Cindy Sheehan: Peace Takes Courage
Peace Takes Courage
By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Wednesday 26 April 2006
I have a new friend. She is a 15-year-young peace activist named Ava Lowery. She is disgusted with the war and with the Bush regime, and she has started to use her talents for animation to make cartoons that oppose Bush and the war in Iraq.
She first came to my attention when I read an article about all of the ugly hate mail she is getting on her site for a particularly poignant and brilliant animation she has called: "WWJD." It is a heartbreaking piece that has a child singing "Jesus loves me," and during the song she shows pictures of dead, wounded, bloody and screaming Iraqi children. She wanted to show how Jesus loves Iraqi children also, which is apparently a frightening concept to the people who practice Bushianity.
For this inspired bit of courageous matriotism, Ava has been the object of intense and horribly ugly hate emails and not too subtle threats to do her bodily harm. As soon as I heard about her troubles, I emailed her, and she phoned me right away so we could talk.
Even before I went to Crawford last summer, I was the object of these attacks by many people who touted themselves as Christians doing God's work. The attacks are rabidly obscene and horrible in their rage and just downright meanness. There are entire web sites dedicated to assailing me and my character and where such comments as "Someone ought to do the world a favor and shoot the bitch in the head to shut her up" are common. During Camp Casey, we had to refer more than one death threat to the FBI.
One particularly wicked threat was sent to me the night before I testified at Congressman Conyers's Downing Street Memo Hearings in June, I got an email from a man who said that he hoped that my other three children would die. I think these people level pretty harsh punishments at other people who are only exercising their freedom of speech, when the person who is responsible for killing American soldiers and executing innocent Iraqi children and making them orphans is touted as a fine Christian man.
God help anyone who speaks out against the anti-American Bush regime that condones torture and use of chemical weapons of mass destruction. God help anyone who refuses to be silenced in the face of our government that commits war crimes and crimes against humanity. The individuals who call 15-year-old girls and Gold Star Moms vile names and threaten our lives are the lowest denominator in our society, and these people are the ones who need to be marginalized and stopped. Open and honest discourse in our society is welcomed and encouraged, and our differences are only eclipsed by our commonalities, but obscene and destructive assaults on fellow human beings only adds to the violence in our already all too-violent society.
Ava is not calling for a violent overthrow of our government, nor is she the one who is being obscene. Ava is not the one who sent our troops into harm's way, thus condemning the innocent people of Iraq to death and heartache. Ava is only showing the images that have been brought to the world by BushCo, and the people who crassly try to intimidate a 15-year-old girl are threatened by the truth and should be ashamed of their support of the disorganized crime mob in DC and ashamed of the way they talk to a young lady who is doing her best to make the world a better place.
How many scandals will it take for the 32 percent of the population who still support murder and mayhem dressed up in suits and ties to wake up and honor people like Ava and not trash them?
Ava is one tough and compassionate cookie, and she needs our support and love. Please go to her site, PeaceTakesCourage.com, and drop a note of support to our little sister in peace. Her type of behavior needs to be encouraged, emulated and rewarded, and I can guarantee you, she will be one of the first recipients of a Camp Casey Peace Prize for young activists.
I honor Ava and I am proud to be her friend. She is a true American who wants to grow up in a country that is honorable and just. This is her right, and she is properly claiming it. I hope she inspires you to do the same.
Cindy is the founder of Gold Star Families for Peace and mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, who was a victim of the Bush Regime's war of terror on 4/4/04. She is the author of Not One More Mother's Child.