May 25, 2015
On Sunday, May 24th, International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament, a group of more than 30 women crossed the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) at Kaesong from North Korea into South Korea. Their goal: to draw attention to Korea’s “forgotten” and unfinished war, and move toward a real peace that can reunite families and, perhaps, a divided nation.
The march included both North and South Korean women marching on their respective sides, and was preceded by a peace symposium in Pyongyang (watch North Korean TV coverage here). It will be followed by a similar symposium in Seoul after they cross the DMZ (Saturday evening in the U.S.).
The Korean War (officially 1950-53) stands out for its bloody toll. Some 4 million people, mostly civilians, perished. Although a “temporary” cease-fire was signed, the last 62 years have been marked by a protracted cold war defined by ongoing threats by both sides of the DMZ, decades of profligate military spending, and what is effectively a permanent state of near-war and the fear of attack. The idea to walk from North Korea into South Korea began with a dream that lead organizer Christine Ahn had several years ago. The concept grew after Ahn connected with feminist icon Gloria Steinem who took a public stand in 2011 against the militarization of South Korea’s Jeju island.
May 25, 2015
By now, most of you probably know what a fabulous event Doug Rawlings put together yesterday. It worked out just as planned, with a dignified group of us walking along the wall laying the letters, and many reports of people picking them up and reading them and other interactions. People appreciated our presence and the messages on our shirts. Roger's Bell Tower was spectacularly placed right near the Lincoln Memorial, attracting a lot of passersby. The weather was beautiful and we had a lovely celebration afterwards at one of the Busboys and Poets Cafes, where owner and activist Andy Shalal arranged for the cards printed with VFP's statement of purpose to be included in the little folders that hold the checks as a special Memorial Day offering.
May 25, 2015
Some veterans have mixed feelings about Memorial Day celebrations, and a global hunger for war.
Memorial and Veterans Days come with mixed feelings for veterans like me, especially as we witness how most Americans ‘celebrate’ these holidays.
The purpose of Memorial Day is to remember the dead. Some choose to only honor service members. Others, like me, choose to honor all lives lost due to war. This includes the countless veterans who have died by suicide, or by disease stemming from Agent Orange, depleted uranium and other war related poisons, as well as those who died from addiction or self-destructive behaviors driven by the haunting ghosts of war.
I also honor the civilians who have perished in the crossfire of war, and who endure the same conditions in the aftermath that kill veterans. And yes, I honor the enemies who sought to kill me and my brothers and sisters in arms, because I know that the gods of war revel in all sacrifices, making no distinction between the good and bad guys, or civilians and combatants. They drink the blood of all wounded by the chaos, suffering, hate and broken bodies and minds. Make no mistake, we are all victims of this bottomless hunger.
While the public honors the millions of faceless and nameless service members lost, veterans remember comrades who died beside them in their arms, at a distance blown up by an IED, on hospital beds, and here at home after the wars supposedly end. Families and friends mourn loved ones who left them walking to return in a box, body bag or not at all. This is the essence of Memorial Day. And while mourners will laugh between tears as they remember the beauty, kindness and humanity of a comrade and loved one, the pain stays and happiness, at least for this day, remains elusive.
May 23, 2015
Memorial Day Message from Veterans For Peace: Honor All Soldiers and Civilians Who Died in War Heal the Wounds, Work for Peace
May 23, 2015
Veterans For Peace members will participate in a wide range of activities in cities and towns all across the nation to observe Memorial Day. Veterans For Peace is a group of military veterans, family members and friends who pledge to serve the cause of world peace and work to abolish war.
“We bring a different message to Memorial Day than what is usually promoted by the media, the government and the war-hawks,” stated Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans For Peace.
“We don’t glorify war – we seek justice for veterans and victims of war, and we work to abolish war itself,” said McPhearson.
Veterans For Peace members around the country will march in parades, lay wreaths, give talks and speeches, recite poetry, and honor U.S. service members and civilians who died in or as a result of war.
