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A Call to Conscience
By Pete Perry
The National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance is issuing its "Call to Conscience" this winter. As followers of a great nonviolence tradition, we believe we must in a clear and nonviolent voice speak truth to power. The most effective way for us to do will be to hold face to face meetings with our elected representatives, demand an end to the war and occupation of Iraq and thereby stop any further needless slaughter of the men and women who proudly wear our nation's military uniforms.
The National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR), the primary organizer of the highly successful and historic nonviolent civil resistance action at the White House on September 26, 2005, now calls on all people of good conscience opposed to the war and occupation of Iraq to demand their representatives -- in truth their employees -- act. Should they remain intransigent and continue to fund this administration's failed and immoral policies of imperialism fueled by lies, we urge antiwar activists to nonviolently occupy their offices. Our two-month congressional campaign will commence on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 16, 2006.
"We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate."
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 4, 1967
Approximately 2,100 of our fellow Americans have been killed in the war and occupation of a sovereign nation. It is estimated that anywhere between 27,000-100,000 Iraqis have lost their lives since March 2003 in what Bush has told us is a war of liberation. We who now choose nonviolent resistance realize that our sacrifice is miniscule compared to those suffering in Iraq.
Exactly one year before his assassination, Dr. King courageously spoke out against the Vietnam War in his famous Riverside Church speech. We will be honoring the memory of this great man of love and peace, and other great leaders of the nonviolent resistance tradition, in calling for an immediate end to the war and occupation, and a return home to families and communities for those serving in Iraq.
The National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance will be encouraging groups to make a political demand of co-sponsoring Rep. Jim McGovern's (D-MA) bill 'To prohibit the use of funds to deploy United States Armed Forces to Iraq ' Bill # H.R.4232. However, we understand that those in extremely conservative districts may wish to urge co-sponsorship of a more moderate bill, such as the one offered by Rep. John Murtha (D-PA). Those groups electing to approach their senators might wish to insist that companion bills be immediately introduced in the Senate.
NCNR has attempted on different occasions, including the most recent September action, to speak to President Bush and bring him the names of both Iraqi and Americans killed in this unjustified war of aggression. We have been turned away each time and arrested for simply presenting a petition of our grievances. On September 26, 273 people of good conscience, including Cindy Sheehan and numerous spiritual leaders of different faiths, were arrested at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We know the president is uninterested in what we have to say, and he is insulated from voices of dissent. We have therefore decided to open a direct dialogue with our elected representatives, whom we have the power to hire and fire.
We understand the administration will soon be requesting Congress fund the war by $100 billion for this year alone. We must act now! We hope that our campaign becomes a companion to similar legislative actions pursued by other groups and coalitions, such as initiatives being pursued by United for Peace and Justice.
We want to hear from you if you want to participate in our "Call to Conscience." For more information on the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance's "Call to Conscience" go to http://www.iraqpledge.org/call_to_conscience.htm