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By Cindy Sheehan
Once, shortly before the 2004 presidential elections, I was having lunch with a friend from my old life: my life pre-April 4th when Casey was killed in Iraq. She informed me that she was going to vote for George Bush because he is "pro-life." My answer to her was:
"If George Bush is pro-life, then why is Casey dead?" She could not give me an answer and did not see the hypocrisy in someone who is supposed to be "pro-life" sending thousands of our young people to die and kill other innocents in foreign aggressions based on lies and for profit.
I have always been for a women's reproductive freedom over her own body, even in the years that I was a Roman Catholic. I never appointed myself judge or jury over a woman who had to make a very difficult choice. However, the pro-choice issue is not the only "women's issue" in our world today…obviously!
A columnist for one of this country's self-proclaimed "progressive" magazines talked to my campaign manager, Tiffany Burns, the other day about our trip to Egypt to protest against the client dictator of the US, Hosni Mubarak, trying civilians in a military court. Using military tribunals is forbidden under international, regional and national law in Egypt and our government is doing the same thing in Guantanamo. But the columnist kept trying to get Ms. Burns to say that I supported the Muslim Brotherhood's attempt to take over the government of Egypt to make it an Islamic state that would not recognize women's rights. Tiffany could not say it because it is not true, and the columnist finally said: "Does Cindy care about women's issues at all?" When Tiffany said: "Of course, even in Egypt we met with wives and mothers…" The columnist cut her off and said: "I said women, not mothers"
Hmm…the last time I checked, not all women are mothers, but all mothers are women. Who does Ms. Columnist think gets hurt the most in our nation's wars for profit? I never felt more acutely a woman than when I fell on the floor screaming for my son when he was killed in Iraq. My son, the flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. The one that I carried in my woman's body for nine months; nourished him for 14 months more with the fluid that was manufactured in my woman's body and tried to protect his body from harm until he was 21 and was entrapped by the US Military Industrial Complex. Would my "issue" of being a woman hurt by violence been more acceptable or palatable to Ms. Columnist if I had chosen to abort Casey rather than give birth to him?
Our illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq has not "liberated" women who were highly educated and worked as doctors and other trained professionals under a tyrannical regime. Now, after almost five years of US occupation, in many instances women are being forced to wear veils or are being forbidden from attending school. Women in Iraq are not only having to deal with daily violence and the primal fear of worrying about children and other loved ones but also they are dealing with daily primitive conditions of water, food and power deprivation. Our aggression in Afghanistan has not improved the condition of women either, and if possible, has made their lives harder Hundreds of thousands of women (married, single, with children, or not), have been killed, displaced, wounded, raped and oppressed under the Bush regime's destructive foreign policy agenda. Does Ms. Columnist think that my tireless efforts to end the occupations are "women's issues?"
According to Nobel Laureate in Economics, Joseph Stiglitz, one of the three trillions that this bloody occupation have cost US taxpayers could rather have paid for: 8 million housing units, or 15 million public school teachers, or healthcare for 530 million children for a year, or scholarships to university for 43 million students. Three trillion could have fixed America's social security problem for half a century. A peace economy is inherently more just for women, children and families, than a permanent war economy. I believe that whether one is a "woman" or a "woman who also happens to be a mother," peace and prosperity would benefit us all.
In my efforts to call attention to humanitarian crises all over the world and in my Independent run for Congress, I have tried to deconstruct the labels and pigeonholes that we all put ourselves and others into. After creating our own personal segmentation, it is so easy for us to allow the fascist-elite of government and media to compartmentalize humanity so as to first demonize, then oppress, kill, or impoverish certain segments.
Ms. Columnist self-identifies as a "feminist" and has endorsed Obama over Clinton. Why? Does she think that Obama will be better on "women's issues" than Clinton? I do not know and I really do not care why she chose to endorse Tweedledee over Tweedledum, but the choice seems a little strange-ish to me. If Ms. Columnist identified herself as a humanist, then I could better comprehend her choice and it would not be controversial.
I self-identify as a "humanist" and I have a fundamental hatred and disgust of oppression and violence wherever it happens or whomever it happens to.
All people who are in the human category deserve the rights to: good paying (union) jobs; a living, not minimum, wage; healthy food; clean water; warm shelter; health insurance; and good and accessible (for all) education. All people have the fundamental human rights to live in environments that are also healthy and free from war and violence or to marry or partner with whomever they choose as consenting adults.
Segmented killing and hatred will only stop when we enlarge our personal, national, and international circles of concern to include all six billion people on this planet: not just the white ones, Christian ones, American ones, female ones, or any ones.
Simply put: every one.