and Palestinian Death Tolls Continue to Mount
While the attention of the rest of the world has shifted from this area toward the chaos in Iraq, the Israeli and Palestinian death tolls have continued to mount. Although there are considerable discrepancies in the statistics (all of which come from sources which are considered reliable), several trends stand out clearly. In the five months from September 29, 2003 to March 1, 2004, 94 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians, 27 of them civilians and 67 soldiers, according to the Israeli Defense Force. From the same date up to February 18 of this year, 1,238 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces.* Recent reports indicate that Palestinian deaths have risen sharply since the March meeting of President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon.
If we look at the losses since the beginning of the current Palestinian uprising in September 2000 to March 10, 2004, the scope of the tragedy becomes even clearer. In that 3-year period 198 Israeli civilians and 184 members of Israeli security forces (840 according to one report) were killed. During the same time period 2397 (2700 according to one report) Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces.**
Did you see similar statistics in our mainstream press? Did the press make you aware that Palestinian losses were four, five or more times the Israeli losses?
Each of these deaths is a sad, sad story. People of conscience grieve all of these losses no matter what the nationality of the victim or the perpetrator. Especially tragic are the deaths of the children. Of the Israeli deaths 77 (122 according to one report) were of minors under the age of 18. Of the Palestinians 460 (545 according to one report) were minors.
Recently the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported the staggering information that 52 Palestinian women had given birth at Israeli military checkpoints since 2002. They also stated that 19 women and 29 newborn babies had died at military checkpoints between September 2000 and December 2002.
See the accompanying article for further discussion of the imbalances of the situation between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
* Article by Amira Hass
** Data from
B’tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied
from the Faith-Based Peace and Justice Community
Ecumenical Peace Institute /Clergy & Laity Concerned
You are invited to submit your literary works and black and white photos or illustrations to EPI/CALC for an interfaith anthology on peace and non-violence. This volume will hopefully represent the heart, soul, and experience of members of faith-based communities working for and attesting to the inter-relatedness of their faith and concerns for peace, non-violence, and justice in our world.
We are interested in original works of poetry by those in the faith-based peace and justice community. We are also interested in true-life short stories of those who encountered violence in their lives and how peaceful actions were used to deal with it.
All royalties from the book will be used to advance the mission of EPI/CALC. The editorial committee appointed by the EPI Board retains the final decision as to which submissions are accepted for publication. We thank you in advance for your participation and support of this project.
The Ecumenical Peace Institute / CALCWith each submission please provide
• Your Address
• Your Phone Number
• Your Email Address
Right by Our Children
by Carolyn Scarr
In 1990, I visited a local pastor to ask if EPI could work with him to present a program on the impending war on Iraq and how we might work to prevent it. The pastor told me that every family in his church had someone in Kuwait preparing for the attack. Although he agreed with me, he could not offer an antiwar program to his congregation.
Now, as we commence the second year of the second Iraq war, the faith community has to do better than that.
In many congregations of the various faiths in the community there are probably significant numbers of families with friends and relatives in U.S. military in Iraq –– caught up in a war which they didn’t ask for and in danger every day. Many of them are killing people under the orders they have been given. Some of them are killing people because they are frightened and in unfamiliar circumstances. Some of them have been trained to think of Iraqis as sub-human and kill out of that training. The racism that has run through American thinking since the beginnings of the country are without a doubt a factor in the killings. "They are only (gooks/ragheads). They don’t value life like we do." All of these factors have no doubt gone into the wanton cruelty which has been reliably reported in some of the actions of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
We have got to do better by our children.
We will do better by them if we make it clear that we think the leaders of the United States are making use –– very bad use –– of their lives. Our children in Iraq know by now that the war they are in is not a war to protect the U.S. from attack or invasion. While the Iraqis are proving themselves to be able fighters, they have nothing which could have been used to attack a distant and very well armed opponent. The Iraqis are fighting a home turf war. It is not exportable. Our children know that in their guts. This is one of the reasons why the military suicide rate has risen dramatically. We do not support our troops by pretending they are in Iraq serving their country.
We will do better by our children if we make it clear that we do not condone violence against civilians, either male or female, young or old or in between. This war has been, from its inception, a war against civilians. This war began with thirteen years of siege during which a million and a half civilians died, half of them young children. The attack on Iraq in March of last year resulted almost instantly in a high level of civilian casualties. Families fleeing burning cities were shot at by incoming U.S. soldiers. Attacks on unarmed civilians have continued. In Falluja ambulances were shot at, sometimes by U.S. snipers posted on the roofs of buildings.
The kind of training of their young people that leads them to be able to shoot and kill children is one of the concerns of the Israeli peace movement, that their children are losing an essential component of humanness. When we raise this issue, we too will be defending our children from those in our own government who are trying to dehumanize them.
Our children will come home sick at heart. We will not serve them if we allow the politicians of our country to insist on cheering crowds and parades welcoming them home as if they had been doing something we should all be proud of. We who work for peace have found ways to mourn our children who have died in this war while we mourn those whom they killed.
