P.O. Box 81, Swarthmore, PA, 19081-- firstname.lastname@example.org (610) 544-1818
March 18-19, 2007
4th Anniversary of the Iraq War
Declaration of Peace - Mourning to Resistance, We Declare Peace
Organized by: Brandwine Peace Community
Endorsers: American Friends Service Committee [AFSC], Catholic Peace Fellowship; Community of the Christian Spirit (Elkins Park); Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia; House of Grace Catholic Worker; Phila. Catholic Worker; Philly Delaware River Area Code Pink; The Shalom Center; United Christian Church, Levittown, PA; and Phila. Veterans for Peace, Chapter 31.
Report and Future Actions - Full report, including full text of the Litany of Mouning & Resistance (see below) and the "War Crimes
Indictment" of Lockheed Martin (see below)
Sunday, March 18 - Iraq War Anniversary Anniversary Eve
Originally planned for the Independence Visitors Center lawn area, the weekend's storm forced Anniversary Eve Memorial indoors and through the graciously open doors of Arch Street Methodist Church.
The evening program began with a bell-intoned reading of names of war dead - Iraqi and U.S. - and the Litany of Mourning & Resistance (See below for full text)
Thank you to each of the speakers, poets, and performers: *Johanna Berrigan, House of Grace Catholic Worker; *Jeffrey Garis, PA
Action/Americans Against Escalation in Iraq; *Eric Gjertsen, Payday; *Buthaina Hawas-Neveln, an Iraqi woman and mother, grew up in Baghdad where she was a teacher at the School of Music & Ballet and a newscaster in the Iraqi National TV, was in Iraq (where all of her family remains) during the invasion, leaving a year later when she married Bob Neveln, peace activist and university professor; *Rev. John McNamee, pastor of St. Malachy's Roman Catholic Church, noted author ("Diary of a City Priest") and poet ("Donegal Suite"); *Tom Mullian, singer-songwriter ("Six Strings Against the War), Brandywine Peace Community war resister; * Laurie Pollack, peace activist-poet ("Peace Walk"); * Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center, author; *Susan Windle, of the poetry ensemble Voices of a Different Dream; *Celeste Zappala (who was pictured in the Phila. Inquirer, 3/19/07, Military Families Speak Out, whose son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker was killed in Iraq in April '04 becoming the first PA National Guardsman killed in combat since World War II.
Each spoke with intensity and grace standing next to a coffin covered with the U.S. and Iraqi flag and white masks atop black cloth labeled
"War" and "Poverty" as well as pictures of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. People exited the church with lite candles as the bell of Phila. City Hall (across the street) tolled 9PM.
March 19 - Iraq War 4th Anniversary, Lockheed Martin, Valley Forge, PA
Reader: May our cry for peace be heard at the White House and Congress, at the Pentagon, in the corporate board rooms as we resist the Iraq wars chief profiteer, the world largest weapons corporation, Lockheed Martin. And we cry out... All: Response (In Mourning and Resistance: We Declare Peace)]
Next to the coffin draped with the U.S. and Iraqi flags, we began with a Circle of Mourning & Resistance at the main driveway entrance to Lockheed Martin, reading the names of war dead interspersed by bell-tolling followed by participant reflections. Then came the Litany of Mourning & Resistance, followed by the blast of siren and the stringing of rows of yellow "CRIME SCENE - DO NOT ENTER" tape across the main driveway entrance and banners reading: "War Crimes Scene" and "Resist Lockheed Martin, the face of war-making in Iraq".
Referencing both the UN Charter and the Nurenberg Principles, an Indictment of Lockheed Martin for aiding and abetting war crimes in Iraq
was read as ten people stood across the driveway entrance. For nearly thirty minutes, as the siren blasted, the bell-tolled, and drums pounded,
people stood in and blocked the Lockheed Martin "War Crimes Scene". Those in the drive then turned with banners and began walking toward the weapons complex to deliver the Lockheed Martin Indictment. Each was arrested, taken to the Upper Merion Township Buiding, and released on Disorderly Conduct citation.
