- Bush defends war, thousands protest (FCN, 03-31-2006)
THE WHITE HOUSE (FinalCall.com) – A cadre of hundreds of mothers and their families, led by actress Susan Sarandon and “Gold Star” mothers Cindy Sheehan and Elaine Johnson, kept a sometimes loud, sometimes in the rain, 24-hour Mother’s Day vigil here May 13-14 to call for an end to the war in Iraq and to stand against a military attack on Iran.
The protest, organized by Code Pink Women For Peace, included workshops, “teach-ins,” an evening concert and a procession to the Ellipse, where demonstrators used their bodies to spell out the message: “Mom says NO WAR” for an aerial picture.
The protestors cited the original Mother’s Day Proclamation by Julia Ward Howe, which organizers say historically calls for women to act against war. In 1870, Ms. Howe urged women to rise up with a call to “Disarm! Disarm!” and find “the means whereby the great human family can live in peace.” The original intent of Mother’s Day was for mothers to take a break from their normal routine and figure out how to get their sons and husbands to quit the business of war, according to a statement from the umbrella group, United for Peace and Justice.
“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience,” wrote Ms. Howe. “We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
Code Pink also purchased advertisements in Iraqi newspapers to express solidarity with Iraqi women and their families. “It is Mother’s Day today in the U.S. We understand that you, as mothers in Iraq, do not have much to celebrate today,” the ads read, spokeswoman Meredith Dearborn told The Final Call.
In March, Code Pink brought a delegation of six Iraqi women to the U.S. “They told us that they were afraid to let their children go out of their houses in the morning. Their daughters were no longer safe to go to school,” Ms. Dearborn continued. “So in solidarity with those mothers, we are saying, ‘We are working our hardest on this Mother’s Day, from us to you, to end this war and bring our troops home now, so you can start to rebuild your country.”
Other prominent participants included Reverend Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus and “clown doctor” Dr. Patch Adams. “I don’t want any more moms to grieve for a child lost in this unjust unnecessary war in Iraq,” said Ms. Sheehan. “This Mother’s Day, we’ll be outside the White House all day and all night, demanding that our children come home from Iraq and not be sent to another reckless war in Iran.”
President George W. Bush departed a day earlier to spend the weekend at Camp David, Maryland.
Code Pink insists the vigil demonstrates the shifting opposition to the war. Six in 10 people in this country now consider the Iraq war a mistake, and more than 60 percent also favor a full withdrawal of troops before the end of 2006, according to a December 2005 Gallup Poll. This rally comes in the wake of the huge April 29 anti-war march in New York City.