The appropriate homecoming will be an act of mourning and repentance
in which we recognize the massive failing on the part of our country in
sending our children into the maelstrom from which they return. It must
be an act of deep contrition in which we dedicate ourselves to finding
a Healing Way wherein we all can be cured together, our children and ourselves,
of the warring madness which possessed our nation, once again.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
Speak, my son.
We drank too much,
my buddies and me,
in Nam, and
smoked dope and lived
wild and reckless.
Your body is God’s temple, my son.
Repent, and you are forgiven.
Sin no more.
In the towns –– oh, it was wild ––
many, many nights
I and my buddies,
we slept with prostitutes ––
children really –– but whores just the
same, and we slept with them.
God forgives the repentant sinner, my son.
Sin no more.
There was this village, Father ––
and some of our guys had got killed
and some had got hurt
real bad ––
this village, Father, and
some of those gooks
had to be Cong, Father ––
they just had to be.
We wasted them all,
my buddies and me,
we wasted them
old men and babies
and we burned their straw shacks.
Me and my buddies,
we wasted the whole village.
And, in the jungle we caught
He stood there
skinny and shaking in his
black pajamas and didn’t say
I put my gun to his head.
My buddies held onto him,
and he looked away and didn’t say
anything, just leaned away
as far as he could.
And I wasted him, Father,
his brains and
blood all over the place.
I dream that blood,
the smells and my rage
Absolve me, Father, and let me be
The blood. Oh God! The blood.
There is no sin, my son,
in the service of your country.
But the blood, Father.
© 1992 Carolyn S. Scarr
– what’s going on?
by Carolyn Scarr
In Haiti a human rights disaster is underway. The elected government has been overthrown by military forces armed by the U.S. in support of the wealthy elite. Heavily armed military and irregular forces, including U.S. troops, attack local leaders in poor communities. The U.S. campaign has been supported by the French government. Included in the leadup to the coup has been a massive disinformation campaign against President Aristide and the majority Lavalas Party.
Details of Disinformation
The 2000 election. Many Planted readers will be familiar with the charges of political repression and election fraud levied against President Aristide and the Lavalas government. The details are seldom included in news reports because they don’t bear up under scrutiny. Briefly, in 2000 legislative elections were held. The only complaint is that out of over 300 seats in the national body, eight senators were elected with a plurality but not an absolute majority. (That would be sufficient in U.S. congressional and senatorial races when three or more candidates are running.) Later in 2000, President Aristide was elected by a landslide in one of the world’s most scrutinized elections. No observer argues that this election was less than exemplary. Upon taking office, President Aristide requested the senators whose election continued to be challenged to step down. Seven did. The term of the eighth senator expired. None of the eight was in office at the time of the coup. So much for the supposed failures of the democratic process. Perhaps the U.S. should look at the log in its own eye.
Gangs, Thugs & Chimeras. People have been killed in Haiti, as elsewhere. Some of these deaths are laid at the feet of the Lavalas government and President Aristide personally even when they were clearly the result of common crimes. Since over 70% of the population holds membership in the Lavalas Party, some crimes have undoubtedly been committed by Lavalas members. This does not mean that the leaders of the party ordered the crimes.
Jean Dominique. The April 2000 murder of popular pro-democracy journalist Jean Dominique has drawn the most international attention. Jean Dominique was a life-long crusader for democracy and a vocal critic of the U.S. role in Haitian affairs. At the time of his death, he was broadcasting scathing reports about U.S. government interference in the upcoming Haitian elections. [see www.haitiaction.org.]
I recently asked a leading local disseminator of accusations against Aristide to provide me with evidence supporting his frequently postings laying Dominique’s death at Aristide’s door. He responded by comparing me with the apologists for Stalinist repression. My reply requesting actual data supporting his accusations resulted in his cutting off our "dialogue".
Coup in Action
The eradication of popular organizations and Lavalas Party loyalists. Anthony Fenton reporting on his fact-finding mission to post-coup Haiti in " Witch Hunt in Haiti by the Bush and ‘Boca Raton’ Regimes" states:
These chilling comments come from a conversation that took place on the tail end of my recent trip to Haiti with the first large post-coup ‘fact-finding’ delegation. [www.zmag.org/*]
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 13 (IPS) - The United States and France have intimidated Caribbean countries into delaying an official request for a probe into the murky circumstances under which Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted from power in February, according to diplomatic sources here.
The two veto-wielding permanent members of the 15-nation Security Council have signaled to Caribbean nations that they do not want a U.N. probe of Aristide’s ouster.... "I don’t think any purpose would be served by an inquiry," U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters during a 24-hour visit to Haiti last week. [Tue Apr 13, Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service]
Since Haiti lacks oil and other key mineral resources, it is sometimes hard to figure out why Haiti needs to be kept in the U.S.-controlled economic empire. The first reason is that any hole in the dike will grow. Even a small country running its own affairs for its own benefit sets a dangerous precedent for others. Presently the whole system will unravel. Consider the pressure Cuba has been under since it threw out its U.S.-sponsored dictator in 1959.
