"You must be the change you want to see in the world."
"Many ask: What is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time."
This year, 2008, brings us all to a crossroads where decisions need to be made and responsibilities borne by the people who care about a peaceful world built with justice. However, this crossroads is not about the electoral choices of this election year.
We are about to pass from five years of war and occupation into our sixth year of the illegal Iraq War. We have worked long and hard to end this crime against peace. We have written, faxed, e-mailed and lobbied, we have marched and demonstrated, signed petitions and held vigils, and yet this illegal military occupation of Iraq continues.
Recent public opinion polls have shown about 70 percent of our fellow citizens want the war and occupation to end. However Congress continues to fund it! Our elected representatives are not responsive to our calls for peace, for a more just future for our country, for an end to war and a halt to the erosion of our civil liberties.
The election of 2006 has shown us that those we have entrusted with ending the war and occupation of Iraq have relinquished their constitutional responsibilities but have actively supported the Bush Administration's illegal war and fear mongering.
In 2007, thousands of people across America engaged in nonviolent civil resistance to the "War OF Terror" and our government's illegal and inhumane use of torture. Most were arrested in these actions, and many went to trial. However, this resistance movement needs to grow and be supported -- as those risking arrest are often the same dedicated souls, now nearing jeopardy with their homes and jobs. Please don't thank us, we are past that point -- we need you to join us!
The choices and responsibilities concern our duty to actively make the world we want come into being. Many of you have probably already considered it, but have worried about possible repercussions of being arrested. You need not worry, we initially had this reaction too, but we chose to engage in acts of nonviolent resistance to war-making and oppression because we felt it was our duty, our role.
We have faith that you can also come to that same decision. Acting in a peaceful direct action with your brothers and sisters is an incredible act of solidarity and is extremely empowering.
This year there have already been numerous nonviolent civil resistance arrests, most recently inside and outside of the U.S. Supreme Court. Here, 82 activists said enough was enough after six years of the Guantanamo gulag.
These actions have been effective, but not yet successful. This year, it is imperative that greater numbers engage in peaceful direct action against violent misuse of power in our names. Otherwise we will have continued war, occupation, misery, and injustices waged in our name. As Dr. King once said, "A time comes when silence is betrayal."
We must not be fooled, lied to, and lulled into a false sense of security with hopes for a positive electoral outcome. We are faced with the reality that all of the leading presidential candidates support the war and continued occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan in one way or another. Furthermore, most candidates for office have not taken a stand against torture and for the restoration of Habeas Corpus.
In March many will come to Washington, DC to protest the five years of murder and destruction in Iraq. It will be five years since "shock and awe" diminished our nation's reputation around the globe, and expanded the wallets of war profiteers. Meanwhile, approximately 1 million Iraqis have been killed since March 2003, and 3,940 U.S. service personnel have been sent to their deaths due to a pack of lies. We invite you to join us in March by joining large acts of nonviolent civil resistance to immoral governmental and corporate warmongering ways, and to demand peace and justice for all!
Now at this crossroads, we the people must decide to take action to right the wrongs that have been perpetrated for so many years now. This is our responsibility. Our duty is not to wait for a November election but to actively pursue peace and the world built with justice for all people.
The Washington Peace Center (www.washingtonpeacecenter.org) will be taking the lead in organizing nonviolent direct action trainings in March around these mobilizations. Students from the organization Our Spring Break (www.ourspringbreak.org) will be coming to Washington to participate. We also need you!
There will be nonviolent direct actions on March 12 and March 19 in DC! Come be a part of history, come help us begin to bring about change in our time; let us help build a more just and peaceful tomorrow.
In peace and resistance,
Malachy Kilbride, Board president
& Pete Perry, Board member
Washington Peace Center