CodePink 4 Peace to counter Bush?s Code Red

Diary from the Women for Peace anti-war vigil outside White House


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WASHINGTON, DC, November 18, 2002?As President Bush prepares to invade Iraq, prominent women, mothers, human rights activists and women's groups from around the country gathered yesterday at Lafayette Park in front of the White House to launch a 16 week vigil/fast for peace.'All over the world, women disproportionately bear the effects of war and conflict,' Medea Benjamin, founder of Global Exchange said to the gathering, which began the vigil yesterday morning in a pouring rain. 'An attack on Iraq will undoubtedly kill tens of thousands of civilians, many of them women and children. As mothers, we have a special moral authority to say that war is not the answer and a special obligation to actively oppose war.' Unreasonable Women for the Earth and Codepink4peace joined with other women's groups in kicking off the vigil. Each week the Women's Peace Vigil will feature a different theme about the costs of war. Featured themes include the impact of war on children, the impact of war on the environment, the financial costs of war, who profits from war, and the disproportionate enlistment of people of color and poor people. Targeted demonstrations and especially designed educational events will help illustrate the different weekly themes.Diane Wilson, the Texas fisherwoman and hunger striker for the victims of the chemical spill in Bhopal, announced her commitment to increase the length of her hunger strike to 40 days. For Diane 'this is the bottom line, I do this for the future of the planet I have been working to protect and a future for my children.' She said a hunger strike is the most powerful action she can do, 'The strength of my intent is more than meets the eye' she proclaimed. Some of the survivors of Bhopal she was helping earlier in the year will join her from India. Other women around the country are joining her in the park and from their homes (register to join her at codepink4peace.org). Diane said she was amazed at the women who have just appeared out of the woodwork during the last week of planning with their generosity and joy.As they all escaped the rain by climbing into a temporary tent, while the DC police moved in to have it pulled down, Nina Utne, CEO of Utne magazine, a bit worried about embarking on a fast given her enormous work load said, 'I have decided to get involved in this peace vigil, and to fast, for the sake of my children. I don't want them, or any other mother's children, to be put in harms way for what I consider an unnecessary war.' Nina smiled and said, 'We feel like completely drowned rats but everyone is in such good humor and spirits. This was an auspicious beginning, all good things begin with the rain washing away what isn't needed.'Diane Wilson ended the kickoff by proclaiming, 'We will encourage more women to stand up and speak out. As our numbers grow, our voices will be heard.' To find out more and how you can participate: www.codepink4peace.org.?Jodie Evans, The Bad Babes and their Buddies