Haiti has a very low-paid labor force. President Aristide’s greatest crime in the eyes of the business establishment has been his efforts to establish a livable minimum wage. Curiously, beginning two weeks after the coup I received numerous email invitations to do business with "PromoCapital, The Haitian-American Investment Bank" which "work[s] with our individual and corporate clients to put together successful business ventures." With addresses in Florida and in Petionville, Haiti, this outfit describes itself as having been founded on January 1, 2004, having grown out of plans begun in early 2003 –– about the time that major shipments of military weaponry were shipped to the Dominican Republic from the United States.
On February 27, 2004, Senator Michael DeWine (R-OH) reintroduced the Haiti Economic Recovery Opportunity "HERO" Act S.489 which would expand certain preferential trade treatment for Haiti. This act allows duty free import into the U.S. of garments assembled in Haiti if, inter alia, Haiti "has established, or is making continual progress toward establishing— a market-based economy that protects private property rights, incorporates an open rules-based trading system, and minimizes government interference in the economy through measures such as price controls, subsidies, and government ownership of economic assets . . . " Very interesting.
What Is To Be Done?
• East Bay Sanctuary Covenant is acting as fiscal sponsor to raise money for children in Haiti. Sr. Maureen has just returned. You can support EBSC in establishing an accompaniment project. This is being designed to help protect the lives of progressive popular organizers who are being threatened and slaughtered every day in Haiti. Call EBSC at (510) 540-5296
• Find alternative sources of information. We recommend a careful and frequent read of the Haiti Action Website www.haitiaction.org. As well as information, this site provides opportunities for action.
• Ask your congressperson to co-sponsor H.R. 3919 to find the truth about the coup in Haiti. Ask her or him to oppose S. 489 which is clearly designed to strengthen the economic elite in continuing the neocolonialist relationship with the U.S.
• Find ways to share the information about Haiti
which is not being provided by the newspapers of TV news.
Books Not Bombs...
School budgets are cut, libraries closed, social programs gutted — funding for nuclear weapons continues to rise. In Livermore two schools will close, while funding for nuclear weapons increases at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab!
On August 8, 2004, to mark the 59th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a major rally in Livermore will demand "Books not Bombs". The action will be part of an international series of actions from August 6-12 that oppose U.S. nuclear policy and demand the abolition of nuclear weapons.
WMD’s were not found in Iraq. Meanwhile University of California scientists are developing new and modified nuclear weapons at Livermore Lab, one of the "brains" behind the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.
Join with thousands around the world to say "NO" to nuclear weapons and U.S. nuclear policy. The "Books Not Bombs" rally will be on Sunday, August 8 at 1 PM at Jackson Elementary School in Livermore – followed by an action and march to Livermore nuclear weapons lab. We are demanding:
Writers and Artists – Ecumenical Peace Institute is looking for your work. See p.8
June 5, 7-9:30 p.m. Presentation & Discussion: "Iraq: How did we get in and how do we get out?" Marshall Windmiller. Sponsored by Alameda Public Affairs Forum, Alameda Home of Truth; 1300 Grand Avenue, Alameda. For further information call: 510-814-9592
Now through June 7th Shock and Awe - an exhibit of recent drawings by Iraqi school children at the Al Assail School in Bagdad, MOCHA 538 9th Street, Oakland. for information: (510) 670-4174
Sunday, August 8, 1 p.m. Books Not Bombs, Jackson Elementary School in Livermore –– followed by an action and march to Livermore nuclear weapons lab. see p.11
Weekly Vigils & Such
Sundays, 3:00 p.m. peace walk around Lake Merritt
Tuesdays Noon - 1:00 p.m. Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street, oppose the continued war on Iraq.
Wednesdays, 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Castro Valley Peace & Justice Vigils, Castro Valley Blvd. & Redwood Rd.
Thursdays, Noon - 1:00 p.m. San Francisco Federal Building
Fridays, Noon - 1:00 p.m. Women in Black Vigil, UC Berkeley, Bancroft
Let us work together.
Email us at email@example.com
Write us at PO Box 9334, Berkeley, CA 94709
|Tuesday Noon Vigil
being held to oppose
the continued war of occupation upon the people of Iraq. Oakland Federal
Building, 1301 Clay Street, two blocks from the 12th Street BART Station.
Did you know, they are using napalm in Iraq. "It has a big psychological effect."
–Colonel James Alles
There is an envelope included in each issue of Planted by the Waters. If each person who received Planted put a check into the envelope and mailed it to EPI/CALC, it would greatly improve our ability to do the work for justice and peace which we are called to do together.
It doesn't have to be a lot. Every little bit
Ecumenical Peace InstituteIf each person who received Planted By the Waters put a check into the envelope and mailed it to EPI/CALC, it would greatly improve our ability to do the work for justice and peace which we are called to do together. It doesn't have to be a lot. Every little bit counts.
Please help by being part of the Peace and Justice work of Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC and sending your tax-deductible contribution of:
____$35 for annual membership ($10 for low-income subscribers)
Or, pledge $_________ monthly, $_________quarterly.
Please make checks payable to E.P.I., and thank you for the generosity of your your support.
E-published by Daniel Zwickel ben Avram ap Jean (Daniel@PeaceHost.net),
(Troubadour & Webscribe)