I never thought when I embarked on my water-only hunger strike to “bring the troops home fast” that on day 30 I'd be leaving on a journey to the Middle East to meet with Iraqi members of Parliament. As a shrimper from a small fishing town in Texas, I don't have ways to get in touch with these folks from Iraq. I don't speak their language. I certainly don't have their emails or phone numbers! But today, I'll be traveling with a group of 14 other Americans, to meet with these Iraqis and learn about their ideas to end the fighting and the occupation of their country. That's why I've always said that when you embark on a hunger strike, you have to believe and open up the space for new and amazing things to happen. And sure enough, that's what's happening.
As hunger strikes go, this one hasn't been easy. We sit outside the president's house for 9 hours every day and watch the snipers walk the roof. Then, too, for the past month, (because we're BUSY fasters) we've paraded down the halls of Congress trying to convince those people to pull our troops out of Iraq and visited an embassy or two. The President certainly doesn't talk to us. Congress wasn't budging an inch and when we talk with the aides there's a lot of eyes rolling. Then when the Iraqi Prime Minister came to Washington, he pretended he was gonna meet with us and then he never came to the meeting.
But suddenly we heard from this group of Iraqi members of Parliament. They were moved by our sacrifice when our own government couldn't care less. They were anxious to meet with us when our own leaders refused to meet. And while our own government just talks about war and more war, these Iraqis have been talking about peace, about a peace plan to stop the violence and end the occupation.
We're thrilled to have to honor to meet with these Iraqis working on a Reconciliation Plan, and to bring their ideas back home. We're excited that we'll be able to break our 30-day fast with them. And some of us will be going on to Lebanon to try to promote a ceasefire and help the folks who are suffering there, because we can't sit around feeling sorry about all the killing. We've got to do something to stop it.
I said when I started this fast that we who want the killing to stop have to be as committed to peace as those who are committed to war. Many of ya'll joined in this hunger strike to show your commitment. So we ask that ya'll continue to participate in the fast -- perhaps one day a week, or a rolling fast in your community, until we formally end the fast on September 21, International Peace Day.
When we launch the Declaration of Peace on September 21, we'll be asking ya'll to show your commitment again. We're hoping to organize sit-ins in ALL the offices of Senators who refuse to call for an end to the occupation. If you're willing to join us by “sitting in for peace”, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don't know what the final outcome of this trip to meet with the Iraqis or our journey to Lebanon will bring. But we're certainly not about to leave our future in the hands of George Bush! When our “leaders” won't build the future we want to see, we've got to do it ourselves. So thank you all for your support of our fast, our journey, and “unreasonable women” -- and men -- who won't take war for an answer.
Love and adios,
P.S. Join me, Cindy Sheehan, fabulous Molly Ivins and over hundred other amazing women activists at our CODEPINK retreat at the end of this month, click here for more information.