"Don't Give Up!"
By Julie Norman
Protests, letters to senators, camp-outs at Crawford Texas, marches on Washington DC, petitions, songs, documentaries . What more can be done? After four years of war, a war that has been resisted from the beginning, the feeling of hopelessness is growing. So many actions, acts of civil disobedience, and unceasing voices; so far, all have failed to stop the war.
But the movement still grows - and the creative actions of resisters become even more intensely expressive of the suffering and destruction occurring. In January in Los Angeles, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) staged "Operation First Casualty" - in which they gave US citizens passing by a taste of the reality of every day life in occupied Iraq. Veterans screamed, shouted at, searched, and put hoods on civilian volunteers in a simulation of the horrors Iraqis experience daily. IVAW has continued to stage mock "occupations" around the country, hoping that the horror evoked by this experience will cause us to ponder the horrors we are inflicting on Iraqis.
In Bellingham, Washington, veteran Evan Knappenberger completed an 8-day tower guard vigil on a scaffold of the Federal Building. Knappenberger, with the support of friends, other Iraq War veterans, and seven grandmothers who spent one night with him, drew attention to the military's STOP-LOSS policies - which he states are being used as a method of conscription, in effect a back-door draft. (www.towerguard.org)
On June 23, the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International brought together torture survivors and advocates in a 24-hour vigil in Lafayette Square, demanding the repeal of the Military Commisions Act endorsed by Bush in October 2006. With barking dogs, blindfolded individuals, a mock prison cell, the vigil revealed the human rights violations and torture that legally occur under the Act. Sixteen participants stood outside the White House singing "We are justice-seeking people, we are peaceful, loving people" until they were arrested for raising awareness and speaking the truth. (www.washingtonpost.com)
Voices for Creative Nonviolence will begin a second launch of the Occupation Project on August 6th. Join them, and people all across the country, in demanding that your representatives and senators refuse to vote for further funding for the Iraq War - if not, their offices will be nonviolently occupied. From February 5 to April 17, individuals and groups in 25 states participated in this project; 325 resisters were arrested.
These and thousands of other actions occurring around the US and across the world show us that the movement against the war and occupation still grows. Soldiers, veterans, and civilians will continue to resist this unjust war until our troops are withdrawn and the occupation is ended. The deep belief that we have a moral obligation to change our country's history and its global policies will strengthen more and more of us to speak and act out.