"A Felon for Peace"
Ann Wright being arrested on September 26th in front of the
White House along with 400 peace activists.
By Ann Wright
I'm on Day 10 of my fast to Bring Troops Home Now. I never thought
I could deprive my body of solid food for more than one or two days,
but a week and one-half later, my body is not signaling my mind
that it needs food. Of course, like most Americans, I had quite
a few extra pounds I was carrying around, and right before the fast
I was pigging out.
But it's not the pounds that are important, but rather the simple
act of not engaging in our current national sport, eating, instead
using the time that would be spent three or four times a day in
that act in another more useful act.
Not eating frees up a lot of time. You don't spend much time in
the grocery store, except for buying juices and health supplements.
No time for food preparation. Time with friends is not spent in
eating, but in talking and discussing critical issues of our time,
such how to put more pressure on the Bush administration and the
US Congress to end the war in Iraq to save tens of thousands of
Iraqi lives and thousands of American and coalition lives, how to
have fair trials for those in Guantanamo and administration secret
prisons throughout the world, how to restore civil liberties while
maintaining national security and how to restore domestic programs
reduced or closed by diversion of funds to administration corporations
in the war on Iraq. That's a lot to chew on, I would say!
Other than a small decrease in energy, I feel just fine. I don't
get hunger pains and my stomach doesn't rumble anymore. Around mealtimes,
I still have the habit of thinking I should be stopping to eat,
which brings a smile when I remember that I don't need much time
for that--just a sip of water or juice and I'm finished!
We now have over 3900 people who have signed up for the fast. There
are fasts going on in virtually every city in America. Fasters are
in ten other countries. Some are fasting for one day, some for one
day a week, some for two weeks and some have signed on to fast until
the war in Iraq ends. The length of the fast really does not matter.
What matters is that an individual has made the decision that she/he
will focus energy on an issue that is critical for the destiny of
America-ending the war on Iraq.
This summer we will have fasters at the Veterans for Peace Conference
in Seattle August 9-13, fasters at Camp Casey August 16-Sept 2 and
fasters at Camp Democracy in Washington, DC September 5-20. Fasters
will be in Washington, DC for September 21 and the following week
for the week of Civil Disobedience.
The commitment and dedication of fasters to an issue is a time
honored tradition. Governments and administrations have altered
policies due to fasters. In talking with veteran fasters Dick Gregory
who fasted over 2 years during the Vietnam War and Diane Wilson
who has fasted for environmental issues in Texas, fasting requires
patience, tolerance, and understanding of the psychological dimensions
of physical actions and their long-term effect on others. In the
beginning, many of those not on the fast, think the fasters are
crazy and stupid.
On July 25 in Lafayette Park in front of the White House Codepink
Women for Peace, and members of Gold star Families for Peace, Veterans
for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War and various Washington,
DC anti-war groups will have an International fasting day. We will
be joined by a woman member of the Canadian Parliament.
While in Washington, we are staying busy while fasting. One group
of fasters stays at Lafayette Park in front of the White House to
be a visible presence to President Bush and his administration.
We talk with hundreds of passers-by about the war.
Each day a group goes to Congress to talk with members of Congress
and their staff. We attend (and sometimes let our views be known-and
are arrested) in Congressional committee hearings. We may have on
orange Guantanamo suits to remind the Congress of lives affected
by administration policies on torture and unfair proceedings. I
being arrested for speaking my mind to the Senate Judiciary
committee during the confirmation hearing for William Haynes, an
architect of the Bush Administration's torture policy, for the 4th
Circuit Court of Appeals. (See
here for more)
In honor of another faster, Mitch Snyder, who fasted and chained
himself to the White House fence to gain a shelter for the homeless
in Washington, we are working with Andy Shallal of the great new
activist meeting place Busboys & Poets and with a local homeless
advocate, to get better awareness of the terrible conditions now
in the Mitch Snyder homeless shelter in Washington. We will have
a press conference at the shelter on Friday afternoon and then give
ice cream to the homeless in an "I Scream for Justice" action.
At the end of each day we all meet back at Lafayette Park for a
discussion of the day's events and to plan for the next day. Generally
we have a speaker from the DC area who provides us with information
on an important topic. We have had speak a law professor from UCLA
talk about the history of civil disobedience, an environmental activist
speak about the plight of indigenous people's who occupy land on
which the remaining resources of the world rest (using the example
of Ecuador) and an Iraqi citizen's perspective on the occupation
and on the Iraq 28 point peace plan that has gotten virtually no
publicity in the U.S.
the Codepink-DC calendar for daily events in front of the White
House and come join us!
Hoorah for all the Codepink groups and individuals all over the
country who are fasting for peace! Who would have believed we could
do it? Only us!!!! Keep up the great work!
Bring the Troops Home Now!
29 year US Army Colonel and US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003
in opposition to the Iraq war