Mass Deception

May 19, 2005

Vigil at Palazzo Chigi with Articolo 11
May 05, 2005

Vigil at Palazzo Chigi with Articolo 11
April 28, 2005

Vigil at Palazzo Chigi with Articolo 11
April 21, 2005

International Day of Protest
March 19, 2005

March 18, 2006 Rome, Italy
Soldiers Against War

Veterans and Military Family Representatives Speak Out Against War

On the morning of March 18, 2006, just hours before the national anti-war demonstration in Rome, representatives of veterans' groups as well as military families spoke out against war at an event organized by Un ponte per… Representatives from the U.S., the U.K., Israel, Palestine and Italy told their stories to a full house at the Rome Province.

Phil Rushton, author of the book "Riportiamoli a casa", who served as moderator, introduced the session and explained the reasons behind it, including the desire to build and expand similar movements in Italy.

The first speaker was 24 year old Joseph Wood, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War who served 7 month tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He joined the army in 2000 at the age of 18, while still in high school because he needed money for college. But by his own admission, that wasn't the only reason he joined. He also had a desire to serve his country.

Joseph hated every minute of being in the military, though now looks back on it as an important part of his life. He left for Afghanistan without knowing much about politics or U.S. foreign policy. He saw the effects first hand, though still believed the military action in Afghanistan was necessary.

After returning home he then left for Iraq, Fallujah to be exact, in August of 2003, where he would remain until March 2004. In Fallujah, his life changed. He met two documentary filmmakers, Garrett Scott and Ian Olds, who were making a film, Occupation: Dreamland, on soldiers at the front as well as journalist Christian Parenti of The Nation. Joseph was one of the soldiers in the film, and this experience of expressing his opinions and ideas on camera helped clear up the confusion that had reigned in his mind.

Joseph considers himself very lucky. He was given a support role during his tour in Iraq, and therefore less dangerous, he got out before the April attacks on Fallujah and he met the right people, without whom "I probably wouldn't be here today."

He has therefore decided to put his experience to use, giving a voice to the soldiers still in Iraq who don't want to be there, and "have a lot to say but can't speak for themselves. We have to be their voice."

The next two speakers were Ory Yossur of Israel and Raed Al-Haddar of Palestine, both members of the newly formed organization Combatants for Peace. The organization was created jointly by Israeli soldiers and Palestinians who have decided to put down their weapons and work together for peace.

Ory explained the importance of refusing to serve in the military in Israel, where there is compulsory service from the age of 18 to 21. Afterwards, in theory, there is a requirement to serve in the reserves, however in practice it is very easy to get out of this service. Therefore, those who refuse to serve rather than simply finding a way out are doing so to take a stand against the violence. Both Ory and Raed spoke of the process through which they realized that the violence would never end if they continued on the same path, that Palestine would never become a state and Israel would never be safe. They both found the answer in working together for peace.

The organization Combatants for Peace will have a major media launch on April 10, 2006.

Next we heard from Lou Plummer of Military Families Speak Out, an organization comprising some 3000 families of military personnel. Lou lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina just outside Fort Bragg, a major military base and of late a location for anti-war demonstrations. Lou had been actively protesting the war when his son Drew, who was serving in the navy, came home on leave before shipping out to Iraq. The two hadn't seen each other for 6 months; so Drew agreed to go to a scheduled anti-war protest, more to spend time with his father than participate in the protest.

During the march he was interviewed by a journalist from Associated Press. When asked about his thoughts on the war he replied that it was probably about money and power, but he had signed up to serve his country and planned to fulfill that obligation. When word made it to his commanders, Drew was charged with disloyalty and demoted. It was then that he realized something wasn't quite right with the military. He also spent some time in jail for refusing to serve. Drew completed his service and left the military one year ago.

As Lou explained, Military Families Speak Out serves to give a platform for those who wish to take as stand as well as a support network for spouses and parents, the latter being the most willing to speak out. They work to influence public opinion through speaking engagements and op-ed pieces in newspapers. Lou, himself a veteran and from a family of veterans going back two generations, also works with Veterans for Peace.

The last speaker was Yonathan Shapira, an Israeli helicopter pilot and one of the first signatories of the famous Israeli Pilots' Letter, refusing to "take part in the attacks of the air force in concentrations of civilian population." For the most part Yonathan flew rescue missions evacuating Israeli soldiers and civilian victims as well as transport of commando forces. He apologized for his English (which was actually quite good), but said that he had finally learned to say "No."

As with the other speakers, it was a long process for Yonathan to arrive at initiating and signing the letter. He began to see not only the policy of assassination missions as illegal and immoral as well as ineffective at fighting terrorism, but also started to question to occupation policies of the Israeli government. When the decision was decided to go public with the letter, the pilots all made it very clear that they were willing to risk their lives to serve their country but refused the idea that all Palestinians are guilty until proven innocent and that bombing from high above would solve the problem.

All of the speakers were excellent communicators, each speaking directly from the heart and telling their stories. They had all taken risks and turned dramatic situations around in order to help others. It was an excellent opportunity for members of the peace movement and the public at large to get to know the soldiers and their families.

Stephanie Westbrook

Ongoing/Future Events

Our Eyes Wide Open Film Series is suspended; for further information click here.

Upshot of our Nov. 9th group discussion on current politics:

It wasn't the Russians that got us Trump. Or Comey. Or even the massive GOP election fraud. It was the DNC.*
*Dem National Committee

To learn how to stop the DNC from delivering us another Trump, read Autopsy: the Democratic Party in Crisis.

Photo of a school in Yemen bombed by Saudi Arabian jets supplied by the U.S. and fueled in the air by the U.S. Air Force. Tell Trump to STOP THIS CARNAGE, not fuel it! Click here.

Also participate in the CodePink email and/or phone initiative:

Click here to sign a petition, to put an end to the sanctions against Syria - their only effect is to take a terrible toll on the population, causing them to migrate! And click here to see the video by the Italian Committee to lift sanctions against Syria.

Iraq Deaths Estimator
Did someone tell you that U.S. military intervention in Iraq was over? Not true: we're at it again. This time the pretext to drop bombs is "curbing ISIS" (which was created by the U.S. in the first place, to overturn al-Malaki in Iraq and then Assad in Syria, and is now out of hand. Like what happened to "our" creature al Qaeda in Afghanistan). And the death toll continues to rise...
Write your senators and tell them: "Enough! U.S. out!! Iraq has shown it can curb ISIS by itself!"

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Copyright © 2006 Stephanie Westbrook  All rights reserved
U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome, Italy