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Fed Up With War

By David Howard

01 August, 2006
Countercurrents.org

On July 4, Gold Star Families for Peace and Code Pink began a fast to end the war in Iraq. Hundreds of pro-peace supporters marched from the Gandhi Memorial statue in Washington, D.C. to the White House to call upon President Bush to bring the “Troops Home Fast.” The fast will continue until September 21, International Peace Day.

Our Ventura County California Peace Coalition contingent joined the fast on July 30 and will continue in solidarity through Friday, August 4.

The fasters ask the US to withdraw all forces from Iraq and refrain from building permanent military bases on Iraqi soil.

Troops Home Fast has participants in 22 countries and includes such peace heroes as US Army Colonel Ann Wright, Daniel Ellsberg, Dolores Huerta, Cindy Sheehan and US Congressional Representatives Cynthia Mckinney and Lynn Woolsey. They are now joined by over 4,000 ordinary citizens, many of whom served in the armed forces or are surviving
family members of Iraq War veterans.

We know that on every day of this fast the news from Iraq will be grim. US soldiers will die, adding to the 2,578 already dead. Iraqis will be blown up, kidnapped, shot and beheaded, adding to the at least 39,593 civilians who have perished since the war began. Prisoners will be tortured. Children will be displaced, impoverished and terrorized.

Yesterday, for example, a car bomb near a gas station in Kirkuk killed six people and wounded 17. It was the fourth time this month that drivers and passengers were attacked while waiting in line at a gas station. The decapitated and tortured corpses of four policemen were found 30 miles south of Kirkuk, and four US marines died in Anbar province, including Tony Butterfield, a 2005 graduate of Buchanan High School in Clovis, California.

This is why we fast: to end the immense horror and suffering for Iraqis and to ensure that our high school graduates of 2006 and 2007 don’t end up dead, like Tony Butterfield.

The paradox of fasting is that although the lack of nourishment weakens the flesh, it strengthens the spirit. Gandhi said that fasting for peace comes from the depths of the soul.

Fasting is an important component of our Judeo-Christian-Islamic religious heritage. Jesus and Moses both fasted for 40 days in the wilderness; Muslims all over the world fast each year in the month of Ramadan. The prophet Isaiah exhorted his people to fast in order to “release those bound unjustly” and “set free the oppressed.”

Those who fast bear witness to wrongdoing, and their refusal to partake in food is a refusal to participate in the wrong. A Gandhian fast is also a demand for change. The faster’s message is, “Just as I can withstand the impulse to nourish my body, politicians and generals can resist their impulse to affirm and sustain violence.”

The wrong our fasters protest is the debacle, tragedy and atrocity of the Iraq War. The fasters are fed up with the deception, propaganda and cruelty of this war. They are fed up with torture, secret prisons, abrogation of the Geneva Conventions, fabricated stories about weapons of mass destruction, ruthless campaigns of “shock and awe,” war profiteering, the seeding of terrorism, the squandering of our wealth, and the profaning of our good name among the peace-loving peoples of the world. They are fed up with the daily bread of car bombings, beheadings and executions that have plunged Iraq into a US-induced darkness, perhaps for decades to come.

The Iraq War is an outrage, an obscene feast of aggression. Here’s how US citizens can help end it: Write, call or e-mail Congress and the President; sign the Voters Pledge to refuse to support pro-war candidates at http://www.votersforpeace.us/. Support the fast and learn more about waging peace in the Middle East at www.troopshomefast.org.


David Howard is a member of the Board of Directors of Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions/CPR. Email: DavidHoward@aol.com.

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