Those arrested: Beth Friedlan, Carroll Clay, Tom Mullian, Rich Conti, Jackie Bauman, Rev. Patrick Sieber, Bernadette Cronin-Geller, Fred
Uebelhoer, Bob Smith, Theresa Camerota, and a number of people - recidivists over the decades of resistance - very much there in spirit,
including Mary Jo McArthur and Vinton Deming.
"All: In a time of war may our mourning and resistance be the soil on which we plant the seeds of a new hope for peace and justice. With an
expanding community of peacemakers, we will raise a cry of resistance to the war makers and put an end to
the violence and war that is consuming our communities, our country, our world.", from the Litany of Mourning & Resistance
LITANY OF MOURNING AND RESISTANCE
(RESPONSE: In Mourning and Resistance: We Declare
Reader: We gather in mourning and remembrance of the human tragedies of war these past four years. We declare peace:
demanding that our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, in uniform be brought home safely and that the occupation of Iraq be
brought to an end. We declare that this war must end, that funding for the war must cease and that the war-makers must be resisted.
Reconstruction and justice must replace war and militarism. For peace, we gather in mourning and nonviolent resistance to the war
in Iraq and to the economy and culture of militarism and greed in which many suffer and die here and around the world so few may
profit. And we cry out... All: Response
Reader: For all the war dead, U.S., Iraqi and foreign nationals, for all the wounded and maimed in body and spirit, and for all the
domestic casualties of war - the homeless, hungry, those without medical care - whose needs are squandered on the economic
battlefields of war and weaponry. And we cry out...All: Response
Reader: For lives that continue, wounded in body and spirit, haunted forever by the pain of their loved ones absence or by the
terrible memory of taking another human life. And we cry out...All: Response
Reader: For all the deaths justified by turning the love of God or country into fanatical arrogance, falsehoods, militarism, and
empire. And we cry out... All: Response
Reader: For all those who risk their lives and their liberty to bring healing, forgiveness, justice, and peace. And we cry out... All:
Reader: May we truly honor the dead in peace and heal the wounds of this war by putting peace and justice in our hearts, on our lips,
and in all our actions, this day and all the days of our lives. And we cry out... All: Response
Reader: May our cry for peace be heard at the White House and Congress, at the Pentagon, in the corporate board rooms as we
resist the Iraq wars chief profiteer, the world largest weapons corporation, Lockheed Martin. And we cry out... All: Response
All: In a time of war may our mourning and resistance be the soil on which we plant the seeds of a new hope for peace and
justice. With an expanding community of peacemakers, we will raise a cry of resistance to the war makers and put an end to
the violence and war that is consuming our communities, our country, our world.
Ten arrested at peace protest
By: CARL ROTENBERG , Times Herald Staff
UPPER MERION - On the fourth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, two dozen members of the Brandywine Peace Community noisily demonstrated outside the main entrance driveway of Lockheed Martin on Goddard Boulevard.
The hour-long demonstration at midday was capped by the arrest of 10 peace demonstrators for defiant trespass by Upper Merion police as the demonstrators walked up the driveway toward a solid line of 25 uniformed police.
The demonstrators were issued police citations and released, said Upper Merion Police Lt. Tom Nolan.
"We gather in mourning and we gather in resistance," shouted Robert M. Smith, the Brandywine co-founder and staff coordinator, into an amplfied loudspeaker, "for the Bush administration to hear - We must resist the war-makers."
The theme of the peaceful demonstration was "Mourning to Resistance: We Declare Peace." On a sunny, but bitterly cold 43-degree workday, the war protesters read the names of Iraqi and American war dead, talked about the alleged profits made by Lockheed Martin on its defense contracts and periodically tolled a large bell.
