Cindy Sheehan: Starving for Attention
Troops Home Fast: Day One
By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Wednesday 05 July 2006
It is midnight of the 5th of July and 24 hours since thousands of us began the Troops Home Fast.
Some of us will be fasting completely until the troops come home; some will be on liquids only until the troops come home; some will fast for 2 weeks, 2 days; or like me, until at least September 21st.
Hundreds of peace-loving and dedicated people joined us organizers of the fast outside the White House during the past two eventful and event-filled days. The Granny Peace Brigade walked from NYC to DC in solidarity with the fast and with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and our soldiers who are suffering so profoundly under the US-led occupations.
People joined us from as far away as Texas and California in person, and thousands were with us in spirit from all over the world. We are starting a historic and very meaningful action. We were honored by being joined by legendary fasters Dick Gregory and Diane Wilson and historic whistle blower and patriotic giant Daniel Ellsberg.
Standing apart from our hundreds of supporters were about a dozen Freepers who were holding various signs (which is as much their right as it is ours) with very "clever" messages on them. A few of the signs had the very pithy "Freedom Isn't Free." Well, I'm sorry, but the very definition of freedom is that it is free. Freedom is a birthright of every American, and we have the Bill of Rights to prove it. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that our young people have to fight insane wars for greedy swine to earn anyone any kind of freedoms. If freedom wasn't free it would be called "expensivedom."
I was particularly impressed by a very slick and professionally made sign that the Freepers had. It was a large pinkish sign with white letters that read: Cindy Sheehan is Starving for Attention."
Yes, that is why I am embarking on this fast. It is not because our nation with the complacent, if not intellectual, approval of most of our citizens is waging a war crime of mammoth proportions in Iraq. It's not because our soldiers are committing atrocities on an innocent population who never asked for our lethal interference. I am not fasting because our soldiers should not be dying or killing for Exxon and Halliburton. I am not sitting here with mild hunger pangs because our leadership condones and orders others to commit cruelties on my fellow human beings in such brutal places as Guantanamo. I am not fasting because the wrongfully, illegally, and immorally detained men in Guantanamo are going on their own hunger strikes and committing suicide to call attention to the fact that they are human beings who do not deserve to be tortured and tormented. I am not fasting so no other mother has to drop to her knees screaming in agony because her child is dead for nothing.
On the contrary, I get plenty of attention and our troops are still in Iraq. I am doing it precisely for all of the reasons above. Maybe people have to ascribe nefarious motivations to our actions because they can't conceive of leaving their comfort zones for another member of humanity.
The people of Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering so miserably. Our soldiers want to come home. Our country wants them to come home. The world wants them to come home. The people of Iraq want our soldiers to leave. Generals are recommending time tables. We fasters figure that we can sacrifice something in solidarity with the suffering in the Middle East. What we are giving up is so insignificant compared to what our soldiers and the people they are oppressing are giving up. It's about time BushCo recognizes that staying a reckless and murderous course is inherently disordered and they should turn around and order our troops to come home.
I encourage everyone in America to move away from the comfortable complacency that allows BushCo to kill people with impunity. If we don't stand up and speak out against their offenses and for accountability, the crimes will continue even into the next administration, whichever party is in power.
How can we not fast, or march, or write, or speak, or rally, or go to Camp Casey, or sacrifice something, anything, when the people of Iraq - and many of our soldiers - don't even have enough food to eat or clean water to drink? How can we numbly go shopping for groceries when unsuspecting and undeserving people in Iraq are being killed when simply going to the market to buy food for their families?
We have to fast.
Reflect and ask yourself: Why aren't I?
Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is also co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and author of Not One More Mother's Child and Dear President Bush.