Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Perspective from a National WILPF Staff Member

US WILPF has a small, extremely dedicated staff who work in our Philadelphia office. Our Leadership and Outreach Coordinator, Jody Dodd, wrote the following yesterday and asked me to post it to the blog.
Dear Friends,
Sitting in the position of being national staff for an international women's peace and justice organization, many of our days are filled with incoming news of war, injustice, violence and oppression .... an item, a story, a piece of legislation, much of which I find challenging to both the work of peace and justice and to me personally as a human being on the planet. We here in the office will talk about it, perhaps plan a part of our work to address it, or pass on the news, hoping that our colleagues and friends will join us in speaking out.

Today feels different.

Today I learned that the House passed a bill in December, The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 that would make it a felony to be undocumented in the US and would also make it a felony to assist anyone who is undocumented. In addition it calls for the permanent detention of all arrested undocumented peoples until they are deported.

It sounds so outrageous..... so improbable, both morally and practically..... then I get the next piece of information:

KBR, the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton Co., announced on Jan. 24 that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded KBR a five-year $385 million "Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity" (IDIQ) contingency contract to support ICE facilities in the event of an emergency. The contract, effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to expand existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the US, or to support the rapid development of new programs, KBR said. The contract may also provide immigrant detention support to other government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, the company said. The competitively awarded contract will be executed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District. KBR held the previous ICE contract from 2000 through 2005. [MarketWatch 1/24/06; Business Wire 1/24/06]

And then from the School of the Americas (SOA) Watch......
"The week after a military jury in Colorado decided not to jail an Army interrogator even after they found him guilty of negligent homicide in the torture and killing of an Iraqi detainee, a federal judge in Columbus, Georgia is sentencing nonviolent activists to federal prison."

Three of the 32 people on trial are WILPF members.......
Chris Gaunt, age 49, sentenced to 6 months
Robin Lloyd, age 67, sentenced to 3 months
Rita Hohenshell, age 80, sentenced to 2 months

All of the above come on the heels of the news in the past couple of weeks of the indictments of over 20 folks out west who are in jail, no bail and are being charged with multiple felonies, accused of conspiracy to commit and/or committing arson. They are alleged members of Earth Liberation Front or Animal Liberation Front. Last week, Alberto Gonzales himself held a press conference to declare them "the number one domestic terrorist threat in this country." Even IF they did everything they are accused of..... not ONE PERSON DIED! Do you hear me, not one person! And, given the miserable track record of the police and feds in arresting many activists who didn't do a damn thing..... I suspect that is probably true in these cases as well. In fact, the 3 arrested in Sacramento were being held based on an FBI affidavit of probable cause based on the flat out lie that "they were in attendance at a demonstration in Philadelphia where demonstators assaulted a police officer that resulted in his death"..... those of us who were here in Philadelphia at that demonstration know that the officer died of a heart attack on a very hot summer day.Even the police commissioner here went on TV and said there was no evidence that the demonstrators has anything to do with his death!........

Then ...... we get word that last Friday the United States voted with Iran, China, Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe to deny Consultative status at the United Nations to 2 NGOs from Belgium and Denmark who address Human Rights of the global Lesbian/GayBisexual/Transgender community....

Alito just got confirmed and sworn in.

My brain literally feels like it is going to explode!!!!! Revolution anyone???

In Tears and Solidarity,


  • Jody your statement was so sobering on this first day of February in the year two thousand and six.
    I am a new member of WILPF who has been working on the fields of making this a better world for a long time.
    Please we must not lose hope.
    We must realize that also on this same day a mother rises to help her child walk for the very first time. An unknown man picks up trash from his neighbor's yard. A school child shares her last piece of candy and hands it to someone she thinks might need it more than she does. A great grandmother stays up late to write a letter to the President of the United States asking him to please let those young people serving in Iraq just come home. A Foreign Service Aide worker rides with a sweaty brow in an open armed military jeep from the northern edge of Afghanistan to Kabul under the threat of insurgent gunfire. Thirty-seven abused horses are rescued on the eastern slope of Colorado. A young photographer takes a photograph of muslim girls learning to read and write for the very first time in Albania. A woman, in Lawrence, Kansas, finds a bird's nest on the ground and with much care places it tenderly back in its tree.
    The point with all this is... While humanity contemplates how it can successfully destroy the earth and everyone in it other human beings at the same time are also loving, giving and sharing what little they have with each other and the world at large.
    The important part of this long story is this....
    We must speak out when we see or hear or feel something wrong is going on.
    If we do not speak out now we are just as guilty as those who are committing the dark deeds that the media is hoping we will believe are all that's left of this world.
    Thank you Jody and everyone on staff at WILPF for your strong fortitude for your efforts.
    Thank you for believing in a better world.
    Please.... never stop believing.
    All best to you.
    -Lys Anzia

    By Anonymous Lys Anzia, at 8:59 PM  

  • Jody, you speak for so many of us. I'm here in the heartland and know that very many persons here know what you know and feel what you feel. And feel terribly helpless that it just goes on and on. I'm very glad you are full time staff and can keep on working away to keep the chaos at bay. It's hard to sit back and think: "This too shall pass" We all need to be ranting and railing against this darkness. I'm ensconced in a red state, in a republican? community, yet at the local cinema at the end of Roger Moore's latest, there was applause, as well as applause at various times in the film. Last week, at the end of "Brokeback..", there was applause, something I had only heard previously at the end of Moore's film. So for whatever that means, I think it means that the silent majority is not so red as one might suppose.
    Hang in there Jody! We need you to lead us to a better place.

    By Anonymous Genevieve, at 12:12 PM  

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