July 18, 2006
The people of the Middle East are suffering once again as militarists on all sides have launched yet another devastating round of violence — this time between Israel and Lebanon. Each bomb dropped, each child killed, represents our collective failure to live together as a human family, and the ascendance of irrational militarism over the values of empathy and compassion.
We are appalled not only by the violence itself but the lack of international leadership to try to stop it. This is especially true for those of us who are living in the United States: While the world is crying out for global intervention to stop the madness, our government is blocking the international community from calling for a ceasefire — confusing Israel’s right to defend itself with the choice to kill innocent civilians and blow up Lebanon’s bridges, airports and power stations.
Despite the Lebanese death toll exceeding 200 and the Israeli count at 24, efforts to turn to diplomacy have been met with extreme skepticism. Last Thursday, July 13th, in response to Israel launching a massive new military assault on Gaza because of the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, the U.N. Security Council introduced a resolution calling for ALL sides to exercise restraint. This resolution was vetoed by John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the UN. On Sunday, a UN attempt to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah was once again blocked by the U.S.
Meanwhile, news about Iraq has fallen to the back pages of our newspapers, despite the fact that over 100 civilians have been killed in the past few days. Once again, we find the U.S. government impeding efforts by the Iraqi government and armed opponents to move toward a reconciliation plan that would include the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
|When our government fails to act on behalf of those suffering, we-as responsible citizens-must act. Here are some suggestions:
1. Contact Ambassador John Bolton at the U.S. Mission to the UN by calling (212) 415-4050 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him to call for a ceasefire.
2. Contact UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and implore the UN must show leadership and demand a ceasefire. Email: email@example.com and/or Fax: (212) 963-1921.
3. Attend local demonstrations and vigils. You can find out more information about local actions by clicking here or by connecting with peace groups working on this issue in your area. Read about one local community’s response to the conflict by clicking here.
4. Join the fast.We are entering our third week of the fast, in which over 4,000 people have already participated.
Today is the 16th day of our fast in DC and around the world. While we continue to focus on bringing our troops home from Iraq, we’re also incorporating the call to end the violence throughout the Middle East into our peace work and specifically into the goals of our Troops Home Fast. It’s moments like this when fasting can deepen our commitment and enhance our vision of the world we want to live in.
With undying hope for peace,
Allison, Dana, Erin, Farida, Gael, Jodie, Katie, Laura, Medea, Meredith, Nancy, Rae, Samantha and Tiffany