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Cindy Sheehan: Lift Your Head

Lift Your Head

By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 28 September 2006

I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life.
- Mohandas Gandhi

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, having its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
- Declaration of Independence

71 Peaceful Protestors Arrested at Capitol
Four Peace Activists Arrested at Sen. Charles Grassley's Office in Iowa
Students, Parents United to Stop Calls From Military Recruiters
AWOL Soldier to Surrender at Army Base
25 Arrested in Front of UN
One Dozen Arrested at Sen. Santorum's Office

Above are recent headlines which show that North Americans, citizens of the USA, are getting fed up with bowing their heads to the criminals du jour who inhabit our White House.

It has always been our birthright and absolute imperative to peacefully protest our government and to hold them accountable to represent us the way that we want to be represented. Through the Clinton years, when we thought we were peaceful and apparently prosperous, we were lulled into a comfortable complacency. Since 9/11, we have been bullied into being fearful of the boogeyman and our now-vindicated toiletry items that can rejoin us in airplane cabin.

Those of us who spoke out against George and his war were marginalized and demonized. Phil Donahue was fired for being too outspoken, Mrs. Joe Wilson was outed, General Eric Shinseki was forced to retire, vile accusations were leveled against weapons inspectors who dared to say that Saddam had none, etc., etc. Even if we disagreed with the impending invasion, many of us were terrified to say anything lest we be reduced to "focus groups."

Now it appears that people are not terrified to stand up for peace and justice. I am so proud of America for not buying into the bull crap that if you oppose the illegal occupation of Iraq, then you are exactly like a "Nazi sympathizer." (Who wants to be equated with Georgie's grandpappy, Prescott Bush). It makes me proud to be an American, because we are putting our bodies on the line for peace.

It is now the time to stand up and be counted and tell this out of control government of ours that we are withdrawing our consent to be governed by them.

Our dear young people, who made the horrible mistake of joining our military, are being further abused by their lily-livered civilian leadership and having their deployments extended when they never should have been in Iraq in the first place.

Our nation's National Guard are being asked to perform duties that they never enlisted for and they are also being held hostage to Halliburton in Iraq.

The people of Iraq are being killed for having the unmitigated gall of having been born on and living on top of Exxon's oil.

Now is the time to rise up. Now is the time to lift our heads and refuse to be bowed by war criminals. Now.

I have a story to share. When I was in Jordan with the peace contingent, meeting with Iraqi parliamentarians, we heard the testimony of a Sheik who is also a respected mullah in Iraq. He told us that members of the US Army broke into his house, raped his wife, beat him severely, and took him to prison, where he was further tortured in compliance with George's barbaric and cruel policies. All of this happened in front of his teenaged son.

Listening to him describe his injuries and the awful treatment he received from my country, I apologized to him, weeping. No human being should treat another human being so inhumanely. He listened then he said this: "My son's dream is to get a rifle and climb up onto a rooftop and assassinate Americans. I will tell him that there are Americans like you and encourage him not to do this thing."

Now, imagine that you are sitting at home with your family. Maybe you are all watching "Dancing with the Stars." A foreign invader breaks in rapes the mom and beats and hauls off the dad. How would your son feel? How would you feel? Would your family be justified in resisting the violence and repression? Or would you just bow your head and say: thank God for the freedom and democracy these fine people are bestowing on me?

I wonder how much money was spent on the CIA National Intelligence Estimate that reports that George's war of terror on Iraq is causing Islamic Jihadism to arise. Duh. Any person who thinks knows that committing atrocities on humans only breeds hatred and animosity, not grateful feelings of love and support for one's oppressor.

We had planes tragically fly into our buildings on 9/11, killing our loved ones and destroying our sense of safety, but they were not flown into the buildings by the babies of Iraq and Afghanistan. What's the difference between flying planes into buildings and causing innocent deaths and dropping bombs from planes on buildings and causing innocent deaths? It is time to quit repaying hate with hate and violence with violence.

I am so pleased that more people are lifting up their heads against the repression and violence of our government. But it will take all of us. It will take a concerted effort by each and every one of us to finally end the cycle of never-ending death.

Please support Rep. Jim McGovern's HR 4232 that calls for immediate de-funding of the killing in Iraq.

Come join GSFP and the Camp Casey Peace Institute in Washington, DC, on election day to show BushCo that we are withdrawing our consent to be governed by torturers and killers.

We are fed up. We want our country back.


Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is the author of Peace Mom, available now from Atria Books.

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