"The war never made any sense to me," said Gregg Oldstein of Phoenixville. "I had to come out today."
The Montgomery County Community College student wore a black T-shirt with the picture of a pretty model illustrated with the tag-line - "Felchie opposes the war."
Bernadette Cronin-Geller of Philadelphia called Lockheed Martin "the destroyers of life. This I mourn."
The owner of an Upper Merion instrumentation company called the Iraq war "stupid."
"This war is so wasteful, illogical and stupid," said Fred Vebelhoer of Sicklerville, N.J.
Jackie Bauman of Elmwood Park, N.J., said she had come to protest at Lockheed Martin because Monday was the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war's beginning.
"The war is just paying for oil and nothing else," said the telecommunications company project manager.
Over the past 30 years, the Brandywine Peace Community has conducted numerous demonstrations outside Lockheed Martin and the predecessor company, General Electric, in Upper Merion.
Monday's demonstration began with a "Circle of Mourning" for "all those killed or wounded in the war, U.S. and Iraqi, and all the victims of Lockheed Martin's 'economy of war in which many suffer and die so a few may profit.'"
The protest group charged Lockheed Martin with violating provisions of the United Nations charter that states "all members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered."
The group alleged that Lockheed Martin's Keyhole and Lacrosse satellites are used in the U.S. military air campaign along with Lockheed Martin F-117, F-16 and F/A-22 jet fighters.
More than a dozen passing motorists signaled their support for the demonstrators with a thumbs-up gesture and honking horns.
A male passenger in a passing car, shouted, "We're defending your freedom, jackass!"
Carl Rotenberg can be reached at email@example.com or 610-272-2500, ext. 350.
Mar. 16 – As the United States ushers in a fourth year in Iraq on Monday, growing shame, anger and grief over the war is prompting some active opponents to "step it up a notch."
Hoping to make this weekend the last wartime anniversary of the invasion, some demonstrators are planning local actions throughout the nation, while others are converging in Washington, DC on Saturday for a march to the Pentagon. Planned actions range from quiet gatherings to more confrontational activities, with several groups encouraging non-violent civil disobedience as a protest tactic.
The march on Saturday, organized by the coalition Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), also commemorates the 40th anniversary of the historic October 1967 March on the Pentagon during the Vietnam War. Large protests in the coming days are also planned for Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago.
While encouraging attendance at the march in Washington, United for Peace and Justice, another antiwar coalition, is also urging people to be "vocal and visible" in their own communities with the "loudest and widest demonstrations for peace that [they] can muster." More than 500 events have been posted on the organizations' site.
On top of their basic anti-war message, protesters this weekend will also voice dismay that recently elected Democrats have ignored their constituents' calls to oppose the war. The Democratic leadership has been criticized for failing to follow through on campaign promises to oppose the war.
Groups are planning non-violent civil-disobedience actions in cities across the country this weekend.
In Los Angeles, the Quaker activist group American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is planning a march to a US military recruiting center, where fourteen people plan to "sit-in" to disrupt recruitment activities. The group is collaborating with Declaration of Peace, a grassroots anti-war action campaign that is coordinating similar actions of civil disobedience nationwide.
Georgie Noguera of the AFSC in Los Angeles said activists are turning to civil disobedience after exhausting other tactics to stop the war.
"If [lawmakers are] not listening to us when we're speaking, and they're not listening to us when we're voting," Noguera told The NewStandard, "the next logical step is to force them to hear what we're saying by making it uncomfortable for them and making it so they can't ignore us anymore."
"The momentum is right... for people to take it to the next step," she continued "which is, 'I'm going to put myself on the line with peaceful disobedience to show my opposition to the war. And I'm willing to get arrested to do that.'"
Similarly, California organizer Antonia Juhasz said that after four years, they're looking to civil disobedience because "we feel the need to step up our resistance to the war." She is planning with other activists to blockade the entrance to the Chevron World Headquarters in San Ramon, California to protest the perceived oil agenda driving the war.
