>Homepage > Archives > Chris Mills' email digest # 31
April 21, 2003

Hi all -

So much has happened since my last mailing, more than I can presume to "digest," and this is by no means intended to be a representative sample of what arrived in the interim.   This is a hard time for all of us who are working for peace, but don't lose heart.  We didn't stop this particular war, but the unprecedented scope of the world-wide mobilization for peace over the past few months is cause for hope for the longer term.  Take a rest when you need it - you're no good to anyone if you're totally burned out - but please don't give up.  Every one of us is needed!

Peace,

Chris

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief.
Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now.
You are not obligated to complete the work,
but neither are you free to abandon it.
    - The Talmud

Calls to Action   

Poets around the world are organizing another reading of poetry against the war on May 1st.  

News /information

Several hundred US soldiers have applied for conscientious objector status since January. 

This site provides links to alternative sources of news, including Democracy NOW! and Pacifica Peacewatch.

Also to Counter Spin , a 1/2-hr program produced by media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. Belgian doctors Claire Geraets and Geert Van Moorter are collecting facts and testimonies for a lawsuit General Franks and US soldiers who killed or injured civilians. .

Commentary/inspiration

Our Stories, Dying
Conquest requires its lexicon: words crafted to terrify,
repeated often and loud enough
create a climate that rises between the ribs,
settling in throats braced hard against nausea.
The preemptive strike:
a concept that boasts a twisted redemption,
dangling justification in retrospect.

The van approaches with women and small children
its driver confused by the order to stop
issued or not by Marines in pursuit of war.
A mother folds over her child, a blue scarf
no longer covers anything alive.
Later the Pentagon will use the word regret.
Another family murdered. No one said war is pretty.

Those ancient words: Mesopotamia , Babylon , Tigres,
Euphrates , Ottoman Empire , Ur and Uruk.
The Hammurabi stela, world's oldest written code of law
destroyed as homegrown lawlessness
battles lawlessness brandished from afar.
What child who remembers school
does not remember those words-reference of root and origin?

Five thousand years, and other words go mute:
history's first writing looted from Baghdad 's National Museum
along with early evidence of time.
Stories torn from their moorings
like the stories of today: banished by power gone mad,
the arrogance and lies
of men propelled by such ferocious greed.

Stories buried in common graves or carried off in defeat.
Stories reduced to whispered conversations
mother to daughter father to son
lover to beloved in bloodied streets
in fields dying beneath their scars.
When they bloom again beware memory's face:
indelible as the image in a mirror crushed by bombs.

Mr. Bush, Mr. Rumsfeld, these stories are also yours
even if you do not know they are.
And they are yours boy-faced soldiers, eyes crouching in fear,
(who had orders to protect the Ministry of Oil
but let the Library burn).
These stories belong to all of us who survive
to inherit the mirror shattering in our hands.

--Margaret Randall

Albuquerque , April 2003

Patricia Pearson,  grand-daughter of a Prime Minister (for the information of non-Canucks, one who was a Nobel Peace laureate) has resigned as a columnist for the National Post .  She explains why in this column in the Globe and Mail.

Michael Moore debunks the media impression that there was a "backlash" against him after his Oscar acceptance speech and concludes:  "This is not the time for the majority of us who believe in a peaceful America to be quiet. Make your voices heard. Despite what they have pulled off, it is still our country." (There is also a link to his website here)

Bob Herbert argues that the way the US is handling the reconstruction contracts is reinforcing cynicism about American motives for the war. 

Maureen Dowd on religious bigotry, hypocrisy and opportunism:  "The Pentagon could easily have saved the national museum and library if they had redeployed the American troops assigned to guard Ahmad Chalabi, the Richard Perle pal, Pentagon candidate and convicted embezzler who is back in Iraq trying to ingratiate himself with the country he left 40 years ago.     "Instead of hectoring those who expressed any doubt about the difficulty of occupying Iraq, the conservatives should worry about their own self-parody: pandering to the base by blessing evangelical Christians who want to proselytize Muslims; protecting their interests by backing a shady expat puppet; pleasing their contributors by pre-emptively awarding rebuilding contracts to Halliburton and Bechtel; and swaggering like Goths as Iraq's cultural heritage goes up in flames." 

Naomi Klein on how Iraq is being sold out from under the "liberated" Iraqi people. 

Arianna Huffington on why the quick victory for the US proved that the anti-war movement was right.  (boy, has she changed her tune in the past few years - I'd love to know how that happened)   

In 1916, Helen Keller argued that the every modern war has its roots in exploitation, and that the pro-war propagandists wanted to give the American people "...something to think about besides their won unhappy condition."  Read her speech and note the eerie foreshadowing

Shalom Achshav [Peace Now], was founded in 1978 by 348 reserve officers of the Israel Defense Forces who believed that only a negotiated end to the conflict in the Middle East could bring true security to Israel and her people.  A member of their American affiliate, Americans for Peace Now, included these words in his moving Haggadah reading: Only peace can feed the souls and salve the wounds of Israelis and Palestinians today. Only peace can offer sustenance to two peoples struggling side by side, afflicted with anger, burdened with pain. Only peace -- peace now -- can allow our brothers and sisters to escape the bondage of their violence. When they are vulnerable, we are vulnerable. When they are insecure, we are insecure. For us to see ourselves as if we went forth from Egypt means to recognize that all of God's children hunger for justice, hunger to be free from the bonds of conflict that oppress the human spirit, and hunger to celebrate life with both love and hope, bread and peace

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