Lake County News-Sun
By Charlie Adelman
July 16, 2008
Nearly 20 walkers began their 52-day trek from downtown Chicago to St. Paul, Minn., on Saturday in protest of the war in Iraq.
Put together by the Voices for Creative Nonviolence program, the group assembled the walk to show the connection between the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the forthcoming Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
“Both parties have been willing to pour billions of dollars into these wars,” said marcher Lauren Cannon.
July 14, 2008
On July 12th, supporters of the “Witness Against War” walk from Chicago to St. Paul, MN launched the walk in Chicago’s Federal Building plaza with a program rich in good will and diversity.
Brad Lyttle recalled the courage and determination of peace activists protesting the Viet Nam war during the Democratic National Convention held, in 1968, in Chicago. And, holding aloft a sturdy placard written in Russian, he helped link the walk to the “San Francisco to Moscow Walk,” which crossed the globe campaigning for nuclear disarmament in 1958.
By Karl Meyer
July 14, 2008
Why go on foot to the Republican National Convention?
1968 was the year when another Republican candidate for President promised to end a failing war, with “honor”, with “victory”, with “success” for American forces. The war was Vietnam. The candidate was Richard Nixon. He won the election. Then he continued the war at full blast for four more years. He expanded it with bombing campaigns and land incursions into Cambodia and Laos, neighboring countries he accused of harboring enemy forces. He battered North Vietnam, as well as the South, with massive bombing. Part of the cost was hundreds of thousands of Asian lives never adequately counted, plus about 21,000 more U.S. servicemen and women killed, and about 102,000 more wounded. Then shortly before the 1972 election he settled on most of the terms for a face-saving agreement with North Vietnam, that he touted as an honorable withdrawal. That settlement soon turned into total defeat.
Forty years after 1968, another Republican candidate promises to end a national insurgency, in Iraq, with “honor”, with “victory”, with “success” for American forces. He suggests that the Iraqi government and people may ask or allow U.S. military forces to remain in Iraq for a hundred years to anchor and protect U.S. interests and investment in the oil resources of the Middle East.
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT
by Meg White
July 11, 2008
Dan Pearson came flying into the room, sliding across the hardwood floors of the Voices for Creative Non-Violence office in his socks. The haste is easily forgiven, though; Pearson is a busy man. Organizing a walk spanning over 400 miles will do that to you.
Not that Pearson is alone in this. Voices for Creative Non-Violence has teamed up with about 30 different organizations to orchestrate the Witness Against War walk. Beginning in Chicago, participants will walk through Illinois and Wisconsin to St. Paul, MN. While some plan to walk the whole way, the majority of participants will join up for a day or two at a time (click here for an interactive map of the walk).
The campaign will kick off Saturday, July 12 at the Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago, and the group plans to end their walk Sept. 1, the same day the Republican Party begins its convention in Minnesota’s state capital.
July 5, 2008
Over the past two years, here in Amman, Jordan, I’ve regularly visited the family of Umm Hamdi, an Iraqi woman forced out of her native Iraq four years ago by terrifying death threats after her husband, very likely prey to that same threatened violence, disappeared. Although often met with the proverbial “cold shoulder” when trying to improve conditions for her family, she persists,—in the daytime she does child care for another family and, in the evening, she knits, sews, and makes handicrafts to sell in a local market. Umm Hamdi is tough, strong and fiercely determined to provide for her children. Nevertheless, she’s wretchedly insecure as a single mother and one more refugee among thousands in a country where resources to cope with her anxious needs are very slim. And she is worried for her son who is still in Iraq.
Two nights ago, I turned up to her small bare apartment during an evening when her young daughters were out in the care of a local charity and she was home alone. I saw how worn out she was from working to support them - but more telling on her is the frustration and remorse she feels for Hamdi, her teenage son, who is barred from entering Jordan because he is a young man over 15 years of age, and whether for fear of spillover violence or from a wish to concentrate its taxed charitable resources among women and children, Jordan’s policy strictly bars him entry. In Iraq, Hamdi lives with a family that resents him for his unemployed status, (there are no jobs), and can barely spare the little support they offer him.
July 3, 2008
The city of Amman, Jordan, is awash with numerous colorful signs that proclaim independence, “Istiklal.” The word is found on posters and placards in store windows. It names a major thoroughfare, a hospital, and a shopping center. Appreciation for independence is palpable, and this could be said for numerous cities and towns throughout the region, including Iraq, where past struggles for independence are commemorated by naming buildings and streets “Istiklal.” It reflects the love of independence and the longing for it.
But independence is elusive in a region suffering multiple wars and occupations. Particularly in Iraq, it’s hard to imagine an independent society growing up amid the violent wreckage of economic sanctions, U.S. bombardment and staggering corruption.
May 25, 2008
Affectionate greetings to you. It is a beautiful sunny Sunday here in New York City. Since my return to the states in early December of 2007, the time has been filled primarily with the activities of community life. We have had several deaths of beloved folks at the Catholic Worker, but we also await with great anticipation the birth of a new baby any day now! There have been visits to the Philadelphia area to see my own family, three trips to Washington, D.C. for meetings, and speaking engagements mostly in the northeast.
As I write you, a great portion of the floor in my room is covered with bags of used clothing, clothing which will hopefully find its way to needy Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria. Yes, their situation has become so desperate that they have no money to pay rent let alone buy clothing. I have tried to raise money at some of the speaking events to wire to Iraqis in Jordan so that they won’t have to return to Iraq. The plight of Iraqi refugees has worsened as increasing numbers have reached the end of their funds and with no legal residency are unable to work.