On the opposite coast, Noguera and Juhasz's sentiment is shared. In King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, demonstrators intend to block the entrance to the offices of weapons-producer Lockheed-Martin to protest the company's alleged war-profiteering. Robert Smith, of the Brandywine Peace Community, the group behind the action, said civil disobedience expresses "a firm, clear, emphatic 'no.'"
"All of the legal public demonstrations are important," he told TNS. "It is, however, vital that there be people who will resist, who will say the law will not prevent us from declaring peace."
The Christian Peace Witness for Iraq says over 700 people will risk arrest Friday night in a prayer gathering in front of the White House; the group did not obtain a protest permit.
"Millions of people around the world sadly believe that this is a Christian war because our leaders have confused the foreign policy of the United States with the purpose of God," said the Reverend Jim Wallis in a press conference yesterday. "We need to clear up the confusion. Tomorrow night, we begin that."
The Occupation Project is organizing a "sustained" presence at lawmakers' offices in Illinois on Monday – part of a campaign that began in February in which protesters have occupied about 40 offices of congressional representatives from both parties who refuse to vote against additional war funding, Last week, police arrested twelve activists in Maine for refusing to leave a federal building and Senator Susan Collins' (R–Maine) office inside. The Project says 181 activists have been arrested since the campaign began
Bruce Gagnon, who has been arrested several times since 2005 for staging occupations of lawmakers' offices in Maine, is urging others to join the Occupation Project. "The time has come for those in the anti-war movement to step outside our normal activist boxes," Gagnon wrote on the Project's website. "If we wish to end the war then we must create positive, non-violent conflict in our communities. We must force the politicians to step outside their comfort zones on the Iraq war issue."
Since Monday, the Encampment to Stop the War has been holding protests across from the Capitol building to oppose increased funding for the war. While the protests are legal, activists are staging civil disobedience as well; ten activists were arrested yesterday for confronting Democrats during a House Appropriations Committee meeting.
Beyond this weekend, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance is organizing a week of non-violent direct action, called "No Business Before the People's Business" from March 26 to 29. The actions are intended to coincide with the Senate's consideration of the next supplemental budget for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, activists staged civil disobedience in an attempt to stop military shipments out of the Port of Tacoma this month.
Aside from civil disobedience, protesters are planning less-confrontational actions across the country.
Nancy Moran, of the Tulsa Peace Fellowship in Oklahoma, told TNS that marchers will be wearing burlap sacks and ashes as a "symbol of mourning, sorrow and regret." She said she hopes "a lot of Americans are feeling [that sentiment] – those that favored this war and are starting to have second thoughts."
In St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday, protesters will start a vigil before 3,000 tombstones bearing the names of killed US military and Iraqi civilians. The vigil will end on Monday with an Occupation Project action at Senator Claire McCaskill's (D-Missouri) office.
A Maine-based campaign called From Every Village Green is bringing together demonstrators on over 100 village greens throughout the state. Ron Greenberg, who started the project, said the effort is a response to the challenges of organizing Mainers against the war when the population is so dispersed.
"I could get a call from somebody in a very small town who says, 'I think that I'm alone here.' And that same week, I might hear from four of five people from that town. So putting them together has energized everybody."
Greenberg said the protests are a reaction to the deaf ear lawmakers in the state have turned to their constituents. "People have been having a hard time making a connection with our senators," Greenberg said. "We seem to be ignored on this issue [of stopping the war]."
Other demonstrations are happening virtually. One Million Blogs for Peace is trying to sign up one million blogs to oppose the war in 30 days. Activists are also asking people to write peace messages in red print on packages and envelopes they mail.
The AFSC's Noguera said she sees the actions taking place across the country as a sign of "a certain momentum now that we didn't have before."
"We know what we're doing is right," she said. "We know that the cost of human life is unacceptable, so we're going to step it up."