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Initiatives from Voices

Title: Initiatives from Voices
Hope this not cross posting, if so, apols, f.

Dear Friends,

During the past several weeks, the Bush Administration has escalated
threats against Iraq, stating its intent to develop parallel overt and
covert means of regime change. US attacks on the political and social
center of Iraq could have uncontrollable consequences, including civil
war, invasion, and catastrophic destruction of an already fragile
infrastructure.   In light of the potential affliction that could be
visited upon Iraqi civilians, we urge participation in one or both of
the following pledges:

- UK Pledge (scroll down to find pledge)

- Peace Pledge

To fulfill these pledges, please consider joining us in one or more of
the following activities:

1. Iraq Peace Team -- US reliance on the language of threat and force
heightens our determination to understand and become voices for ordinary
Iraqi people. In the next few weeks, we will re-establish a core crew to
maintain a long-term presence in Iraq. This group of three - four people
will prepare for larger teams to visit Iraq, later this spring, intent
on developing language exchanges in Baghdad and maintaining a peaceful
presence there. Participants, perhaps as many as 100, will plan to
remain in Iraq indefinitely, linking with ordinary Iraqi families to
learn Arabic and teach English. Applicants should contact the Chicago
Voices in the Wilderness office at or call 773-784-8065
for more information about logistics, cost, and schedules.  In a
departure from our past delegation strategy, we will plan for larger
groups that will require more orientation and training.  We anticipate
holding a training in two US cities in late April for a group that will
leave for Iraq in early May, followed by a second training in late May
for a group that would depart for Iraq in early June.  

2)  Compassion Iraq Peace Walk from the Jordan - Iraq border to Baghdad
-- while this plan is presently still tentative, we want to announce the
idea and encourage your support and participation as soon as the
definitive "call" is issued:   Jim Jennings of Compassion Iraq will be
the primary organizer for this promising plan.  Jim Jennings envisions a
350 mile walk that could be accomplished in three weeks. We've suggested
that walkers solicit 10 cents or more per mile from their friends and
that the collected monies defray the cost of the walk and then go
straight into a humanitarian relief project in Iraq. The proposed
itinerary for the walk is:   leave US for Beirut May 17 (or directly to
Amman May 22); leave Amman for Baghdad May 24 (pm); arrive in Baghdad
June 14; leave Baghdad June 20; arrive in US June 21 or 22.  The initial
proposal for the Compassion Iraq Peace Walk to Baghdad is appended to
the end of this message.  For application materials contact either
Compassion Iraq (see below) or Voices in the Wilderness.  Note:  Dr. Jim
Jennings, Ph.D. has a doctorate in Middle East Studies.  He organized
and led the Baghdad Airlift in January 2001 and has a long history of
humanitarian and human rights work.

3)  Affinity Groups for Local Organizing -- Recognizing that the US has
developed, sold, stored, and used more weapons of mass destruction than
any other country on earth, affinity groups here in the US can undertake
action, now, to focus on places in their own locale where weapons or the
"triggers" to use weapons are functioning. Affinity groups can promote
awareness through teach-ins, vigils, and various means of nonviolent
non-cooperation (e.g., war tax refusal, counter recruitment, boycotts,
and nonviolent direct action).  Many of you have already formed such
affinity groups. Please let us know if you'd like to be included in the
network we'll promote as we try to make visible nonviolent resistance to
US war-making.  Contact us if you would like assistance in forming an
affinity group.

We write with deepest gratitude for the chance to join with you as we
regroup and rededicate ourselves to stop the long and cruel warmaking
against Iraq.


Voices in the Wilderness - Chicago office

Compassion Iraq
An Association of Humanitarian Groups Seeking to Stop the War, Stop the
and End the Sanctions on Iraq

The Compassion Iraq Coalition produced the video Silent Weapon: The
Embago Against Iraq and has organized numerous humanitarian missions to
Iraq, including the Baghdad Airlift, the first American civilian
delegation to fly to Iraq in defiance of US/UN sanctions.


Peace Walk to BAGHDAD

--from the Jordan border

Our group of pilgrims will cross the Syrian Desert by foot,
walking from the Jordan border to Baghdad,
a distance of some 350 miles,
as witnesses for peace
in solidarity with the people of Iraq.

Dates: May 22 to June 21 (30 days)
Estimated Cost: Air--$695/Land $695; Total $1,390

Statement of Purpose

    As the US moves closer to launching an all-out war on Iraq, we
intend to dramatize the plight of Iraq's 23 million people, advocate a
peaceful resolution of the conflict, and help bring an end to the
US-sponsored siege of Iraq, the longest and most punitive embargo in
modern history.

We Demand
No new war in Iraq
An end to ten years of mindlessly bombing Iraq
A complete and unconditional end to the sanctions on Iraq

US policy toward Iraq since the Gulf War remains ineffective, inhumane,
and morally bankrupt.  A new war will further destabilize the region and
kill large numbers of people with no guaranteed outcome.  Evidence of
growing outrage over the sanctions policy can be seen in increasing
student demonstrations, many recent newspaper editorials, protest
resignations of key UN officials, and statements by numerous
congressional representatives and religious leaders.  Human Rights
Watch, in an Explanatory Memorandum attached to their letter to the
Security Council of Jan. 4, 2000, presented a devastating indictment of
the US/UN sanctions policy.  Yet the US has continued to bomb Iraq
regularly following "Operation Desert Fox" during Christmas of 1998,
with over 44,000 aerial incursions and 13,000 actual bombing raids,
often killing and wounding civilians.  Despite this cruel record, the
death toll on civilians from the historically unprecedented and brutally
harsh sanctions regime has been documented as more than a thousand times

Participating Organizations (others to be added)
Compassion Iraq
Voices in the Wilderness

Fund Raising/Humanitarian Aid Project: Participants may solicit
sponsorship from friends and acquaintances of 10 cents to $1 per mile (x
350 miles), yielding $35.00-$350.00 from each donor, to be applied to
their trip expenses.  Participants are further encouraged to solicit
matching funds to be used exclusively to support cancer and leukemia
treatments for child victims of Depleted Uranium and other war-related
diseases at Basra's Birthing and Children's Hospital.   Special forms
will be provided.

Itinerary: leave US for Beirut May 17 (or directly to Amman May 22);
leave Amman for Baghdad May 24 (pm); arrive in Baghdad June 14; leave
Baghdad June 20; arrive in US June 21 or 22.

Information for pilgrims: 1) Applicants must be in good health and
capable of completing several miles of strenuous walking each day for
three weeks; 2) Applicants will be screened for aptitude and selected by
committee; 3) Participants must sign liability waiver; 4) Accommodations
will be tents (hotels in Baghdad); 5) Logistics and security teams will
accompany the group; 6) Organizers will secure Iraq visas and conduct
training sessions in Beirut May 19-23 (or Amman May 23); 7) There will
be opportunities for people-to-people interaction, sightseeing, and
meeting the press.

For application materials contact Compassion Iraq or Voices in the
Wilderness at 773-784-8065.

Compassion Iraq Coalition, 4685 Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd. A-7, Atlanta, GA
Tel.:  770-454-9109  FAX:  770-936-0996  e-mail:

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