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.
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.
As I am defending myself, my defense will be unencumbered with legal jargon and technicalities.
Given that the prosecution has failed to prove its case against me, at this juncture it might be appropriate to rest my case. But, quite frankly, my aim here goes beyond merely winning an acquittal.
Since intent is pivotal to the charge of “disorderly conduct,” I must explain why early on the afternoon of March 19 I was in one of Syracuse’s busiest streets, in one of Syracuse’s most public places – at a demonstration attended by hundreds, a demonstration featured on the front page – above the fold – of the March 20 Syracuse Post-Standard.
Acquittal in Maine: Standing in front of the Penobscot County Courthouse while the jury deliberated their fate are, from left to right: Doug Rawlings, Henry Braun, Jimmy Freeman, Dud Hendrick, Rob Shetterly and Jonathan Kreps. (Photo: Kelly Bellis)> “I think that the public in Maine is so disgusted with the war in Iraq that they demonstrated their disgust with this verdict,” said (District Attorney R. Christopher) Almy, a Democrat. “And, that they are upset with [Sen. Olympia] Snowe and Collins for getting us involved in this debacle.”
“At this point,” Almy said, “we’re going to have to consider the precedent that this verdict sets and we may very well have to consider giving these cases to the U.S. attorney to prosecute because this state court case may preclude successful future prosecutions.
“Also, I would like to say that Snowe and Collins got us involved in this mismanaged war and it may be up to them to persuade the U.S. attorney to take on these cases,” he concluded.
According to an April 29 article on CQ Politics, the House will likely vote on a new Iraq – Afghanistan war supplemental during the week of May 5, with Senator Harry Reid stating that he wants the Senate to vote on the bill prior to Memorial Day.
Details of the supplemental are being closely guarded by the Democratic party leadership. However, the supplemental is based upon President Bush’s request for an additional $108 billion in supplemental funding for the Iraq – Afghanistan war for the current fiscal year (FY 2008, which ends on September 30, 2008). Of this amount, $102 billion will be for the military.
MEMPHIS—On Wednesday March 19, 2008 seven members of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center were arrested in the Memphis offices of Senator Bob Corker. Protestors had come to the office for a scheduled meeting in order to present Corker’s staff with 1,000 petition signatures and to ask that the Sentor hold a town hall meeting in Memphis on the Iraq war, which the Senator has not done since taking office. Protestors vowed not to leave the office until a signed letter from the Senator committing to a town hall meeting was recieved.