Tuesday, June 26, 2007
From my dear friend Eve Tetaz... Risking arrest for peace
I would like to share with you my decision to participate in a direct
action which will most likely lead to my incarceration for some time.
As a result of my last arrest at the Hart Senate Office Building, I
spent the night in jail and at my arraignment the next day, was
released into 3rd party custody, and ordered to report weekly to pre
trial services. Additionally I must stay away from the entire Capitol
I am unable to comply with these orders, and after careful and
prayerful consideration, have decided to take the initiative by
deciding the circumstances under which I will begin serving my
sentence. I have decided on this course of action I hope that this
action will receive media attention, but I can't be sure that my
arrest would spark any interest on their part, since Paris Hilton
seems to be the main focus of their interest. So be it.
There are many who have chosen to speak truth to power in this
fashion. I think of Rosa Parks, whose action was the result of
carefully planning to insure maximum coverage by the press and media.
It was no accident that she boarded that particular bus and her
refusal to move to the back of the bus was choreographed with as much
care for detail as a theatre performance. I am not saying that I am
another Rosa Parks, but I am known by the courts, by the park police,
the capitol police and the metropolitan police., and I might add, have
been treated with respect by them even as they were hand cuffing me.
On rare occasions, I have even been thanked while all this was
happening. I am therefore hoping that as a "senior citizen whose only
claim to fame is to be known by the criminal justice system, I will
show my horror and grief over the killing and n
Rosa Park's action involved her challenging an unjust and immoral law
that needed to be broken, and, in fact, was later found to be
unconstitutional. My actions violated laws that, in themselves, are
just, but under particular circumstances deserve to be violated
because they are being applied to circumstances involving the right of
individuals to petition this government for a redress of grievances.
Rosa Parks violated an unjust law and the law found her guilty under
its provisions; but justice was not done because the law was unjust. I
violated just laws, and the judge was upholding the law by finding me
guilty. However justice was not done, because the law was not
properly applied, for it was used to violate my right to petition my
government for a redress of grievances.
This action will impact all aspects of my life. Life Pathways, the
organization that I founded over a decade ago, will continue under the
expert leadership of Brenda Richards, our new Executive Director,
Gardenia Brantley, Facilitator, and our dedicated Board of Directors.
Ann and my 102 year old mother, who lived with me for a couple of
years until it became necessary to place her in a nursing home is
now receiving excellent care under the watchful and loving eye of my
sister, Ann. To help you understand why, I am doing this I have
enclosed a copy of my closing statement at my trial. The four
defendants were found guilty of disorderly conduct.
CLOSING STATEMENT: TRIAL FOR THE ARREST OUTSIDE THE OFFICE
OF SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI
My name is Eve Tetaz, pro se defendant.
My closing argument will support the Defense's claim that the 4
defendants on trial for disturbing the peace are not guilty as
charged. It is true that on March 22, 2007 we attempted to speak with
the Representative or a member of her staff with the intention of
asking Speaker Pelosi to vote against additional funding for the war.
But, Your Honor, the Defense has also proven that in carrying out this
action, we were not guilty of disturbing the peace.
The Defense has shown that prior to March. 22 all of the defendants
made many attempts to speak to President Bush, members of his Cabinet
and various members of Congress, for the purpose of stating their
opposition to the War and the Occupation of Iraq.
On every occasion, we were turned away without being heard. It is
for this reason that we as a group of concerned citizens went to
Representative Pelosi's office to voice our horror and grief over the
needless destruction of life and property caused by the US presence in
In doing so, we were not committing a crime - we were exercising the
right to petition our government for a redress of grievances. Two of
the defendants are residents of the District of Columbia, and do not
have representation in Congress, so they chose to express their
grievances to Congresswoman Pelosi, an elected representative and
Speaker of the House. The U.S. Constitution does not limit the right
to speak freely only to those who are fortunate enough to have
Congressional representation. The right of free speech is a
guarantee enjoyed by everyone. .
Our presence in Speaker Pelosi's office was not a crime, but was
part of a solemn and sacred moment. How could it be otherwise, since
we were all mourning the deaths of thousands of people? No life
should ever be counted as collateral damage. Who is to say that the
life of a man or women who wears the uniform of my country is more
precious that that of an Iraqi child who had the misfortune to get in
the way of a bomb.
It is true that the atmosphere was dramatic and intense and that some
of the protestors were unable to hide their grief and were weeping.
Your Honor, as an educator, I have long been aware of the
effectiveness of the method of "show and tell' in demonstrating a
point. A picture or a simple action is worth more than 1000 words.
After countless fruitless attempts at contacting members of Congress
we believe our presence outside the Speaker's office was showing the
world what democracy looks like by our bringing our petitions directly
to a member of Congress.
The Defense has shown by testimony that rather than engaging in
unlawful assembly, we were assuming a citizen's responsibility for the
actions of our government.
When the government wages an unprovoked, pre-emptive aggressive,
illegal and immoral war on Iraq that has been condemned by
international law and the highest religious authorities - it does so
in our name. When our government sets up a detention facility in
Guantanamo condemned by the whole world, it does so in our name. When
it kidnaps people off t he streets in countries around the world and
furtively transports them to torture facilities in lands that allow
torture, it does so in our name.
Your Honor, we the people declare that the government does not have
the right to speak in our name and that in order to maintain the
ability to be a nation governed by Law, we are obliged to invoke our
right under the Constitution to declare without reservation that this
country to which we pledge allegiance cannot be permitted to commit
these horrific acts in our name.
The prosecution's witnesses have admitted that the group was quiet,
respectful, and non-violent, and did not prevent the free flow of
traffic in the corridor outside the office or prevent the public from
entering the Congresswoman's office. Do not allow the Government to
criminalize our opposition to the war just because our opposition
reflects our grief and is full of emotion. How could it be otherwise?
We were Rachel weeping over her children because they were no more.
It is for this reason that the Court must find us not guilty of the
charge of loud and boisterous behavior, incommoding, preventing people
from entering or exiting the Speaker's office; or committing a breach
of the peace.
Thank you your honor.