Friday, March 18, 2005

Communities For Peace Introduces Peace Ambassador

At the Eureka peace rally scheduled to start in just a few hours, Communities For Peace will announce Linda Sorter as the first designated Peace Ambassador. For more details, read on. I think the author of the following is Ellen Taylor but I will post a correction if necessary. This was submitted as an opinion piece for the Eureka Reporter but I don't think it has yet been published.


U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East is a moral and legal imperative. In pursuit of this objective, local peace organizations have invited everyone to a rally this Saturday, March 19th to oppose the war in Iraq, joining other community demonstrations throughout the nation and around the world. Polls show that the majority of Americans oppose the war, yet, in spite of massive and repeated protests, the occupation is entering its third year, with no sign of ending. As of today, 1516 of our soldiers have died and 11,220 been wounded. The casualty rates are increasing: 58% more deaths, 178% more wounded in the occupation’s second year. Damage to Iraq, of course, is incalculable.

All this is is a heavy responsibility for us as citizens to bear and the effectiveness of rallies in ending the war was naturally called into question. Especially for communities as remote from the seat of power as Humboldt’s, there is a sense of helplessness, of total inability to influence the flow of events. Moreover, our news sources are increasingly propaganda-tainted, with information prepackaged by State Department PR firms, and distributed by local TV stations as if it were real news. It is on this dubious product that most of us are obliged to form an opinion.

Communities for Peace therefore made the decision to send to Washington a permanent Peace Ambassador. Our Ambassadors will be ordinary Humboldt County residents with no special expertise in diplomacy. They will employ their virtue and common sense to counter the lobbyists whose only loyalty is to the special interests that pay them. The Ambassadors will work for peace, assisting our elected representatives toward this objective. They will be meeting with the government agencies affecting policy and funding for local services, such as education, fire and police, all drained by the war budget.

The Ambassadorship will be filled on a rotating basis, with service for two weeks or more. Anyone is eligible to serve, and urged to apply. Expenses will be paid, if needed, with funds raised by Communities For Peace.

Many people say they are not interested in politics. What they probably mean is that politics frightens them. They certainly do not mean that they are not interested in their own quality of life, their financial security, their health, their children’s education, all matters which depend on politics. Traveling to Washington as Peace Ambassador, however, might seem a formidable undertaking. Communities For Peace will prepare any Humboldt County resident for the office, providing background on relevant issues, scheduling appointments, Thus, the program will provide a civic education and empower members of our community as citizens in a working democracy.

The trend toward secretiveness in government demands more participation, not acquiescence. We anticipate other communities to follow our lead and send their own citizen Ambassadors.

As the great jurist-king Hammurabi wrote in 1800BC in a land now known as Iraq, "The first duty of government is to protect the powerless against the powerful." Peace Ambassadors are an important step in returning to this fundamental principle of justice, and restoring peace.



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