Friday, May 26, 2006

Cindy Sheehan hits Melbourne - part 3/3

Finally, after all the other speakers, Cindy took the stage, introduced as the mother who lost her son in Iraq.

The previous speaker, the Iraqi doctor, had mentioned that he couldn't speak at medical conference in Europe because someone had told him he was coloured. So Cindy started her speech with:

"Thank you, Dr Ismael. Actually, I'm coloured too. I've been made an honorary member of the Black Congress and Caucus. And I'm an honorary Native American. We're all some kind of colour. I'm kind of peachy in color. We all have a little bit of colour, we should all say we're coloured."

You may only have 1 killed but 1 is too many. You know people say "oh we don't care because we haven't had the casualties America's had". Can you imagine that mother ? Can you imagine that wife when she hears things like that - "Oh we've only lost one" ? One to her might have been her only child. Even if it was, I have four kids. Casey was my oldest. People say, you know, people who have never lost a child say thank god she has more than one. Its like losing an arm, and someone saying you have 3 more limbs. Well thats true but you're missing one of your arms. And.. Australia may have lost only one soldier, but America has lost over 2500 and Britain has lost over 100, and really 24/2500 in America with all those soldiers is statistically not that important. But each soldier was a living breathing member of their family and their community."

"I met a woman in Sydney the other day who had lost 19 members of her family in Afghanistan. People say Afghanistan is just a fight, well I say its not just a fight. Afghanistan didn't attack America on 9-11. Osama Bin Laden did. And he's still out loose. We haven't captured that person who attacked America. Nobody attacked Australia. The people of Iraq were no threat to you, they were no threat to America, and I know the people of Australia have always stood out against the war. But its not enough to be against it. On Sunday, I'm gonna go to John Howard's residence in Sydney, we're gonna have a demonstration there. We're gonna ask to meet with him, I probably won't be able. But where are the Australian military families ? They need to get out, they need to go the residence. They need to stand up and say, "What kind of cause, are you sending our children to invade a country that was no threat to Australia ?" And you have to say to, "John Howard, why are you getting so buddy buddy with George Bush when hes not even popular in America ?"

She then read out a letter from another soldiers family and told the audience of how touched she was. She complained about a fellow British peace activist being arrested:

"This past year the British parliament passed a law called the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act of 2005. The Act restricts freedom of speech and freedom of assembly around Parliament. And number 10 Downing St. Citizens who break this law can be arrested and often are. A young woman went in front of Parliament building and read the names of 97 war dead, she was arrested. An old man started yelling at Jack Straw for his complicity in war crimes, and he was arrested."

"These prohibitions and many more on freedom of speech and dissent seem eerily familiar to me. I have been hauled in twice for exercising my 1st amendment rights. Thats now 4 times. I have tried to petition my government on dozens of occasions to redress the wrongs that George Bush and the other neo-con monsters have inflicted on the world and my family. I have spent a lot of money, sacrificed so much, and have troubled far and wide to do so. No one in the government is listening, no one pays attention. I was speaking to a large crowd of hundreds of peace activists in London, at an international peace conference and I challenged them to take back the freedoms that our governments have taken away from us. Just as thousands of people travelled from all around the world to join us at camp Casey this summer, I wondered why hundreds of people didn't go to Parliament and scream out the names of the slaughtered British war heros, after the young woman was arrested for doing the same. "

"Why do we have American, or Australian, or British people sitting complacently by while our government uses chemical weapons in Iraq? George Bush says that Saddam Hussein is a bad man because he used chemical weapons against his own people. What does that make George Bush and the leader of the war department? I think it makes them bad men. I think it makes John Howard a bad man. Why do we allow it continue ?"


"If you are doing nothing for peace and justice in this world, do something. If you are doing something, do more. Our survival on this planet demands immediate attention. Now its the time to leave our comfort zones and make a difference. [LOUD APPLAUSE]. I see it wherever I go in the world, the complacency of what is going. I see it here in Australia. I see that it has everything to do with with the creeping, corporate colonialism, of our corporations. That they want us to be this way. They want us to care more about a football game than about the world. In America, they care more about who is the next American Idol than the war. In America, we care more about a horse that broke its ankles than about our children, than Iraqi children who are coming home in body bags or with missing limbs."

"We've been talking about Martin Luther King Jr this night. My son was killed the same day he was killed, on April 4th. I don't believe in any coincidences. Casey was born on John F Kennedy's birthday. He was born on the day, and died on the day, of 2 people who were assassinated by the war machine in my country. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated by the war machine in my country, because they were talking about peace. And Martin Luther King said its either peaceful coexistence or mutual annihilation. And with the war drums beating for Iran, thats exactly whats gonna happen. Coz it doesn't matter if its a nuclear, or as George Bush says nucular, attack or conventional attack. Its gonna be devastation for the entire world, not just the people of Iraq or Iran."
On the way out, there were heaps of people trying to raise money and of course, people showing solidarity with the Palestinian terrorist movement:

Good riddance.. I'm heading home for a shower.