FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Do Something Good

by KATHY KELLY

This past Tuesday, in Fairbanks, Alaska, nine people entered the office of Senator Ted Stevens to deliver their “emphatic request” that the Senator vote against supplemental funding for the war and then began reading the names of Iraqis and U.S. people who had died because of this war. They separated the names of U.S. troops by age. When ordered to leave, they were only half way through the commemoration of the twenty-one year old U.S. troops who died in Iraq. They began by reading the ages of the younger troops.

Seth Warncke, a University student, was issued a citation; Rob Mulford and Don Muller were taken to the Fairbanks Correctional Unit. They were released after being in jail for 23 hours.

Senator Steven’s staff worker in the Fairbanks office assured the nine peace activists occupying the office that their efforts were worthless. “The Senator’s aide told us that our action wouldn’t do any good,” said Rob Mulford, “but when we were locked up I knew we’d done something good because a woman jailer spotted us in our cells and she said, ‘Oh! You guys are my heroes!'”

On a more somber note, Rob Mulford and Don Muller told me of a fellow prisoner whom they encountered in the correctional center. He was an Iraq war veteran, age 21. The guards were kind to him, but the young man was very disturbed and ended up fracturing his hand and fist, pounding a wall. After falling asleep, he repeatedly woke up, shouting and cursing, “You killed my friend, – I’m gonna’ kill you,” and intermittently sobbing, “It doesn’t change. It never goes away.”

Rob Mulford, himself an Air Force veteran and the local contact for Veterans for Peace, was watching from his cell.

Rob and Don are two of the several dozen people who’ve been arrested in the first two weeks of “the Occupation Project,” a campaign to end U.S. funding for war in Iraq.

The same day, in Chicago, four women were kneeling in front of the Federal Building, chanting the names of Iraqis and U.S. service people killed in Iraq. Their statement read: “We are a poet, a doctor, a pregnant woman, and a grandmother. We are risking arrest today to publicly protest Senator Durbin’s refusal to vote NO on the president’s $93 Billion dollar supplemental appropriations request to continue funding the immoral and unjust war in Iraq. If Senator Durbin is against this war, he must stop funding it. We will occupy the lobby of the federal building until removed because we strongly believe that this war must end.” These women will go to trial insisting that Senators Durbin and Obama have “the power of the purse,” –the power to end this war not by submitting resolutions almost certain to be vetoed by President Bush, but rather by simply refusing to fund it.

The Occupation Project is developing, nationally, into a sustained campaign.

We welcome participation, (see www.vcnv.org ), and encourage further nonviolent efforts to resist appropriations for military action in Iraq, or against Iran, other than funds to withdraw troops from Iraq. It’s wrong to fund killing and destruction in another country because people in that country oppose the Bush administration’s political agenda for their country. What is more, U.S. soldiers will be killed in carrying out this agenda, and thousands of Iraqi civilians will be killed in “collateral damage,” people who may or may not be opposed to the Bush administration’s political agenda for their country.

The following day, Ash Wednesday, 25 Chicagoans held an ecumenical prayer service and then attempted to deliver a letter to Senators Durbin and Obama. Many in the group were clergy, vested in their clerical garb. They had gathered to pray for forgiveness, as a nation, for the times we all had not spoken out against the war. They wanted to assure that the Senators of Illinois heard their remorse and understood their opposition to the war and its ongoing funding.

But when they approached the Federal Building, security officials quickly locked all entrances to the Federal Building. A member of Senator Obama’s office staff told the assembled group that all staff members were in a meeting, but that they definitely wanted to receive their letter. Unfortunately, security officials at the Federal Building said nobody could enter. When a high school student who had joined the prayer service placed a cell phone call to Senator Durbin’s office, he was disappointed that the staff member there hung up the phone after a very brief exchange. Eventually, three of Senator Durbin’s staff members emerged from the Federal Building to receive the letter.