In Washington, D.C., Veterans For Peace members and friends will gather at the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial at 10:30 am to deliver approximately 150 letters written to soldiers whose names appear on The Wall. The letters are from people of different generations and political persuasions from all around the country, and were solicited by the Vietnam Full Disclosure Campaign.
May 22, 2015
“Splashdown” on June 20
The historic Golden Rule antinuclear protest boat will set sail again, continuing its journey for peace and nuclear disarmament. In 1958 four Quaker activists attempted to sail the Golden Rule into the seas around the Marshall Islands, in order to halt U.S. nuclear atmospheric testing. They were stopped and arrested in Hawaii and spent time in jail, but news of their quest went around the world, inspiring others to act. The 1958 voyage of the Golden Rule is credited with helping to achieve the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963, which banned nuclear testing in the air, underwater and outer space.
For over four years, members of Veterans For Peace Chapters 22 and 56 on the northern coast of California have been working hard to restore the Golden Rule, after it was dredged up from the bottom of Humboldt Bay. The Golden Rule is now a national project of Veterans For Peace, with VFP members and allies from all across the country contributing time, money, expertise and elbow grease.
May 22, 2015
by Joey King, VFP Board member and Chair of VFP’s Latin American Working Group.
The U.S. Marines will soon deploy to Central America, according to a May 9 report in the Miami Herald (and Stars and Stripes). Most of the 280 troops will be headed to Honduras, which since the U.S. backed coup in 2009 has become the “murder capital of the world.”
U.S. interventionism in Latin America continuessome 191 years after throwing off Spanish colonial rule. The Miami Heraldarticle reports that approximately 280 U.S. Marines are landing in Central America any day now. The operation has no codename, but it's the fruit of about a year's planning by the U.S. Southern Command to insert a newly formed expeditionary outfit into the U.S.-run swath of the Soto Cano air base in Honduras for about 200 days, the longest, largest known Marine deployment onto Central American turf in years. About 90 of the Marines will be going to Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize.
The article goes on to say that the details are basically unknown as to the mission of the Marines, but that:It sounds like it will train friendly forces and be in a position to pivot to high-profile disaster relief efforts,and thatthe Marines will not do double-duty in the drug war...Capt. Armando Daviu likened it to the Marine role in the multinational effort that swept into Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
May 21, 2015
Written by: Mark Foreman/Project RENEW Committee Chair
As some of you may know, last January the VFP Board of Directors agreed to act as the fiduciary between Project RENEW and USAID if Project RENEW could secure a 6.8 million dollar grant from USAID. Project RENEW's grant proposal is designed to help Vietnamese victims of Unexploded Ordinance and the affects of Agent Orange. Project RENEW submitted it's Concept Paper to USAID in early April and USAID responded with a letter of rejection in mid-May. USAID rejected Project RENEW's Concept Paper for two reasons:
Rights Groups Send An Open Letter to President Obama and Ashton Carter: Free the 57 Guantánamo Prisoners Approved for Transfer
May 20, 2015
Together the undersigned organizations call for the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to be closed, and we ask President Obama and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to swiftly transfer the 57 prisoners at Guantánamo who have already been cleared for transfer—the majority for over five years—and release or charge in a federal court those who have not been cleared for transfer.
May 23 marks the second anniversary of President Obama's promise to resume releasing prisoners from Guantánamo, after Congress raised legislative obstacles, which he made during remarks at the National Defense University. The President's promise was prompted in particular by a prison-wide hunger strike at Guantánamo, undertaken by men who—according to SOUTHCOM Commander General John Kelly—were "devastated" that the administration had "backed off" closing the prison.
May 20, 2015
Itinerary, prices, and details for the Summer trip to Cuba.
Paste this link into your browser: http://cubaexplorer.com/tours/jrc/
Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions either by email or telephone.
Because of the late date, please contact me either by email or phone to let me know if you can make it or not.
323-436-5223 Don't hesitate to call at any time.
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