The constitution insists that congress shall make no law abridging the right of people to assemble peaceably for redress of grievance. We bear a terrible grievance as we exercise our responsibility to end the “war of choice” waged by the Bush administration.

As the Occupation Project develops, we carry, shoulder to shoulder, the responsibility that comes with hearing an agonized cry, epitomizing the horror of the consequences of war: “It doesn’t go away.”

Until the U.S. stops funding war in Iraq, we cannot go away either.

KATHY KELLY is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and author of Other Lands Have Dreams. She can be reached at: kathy@vcnv.org

 

More articles by:

KATHY KELLY co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence and has worked closely with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. She is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams published by CounterPunch / AK Press. She can be reached at: Kathy@vcnv.org 

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
July 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
Collateral Damage: U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies
Jim Kavanagh
Donald the Destroyer: Assessing the Trump Effect
Carl Boggs
The Other Side of War: Fury and Repression in St. Louis
Jeffrey St. Clair
Scout’s Honor
Eva Golinger
There is Still Time to Prevent Civil War in Venezuela
Anthony DiMaggio
“A Better Deal”? Dissecting the Democrats’ “Populist” Turn in Rhetoric and Reality
Joshua Frank
The Fire Beneath: Los Angeles is Sitting on a Ticking Time Bomb
Myles Hoenig
It Wasn’t Russia, It was the Green Party!
Conn Hallinan
Middle East Chaos
Robert Hunziker
Plastic Chokes the Seas
Andrew Levine
Enter Scaramouche, Stage Right
Brian Cloughley
Time to Get Out of Afghanistan
Gary Leupp
The Trump Revolution Devouring Its Own Children
John Wright
Trump’s Hezbollah Gaff Was No Gaff
Alan Jones
“Finland Station” and the Struggle for Socialism Today
Eric Draitser
Enough Nonsense! The Left Does Not Collaborate with Fascists
Vijay Prashad
The FBI vs. Comrade Charlie Chaplin
Ishmael Reed
Trump’s Irish-Americans “Without Hearts”
Jane LaTour
Danger! Men Working
Mumia Abu-Jamal
James Baldwin: Word Warrior
Yoav Litvin
The Unbearable Lightness of Counterrevolution
Charles Derber
Universalizing Resistance: How to Trump Trump
Chris Gilbert
Strange Fruit: Venezuela has an Opposition that Nobody Should Support
Gregory Barrett
Two Johnstones and a Leftish Dilemma: Nationalism vs. Neoliberalism
Joseph Natoli
Choosing the ‘Arteries that Make Money’
CJ Hopkins
Intersectionalist Internet Blues
Pepe Escobar
China and India Torn Between Silk Roads and Cocked Guns
Ralph Nader
Can the World Defend Itself From Omnicide?
Howard Lisnoff
Agape While Waltzing at the Precipice
Musa Al-Gharbi
Want to Shake Up Status Quo? Account for the Default Effect
Angela Kim
North Korean Policy Must Focus on Engagement Not Coercion
Hiroyuki Hamada
Delivering Art in the Empire
David Macaray
Talking Union
Binoy Kampmark
Refugee Conundrums: Resettlement, the UN and the US-Australia Deal
Robert Koehler
Opening Gitmo to the World
David Jaffee
No Safe Space for Student X
Thomas Knapp
The State is at War — With the Future
David Swanson
What’s Missing From “Dunkirk”
Robert J. Burrowes
Biological Annihilation on Earth Accelerating
Frederick B. Hudson – Dr. Junis Warren
Robot Scientists Carry Heavy Human Hearts 
Randy Shields
Not My Brother’s Reefer
Sam Lichtman
Where are the Millennials?
Louis Proyect
Death Race: the Cruelties of the Iditarod
Charles R. Larson
Review: Norman Lock’s “A Fugitive in Walden Woods”
David Yearsley
The Organs of Salamanca
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail