donkey o.d. too

My main site, donkey o.d. is moving here. Pardon the dust...

Friday, August 26, 2005

CAMP BUZZ SPREADS GREEN PEACE THROUGH MUSIC

Ohio Music Festival Returns With Focus on Peace and Environmental Awareness

Ryan Bussey, or "Buzz" as he's known in the local music circles, started Camp Buzz, as the legend goes, with a hay wagon for a stage and some guy's farm for a venue. In 2002, Bussey hosted Camp Buzz 9, the biggest endeavor yet, going so far as to run animated TV spots during South Park and bringing together 20 bands, local, regional, and national.

For the last few years, Buzz campers haven't heard from the man they call "Buzz" since. Until now.

On September 16 & 17th, 2005, Camp Buzz returns to Camp America in College Corner, Ohio, just 25 miles north of Cincinnati. But Camp Buzz 2005 is unlike previous festivals. This time around Camp Buzz will tie into the "global dance for peace" event, Earthdance.org as well as benefit RockTheEarth.net.

Camp Buzz will donate 50% of proceeds to RocktheEarth.net to support the EarthDance mission, which is explained as, "To promote peace by joining participants worldwide in a synchronized prayer for peace and to support humanitarian causes through the global language of music and dance." Rock the Earth is an environmental advocacy group working to ensure the existence of a sustainable and healthy environment for all. The new focus on consciousness reflects the interests of Buzz and his partners in the festival production. "We want to get people involved and interested in two issues that are so important to our future on this planet...peace and our environment," said Ryan "Buzz" Bussey.

Take one look at the featured acts and just try and slate this event as just another hippie-fest.

Hogscraper (Cincinnati) -- Called by one Cincinnati reporter, "Punk/Glam/Metal attitude...twisted with a B-horror movie sensibility that manifested itself in the group's demented, maniacally entertaining live shows and extensive character back-stories...and one of the most original (and perversely entertaining) bands in Cincinnati music history."

The Animal Crackers (Cincinnati) -- 2004 Cincy Magazine's Best of the City winners and hip-hop hip-hop supergroup have to have the staged mopped before the next act can go on.

Groovatron (Indiana), a veritable funk force, is sure to please, while alt-rockers seepeopleS (Boston) float over the lineup with their breathy, lush songs, and Starrunner (Chicago), jams the night away.

This time around, Buzz is putting emphasis on having a multitude of genres, as well as spotlighting the rich music scene of Cincinnati while helping those in need and saving the planet. Delusions of grandeur? Never. But a good time for all sits on the horizon, or rather, September 16-17th, 2005, rain or shine. The full lineup of bands is available on the Camp Buzz website. Tickets can also be purchased at www.jambasetickets.com or by calling 513.921.9500 with a credit card.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Dan Heimbrock, danh@jambase.com 513.328.5617

Mr. G at Camp Casey on Thursday and Preparing for the CounterProtest

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mr. G in Crawford

It is Friday morning, the 26th, as I write this, but
basically what happened is this: Mr. G got up
Thursday morning and decided he didn’t couldn’t wait
until our next planned trip on Sunday. So, soon as I
left for work he hopped in his vehicle and headed for
Crawford.

He arrived at the Peace House, hung around there for
awhile visiting, and then took the shuttle to Camp
Casey II. On the shuttle ride he met a young
reporter from Brazil who told fellow passengers that
90% of Brazilians are against the Iraq war. Not much
was happening at CCII; they were setting up for a 2:30
press conference, but most of the preparations seemed
aimed at getting ready for the weekend. Cindy was
somewhere around, having arrived back in Texas on
Wednesday, but he did not see her.

Mr. G really likes the people who hang out at Camp
Casey I (and besides, it’s a little more primitive
than the newer site), so he took the shuttle back over
there to see what was going on. The first thing he
noticed was that the counterprotest seemed to be
growing. Heretofore the most we had seen at any one
time was about 15; on Thursday he saw about two
dozen. On Tuesday they had two thin canopies; now
there are four or five, and—glory be—they actually
rented a port-a-potty of their own instead of using
the facilities at Camp Casey I.

On the counterprotest side of the road directly
opposite the white crosses, there are now staggered
factory-made Bush/Cheney and “We Support the Troops”
signs. Heretofore just about all the signage on both
sides had been home made. Mr. G observed that the
counterprotest tone was much more militant than last
week. For example, they set up a chant demanding
“take down the crosses, take down the crosses.” Only
last week some of those same people had helped put the
crosses back after the vandalism. Some of our people
started to answer back, and the leaders of the camp
promptly shushed them. One fellow has decided that
Cindy ought to debate him, and he carries a home made
sign with the demand, “Cindy, talk to Parrish.”
(Mr. G wasn’t sure about the spelling of the man’s
name; this is my best guess). Cindy, of course, did
not come there to talk to Parrish but to the
president, and as far as she is concerned there is
nothing to debate about. She just wants some
questions answered, and Parrish doesn’t have the
answers.

On top of this, there was a fellow dragging a large
wooden cross (with a little wheel on the bottom side
for ease of movement). He gave the impression that he
had dragged it out there all the way from town and
intended to go on out the road with it to Camp Casey
II. Some of the homemade signage seemed to conflate
American nationalism with Christianity—a bewildering
discourse indeed. For example, Mr. G saw a sign
that read, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be
preached to all nations.” Puzzling over what that
sign might have been trying to say, he came home and
looked up the scripture reference, which he found in
Matthew 24:14 (KJV): “And this gospel of the kingdom
shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto
all nations; and then shall the end come.” Well, I
must say that if “gospel” means “good news” and this
war is the best news that people of faith have to
offer, then this world has had about all the good news
it can stand. Reading the whole verse in context, I
wonder if maybe that is the point—the more mayhem we
turn loose on the world, the quicker Jesus will come
back and incinerate all the evildoers?? Hmmm! Too
bad they missed that other verse in Matthew: “Blessed
are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the
children of God” (Matthew 5:9, KJV). Now I’ll stop
preaching before I get into trouble with Fr. Greg.

If you recall, Mr. G was photographed on Tuesday by
the woman who wanted to show her grandchildren what a
liberal looked like (fortunately, our own
grandchildren don’t have to depend on photographs!).
Well, on Thursday his face and his tidy little straw
hat were all over Danish television; he was just
sitting there in camp minding his own business when
the Danish news crew zoomed in on him. He was
cheerful and cooperative, as he most generally is.

The final weekend of camp is coming up very fast, and
Saturday is expected to be the big day. The Peace
House put out a call for Saturday van drivers. In
addition, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, they are asking for
anyone who has had non-violence training to come and
help maintain the peace, especially at Camp Casey I
and II and also the RV park nearby where a lot of
weekend visitors—supporters and opponents alike-- will
be staying. I cannot tell you how important this is;
if you have this training and can get to Crawford on
Saturday, please get in touch with the Peace House
right away! (Just Google the Crawford Peace House;
all the contact information is there).

Mr. G and I have both observed over the course of
this past week that the protest has been largely
non-partisan and focused on ending the war. The
counterprotest, in contrast, is highly partisan,
although by no means does it speak for all
Republicans. Up until Thursday the 25th, everyone on
both sides respected the memorial crosses (and stars
of David and crescents) and the lost lives they
represent. Even the poor messed-up Vietnam veteran
and PTSD sufferer who drove over them the night of
August 15 has expressed regret. Up to this point, a
common respect for life and sacrifice transcended
differences of opinion about the war itself. This
nonsense about taking the crosses down is something
new.

I said all that to say this: if any violence happens
this weekend it will not be started by the
Cindy-supporters, and I doubt that any of the local
counterprotesters would instigate it either. People
who have been in peace work for a long time can tell
story after story about agents provocateurs, people
who come to peaceful demonstrations purposefully to
disrupt the proceedings and incite violence. One of
our courageous lady bloggers got wind of just such a
group organizing to come in on Saturday and sent word
to the Peace House folks.

We can’t return until Sunday because of family needs
and obligations. If you are able to go to Crawford,
remember what the Psalmist says, “A soft answer
turneth away wrath.” Plug into that soul force and
stay in that energy. I repeat: if you have
nonviolence training and you can get to Crawford,
especially on Saturday, please contact the Peace House
right away (just Google them for contact info).
Peace and love to all.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Momma and Mr. G at Crawford a week later, Soul Force, and a little story from Joan Baez

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mr. G and Momma G Back in Crawford—One Week after First
Visit.

Today was his 4th visit and her 3rd, and gas (as we
all know) is not cheap, so it was wonderful to have a
good friend join us and provide the transportation to
boot. This whole 3-location complex is starting to
feel homey to us now; we have friends there, we bring
friends with us, and we meet old and new friends from
everywhere.

We drove straight to Camp Casey II since we figured it
would be a light traffic day and parking would not be
as difficult as usual. It’s a GOOD thing we got
there early, because the very limited space started
filling up quickly. I picked up trash around the camp
while Mr. G sat in on a veterans’ meeting. Ran
into a lovely lady with whom I had taken the
Cultivating a Culture of Peace Facilitator training
last November (sponsored by Episcopal Peace Fellowship
and the Fellowship of Reconciliation). She had been
there for a couple of days but was going to have to go
home to Houston and check on her cats. She said she
would be back as soon as she could. Also met an
itinerant poet who can recite line after line of
original antiwar poetry from memory—and it’s quite
good stuff. He managed to book several gigs during
his stay in Crawford and may be able to get a few more
before camp breaks up next week. This place has a way
of growing on people who come here; you think you’ll
stay for a few hours or one day but then end up
extending your stay or coming back again and again.

Joan Baez was still there, and I shared with her my
observation that while the men are very present in
this endeavor the women, especially the wives and
mothers of people in Iraq, are definitely in the
driver’s seat. She told a delightful story that
beautifully illustrates this principle. This morning
she got up very early and walked over to the police
barricade at the road leading down to the Bush ranch.
She and one of the troopers stationed there made a
little small talk—lovely sunrise, that sort of
thing—and then Joan remarked that this must be a very
different kind of job for the trooper. “We just go
where he goes,” the trooper replied and Joan, taken
somewhat aback at that reply, responded, “He? Who is
‘he’?” The trooper looked at her strangely and
answered, “The president.” A little embarrassed for
having overlooked the obvious, Joan explained, “I’m
sorry. I really wasn’t trying to be cute. It’s just
that since I’ve been here I’ve been surrounded by
women and I just sort of forgot about him.” The
trooper, a woman, seemed to suppress a giggle. Ms.
Baez graciously gave permission to share this little
story.

Her experience with the trooper indicates something
even more central to the point than the clarity of the
women’s voices and leadership. The energy of the
camps and the Peace House is what Gandhi called
satyagraha, or soul force. It’s not about being
against Bush per se; it’s about being for peace. If
Bush gets in the way of peace then he’s a problem, but
it’s really not about him. I’ll bet he just can’t
stand that!

Meanwhile, there was trash to be picked up down along
the rows of crosses at Camp Casey I, and while there I
spent some time looking at the photographs of the dead
and wounded. One of the wives of a soldier just
deployed stood crying and crying. Joan Baez, who must
have come from Camp Casey II over to CC I just before
we arrived, came over to her and held her and
comforted her as best she could. The lady said she
knew she should not be looking at those pictures, but
she couldn’t keep away from them. She kept going over
in her mind how she might cope if her loved one came
back with wounds like that, and no one could tell her
that her fears were irrational. The truth was well
known to all standing there. Finally she was able to
go back to her post directing shuttle traffic there at
the camp, and that seemed to take her mind off of her
troubles for awhile.


The counterprotesters were slightly more numerous
today at Camp Casey I, and definitely louder and more
obnoxious. One particularly nasty woman pulled her
car up next to the old blue school bus at the
crossroads and demanded to photograph a group of us so
that she could “show my grandchildren what liberals
look like.” The group, which included Mr. G,
smiled and posed for her. She and one of her
“associates” then proceeded to pull their cars into
the little grassy “island” where the two roads meet,
which the sheriff had declared off limits for parking
or camping. One of our guys started to go explain the
rules to them, but one of the women leaders (a
soldier’s wife who has been there since Day One)
stopped him and told him she was on it. She was
calling the sheriff’s office on her cell phone as this
was happening. The two drivers got the message from
their own folks and moved their cars. We left for the
Peace House shortly thereafter, so we don’t know if
the sheriff actually came or not. This illustrates,
however, that as the number of protesters increases,
and as more protest sites spring up and follow Bush
around the country (this week alone in Utah,
California, and Idaho), the counterprotesters are
taking a decidedly different tone.

We went back to the Peace House and had a bite of
lunch before heading home. Our friend needed to be
home early in the afternoon, so it was a pretty short
day.

Pat Robertson: An embarrassment to the church

by Jim Wallis

Pat Robertson is an embarrassment to the church and a danger to American politics.




Robertson is known for his completely irresponsible statements - that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were due to American feminists and liberals, that true Christians could vote only for George W. Bush, that the federal judiciary is a greater threat to America than those who flew the planes into the World Trade Center Towers, and the list goes on. Robertson even took credit once for diverting a hurricane. But his latest outburst may take the cake.




On Monday, Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Robertson is worried about Chavez's critiques of American power and behavior in the world, especially because Venezuela is sitting on all that oil. We simply can't have an anti-American political leader who could raise the price of gas. So let's just kill him, the famous television preacher seriously suggested. After all, having some of our "covert operatives" take out the troublesome Venezuelan leader would be cheaper than another $200 billion war, he said.




It's clear Robertson must not have first asked himself "What would Jesus do?" But the teachings of Jesus have never been very popular with Robertson. He gets his religion elsewhere, from the twisted ideologies of an American brand of right-wing fundamentalism that has always been more nationalist than Christian. Apparently, Robertson didn't even remember what the Ten Commandments say, though he has championed their display on the walls of every American courthouse. That irritating one about "Thou shalt not kill" seems to rule out the killing of foreign leaders. But this week, simply putting biblical ethics aside, Robertson virtually issued an American religious fatwah for the murder of a foreign leader - on national television no less. That may be a first.





Yesterday Robertson "apologized." First he denied saying what he had said, but it was on the videotape (it's tough when they record you breaking the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus). Then he said that "taking out" Chavez might not require killing him, and perhaps kidnapping a duly elected leader would do. But Robertson does now say that using the word "assassination" was wrong and that he had been frustrated by Chavez - the old "my frustration made me say that somebody should be killed" argument. But the worst thing about Robertson's apology was that he compared himself to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German church leader and martyr who ultimately joined in a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler.




Robertson's political and theological reasoning is simply unbelievable. Chavez, a democratically elected leader in no less than three internationally certified votes, has been an irritant to the Bush administration, but has yet to commit any holocausts. Nor does his human rights record even approach that of the Latin American dictators who have been responsible for massive violations of human rights and the deaths of tens of thousands of people (think of the military regimes of Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, and Guatemala). Robertson never criticized them, perhaps because many of them were supported by U.S. military aid and training.




This incident reveals that Robertson does not believe in democracy; he believes in theocracy. And he would like governments, including our own, to implement his theological agenda, perhaps legislate Leviticus, and "take out" those who disagree.




Robertson's American fundamentalist ideology gives a lot of good people a bad name. World evangelical leaders have already responded with alarm and disbelief. Robertson's words will taint and smear other evangelical Christians and put some in actual jeopardy, such as Venezuelan evangelicals. Most conservative evangelical Christians are appalled by Robertson's hateful and literally murderous words, and it's time for them to say so. To their credit, the World Evangelical Alliance and the National Association of Evangelicals have already denounced Robertson's words. When will we hear from some of the groups from the "Religious Right," such as the Family Research Council, Southern Baptists, and other leaders like James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Chuck Colson?




Robertson's words fuel both anti-Christian and anti-American sentiments around the world. It's difficult for an American government that has historically plotted against leaders in Cuba, Chile, the Congo, South Vietnam, and elsewhere to be easily believed when it disavows Robertson's call to assassinate Chavez. But George Bush must do so anyway, in the strongest terms possible.




It's time to name Robertson for what he is: an American fundamentalist whose theocratic views are not much different from the "Muslim extremists" he continually assails. It's time for conservative evangelical Christians in America, who are not like Islamic fundamentalists or Robertson, to distance themselves from his embarrassing and dangerous religion.




And it's time for Christian leaders of all stripes to call on Robertson not just to apologize, but to retire.

Monday, August 22, 2005

They Ain't Going Away Anytime Soon and Momma G meets Joan B

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Momma and Mr. G in Crawford again.


We arrived at the Crawford Peace House about 12:30 and
the first thing we noticed as we pulled up was that
the parking was better organized and cars were parked
in neat rows on vacant strips of land next to the
railroad tracks. My first thought was, “Wow, they’ve
been doing some strategizing and learning how to
manage these crowds.” There was a HUGE U-Haul truck
with a sign on the side: “One Mother’s Grief,
America’s Pain.” In the front yard, Pax Christi was
taking care of the guest book and offering tee shirts
for sale. Looks like a lot of on-the-job learning
has taken place in the last five days. It’s even more
evident at Camp Casey II, the new encampment set up on
the land loaned by good neighbor Fred Mattlage.

There in the Peace House yard some volunteers were
making more crosses; there’s more room for them out at
Camp Casey II, and every soldier now will have one
eventually. While there, we heard one of the
volunteers tell an alternative newspaper that the man
who ran over the crosses on Monday night has expressed
deep remorse. She said that the man is a Vietnam
veteran with PTSD and all of this just creeped him out
and he lost it and now regrets it. By the way, do you
know that 30% of our returning Iraq veterans are being
diagnosed with PTSD?

Drove our car on out to the original Camp Casey, now
called Camp Casey I. Saw about 50 people still
encamped there. None of the original tents have been
moved, and Camp Casey II (corner of Prairie Chapel &
Canaan Church Rd. in the middle of nowhere!) is a
totally new tent city. But more on that in a minute.
I counted about 15 counterprotesters across the road
(and believe this — they sent the sheriff over to ask
if they could use the Camp Casey I port-a-potties, and
of course the kind folks consented). The memorial
crosses are now decorated with the roses that started
coming to Cindy last Tuesday after the news got out
about the vandalism.

Mr. G and I checked out the US map again to see
where everyone was coming from. It was a LOT more
filled in that it was five days ago when I last saw it
(I hope Mr. G’s pictures come out—we just had a
cheap little disposable camera with us). The
volunteers there said that every single state in the
Union was accounted for—all 50 of them. Moreover,
there were signatures from London; Toronto & Quebec,
Canada; Glasgow, Scotland; Karachi, Pakistan;
Istanbul, Turkey; Bogota, Colombia; Poland, Austria,
Japan, Brazil, Mexico, and Paraguay—and probably
others that I missed. Just today we saw license
plates from Texas, Ohio, West Virginia, Louisiana,
Kansas, Indiana, Florida, and California—and of
course, we didn’t see them all.

Took the shuttle from there out to Camp Casey II and
my, oh, my! Out in the middle of the prairie there’s
a HUGE party tent equipped with tables & chairs,
lights & sound, and a modern camp kitchen serving food
and drinks 24/7 (no alcohol allowed!). There’s a
field of crosses and flags there too and some of the
military families who are supporting Cindy are camped
all around the perimeter in small tents; others
remained encamped at Camp Casey I. Both camps are
immaculate—not a scrap of trash is left lying around,
ever!

This is a very fluid crowd with people coming and
going all the time, but my best guess is between 50
and 60 at Camp Casey I at any given time and between
200 and 300 at Camp Casey II with room for a lot more.
That big tent was nowhere near full! Those news
reports that are talking about “dozens” of protesters
are just silly; a more accurate representation would
be “hundreds.” I saw old people—way older than me
and Mr. G—and tiny children. One mother was there
nursing her baby and I thought about that poor woman
in Iraq who could not hold her newborn baby to nurse
because her arms were blown away by the war. There
were lots of dogs there too; one looked like Jen’s
Lewis. We made phone contact with Fr. Greg’s friend,
the Rev. Bacon, who is rector of All Saints
Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, but we never
did find each other. We were in shuttles going
opposite directions when we hooked up, and then my
phone quit working—no service on the prairie.

Think this is going away any time soon? Not according
to Mimi Evans of “Military Families Speak Out.”
According to her, from this point on wherever GWB goes
there will be a military family camped out on his
doorstep until he answers their questions—the Capital,
Utah, Minnesota, Maine—wherever, they’re ready to go.
I had heard whispers of following him to Washington DC
as early as last Tuesday, but this is the first I
heard it announced in public. I hope they stick to
it!

And as early as last Tuesday I had also heard whispers
that Joan Baez “might” appear. Well, dear hearts, she
is in Crawford at this minute. We couldn’t stay to
hear her—we had to come back home and tend to our
elderly and frail dog who had been alone all day—but
we heard that she had arrived at the Peace House (our
shuttle driver had a cell phone that worked) and we
went back there to see if we could get a glimpse of
her before heading for home. Well, Mr. G turned his
back at just the wrong moment and missed a GREAT
picture. I was walking in the front door of the Peace
House at the very moment she was walking out and we
surprised each other. (She is very petite, beautiful
skin, and her once-black hair is now short and
streaked with gray on the top and sides—just
gorgeous!). For lack of anything better to say I
said, “Oh! It really is you,” and added hastily, “God
bless you for being here.” She smiled, squeezed my
hand, and said, “Ditto.” And then she got into a van
and headed out to Camp Casey II to sing for those
military families and their supporters.

Heard very hopeful news on Cindy’s mom. She’s
beginning to get some gripping power back in her hand,
and while she still can’t speak she is able to laugh
and respond appropriately. This suggests that speech
is likely to return with proper therapy. Cindy is
expected back in camp on Wednesday.

Our next planned visit is Tuesday, so we’ll miss her
by one day. We may just have to miss church next
Sunday if we’re to get back out there before camp
breaks up here and moves to Washington DC. Peace
and love to all.
MommaG


[reproduced with permission from MommaG]

Mr. G's Thursday in Crawford or Camp Casey: Flying by the Seat of the Pants

Thursday, August 18, 2005

On this day I had to go to my office and prepare for
the upcoming semester, so Mr. G returned to Crawford
alone. He drove his truck so that he could carry more
tools and materials “just in case.”

Before I tell you more of what he saw on Thursday, I
want to backtrack to Tuesday the 16th for just one
moment. Some detractors have been muttering on the
blogs and elsewhere that the Gold Star families’
protest in Crawford is being coordinated by big name
celebrities or national political organizations.
From what we saw together on Tuesday and Mr. G saw
on Thursday, we doubt that this is the case. Rather,
the movement that Cindy Sheehan began when she arrived
in Crawford on August 6 seems to have sprung up out of
the ground overnight like mushrooms. The atmosphere
at the Crawford Peace House and at Camp Casey is
spontaneous, ad hoc, flying by the seat of the pants.
This thing began with a handful of people and grew so
big so fast that the folks are having a hard time
establishing control over personnel and other
resources.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. Before we
went up on Tuesday morning we had read about the
memorial crosses (and stars of David and crescents)
being mowed down overnight by the guy in the pickup.
We called the Peace House, said we were bringing
tools, and asked if they needed anything else. The
woman I talked to mentioned battery powered
spotlights, but she was unable to tell me size or
wattage and her description was altogether vague.
When we got there, the scene was happy and friendly
and welcoming, but complete chaos; the few people who
seemed to be trying to maintain order were overwhelmed
on every side. We again tried to find out about the
spotlights. We told at least three people that we had
a Lowe’s charge card with a credit balance in excess
of $500 and were prepared to use it if we only knew
what to get. We were thanked profusely and
repeatedly, but no one seemed to know what to do with
us or our charge card.

We never did find out what kind of spotlights they
needed, but someone at the Peace House was certain
that Mr. G’s carpentry skills and tools would be
useful at Camp Casey. When we got out there,
however, the memorial cross repairs were almost
finished. Clearly there was no reliable communication
between the Peace House and the camp about labor and
materials needed. The Peace House itself could have
used several repairs that Mr. G could easily have
performed, but nobody seemed able to make a decision
or provide directions even if there had been space to
work (which there was not—the tiny house was bulging
with people).

Now folks, you know that if this had been a
professionally run event, there would have been an
overall event coordinator, several communications
specialists, a volunteer coordinator, and somebody in
charge of gifts and donations. NO WAY would we have
gotten off the grounds until every last penny of
credit on that charge card had been spent. I say this
not to detract from the wonderful work being done
under very arduous conditions. Rather, I offer this
experience as evidence that the protest in Crawford is
an authentic grass-roots phenomenon and not some slick
political snow job made up to look like the real
thing.

Now, back to Mr. G’s Thursday in Crawford. He was
greeted at the Peace House by Barbara, the same lovely
San Diego lady who had greeted us on Tuesday—she was
still at her post managing shuttle traffic out to Camp
Casey. He had driven his truck with even more tools
and supplies, and still nobody knew what to do with
him, although as before he was profusely thanked and
told how desperately he was needed. (According to the
Crawford Peace House community blog a meeting was
scheduled on Thursday night to try to figure out how
to coordinate volunteer resources, although I don’t
know what came of it).

My assistant had written a prayer that she
asked Mr. G to deliver to Cindy if he could. He
took the envelope with him and when he got to Camp
Casey, sure enough, at one rare moment when she was
not surrounded by people asking her questions he
walked up to her, handed her the envelope and told her
it was from one of his wife’s co-workers. She
thanked him and hugged him; it seemed to mean a lot to
her.

While at Camp Casey Mr. G also met a woman named
Faith who had originally gone into Iraq before the war
as a “human shield.” When that effort failed to stop
the war, she stayed on and worked in an Iraqi
hospital. She told the story of a young Iraqi woman
who showed up at the hospital full-term pregnant. One
of her arms was gone and the other badly damaged. She
gave birth very soon thereafter, and the one arm she
had left could not be saved. The young woman looked
into Faith’s eyes with utter grief and said, “I can’t
hold my baby.”

There was a Code Pink volunteer who came all the way
from Australia to be at Camp Casey, and Mr. G met
her but didn’t get to visit with her for very long.
She and Faith seemed to know each other well. People
are coming to Crawford from everywhere: the Midwest,
the East and West coasts—even Honolulu—and several
foreign countries. Next time I go back I’ll look more
carefully at that cloth map.

Mr. G did spend time with a young man, an American,
who volunteered for the Army and was sent to Iraq.
When he got there and saw the reality of combat (as
opposed to training drills) he realized that there was
no way he was going to be able to use deadly force
against another human being. He turned in his rifle,
told whoever was in charge that he could not and would
not fight, and applied for conscientious objector
status. Eventually he did get it and was shipped
home. Mr. G didn’t think to ask him what kind of
discharge he received, if he did any time in the brig,
or other details. This same young man was also
present on Tuesday, but we didn’t get to talk much
with him then.

Mr. G had left Crawford and was on his way home when
the news came that Cindy’s mother had become ill and
she would have to leave camp. He didn’t know about
that until he got to church that night for our Peace &
Justice Affinity Group meeting. His impression, and
mine, is that Cindy will be missed for however long
she’s gone (and of course everyone wishes her mother a
fast and full recovery), but this quest for truth that
she began will not be deterred. If the Masters of War
think that the movement is going to dry up and blow
away, they had better think again.

That’s it for the report of Mr. G’s day on August
18. It’s actually Sunday the 21st as I write this,
and we wanted to get this out before heading back out
again this morning so that the stories of Thursday and
today don’t get muddled together. We’ll have more to
say later. Love and peace to all.
Momma G


[reproduced with permission from MommaG]

Momma and Mr. G's First Visit to Camp Casey or Witnessing the Beginnings of the Movement

Hi, all.
Went to Crawford on Tuesday as planned; sorry to be so
late getting back with information. There's no way I
can begin to put what we experienced into language,
but here are a few highlights:

We arrived at 11:30 on Tuesday just as FedEx arrived
with 35 dozen roses from all over the country, all for
Cindy in apparent sympathy for the destruction of the
memorial crosses the previous night. We helped unload
them.

Hung out for awhile at the Crawford Peace House
meeting people. For those of a spiritual turn of
mind, you'll be interested to know there's a labyrinth
in the side yard.

I was wearing my Kent State tee-shirt-- huge blue
letters on yellow background. Soon as I stepped onto
the yard at the Peace House a camera zoomed in on it.
Folks there are very aware of Kent State and what
happened on May 4, 1970. There are a lot of
comparisons between this war and Vietnam being made
among that certain generation of activists.

Since Mr. G brought tools they sent us on out the
road to Camp Casey thinking they might need help
rebuilding the crosses. When we got there, we found
that those magnificent people had worked all night
and, with the help of a local carpenter from Crawford,
put the whole thing back together. Amazing!

Three shuttles are running between the Peace House and
Camp Casey. One is a van rented by Randi Rhodes (of
Air America) and provided to the Peace House for the
purpose. The other two are private vehicles-- the
vans that people drove into town with.

Cindy looked exhausted on Tuesday; it had been a long
tense night. The folks are camped literally in the
ditch by the roadside, and the fact that the fool in
the pickup could as easily have taken out a row of
tents with people in them as he did the crosses was
lost on nobody.

A local rancher offered them the use of his land on
Tuesday afternoon. At first they were going to move
for sure; now, after weighing the shade problem and
the difficulty of moving all those tents, the plan is
to move only if forced to do so. This generous
rancher is a distant cousin of the man who fired the
shots a few nights back and a veteran. I wish they
would move, I think it would be safer for them, but
for now they are staying put.

While we were there, we saw a few counterprotesters.
Two when we got there-- a maximum of 7 later in the
day. Some of the Peace House people went over and
talked to them, offered them water, etc. (They had
absolutely no shade except their own umbrellas). Some
of the counterprotesters helped put back the crosses,
crying while they did it. Everyone was peaceful.

We met brave young veterans of Iraq who are protesting
because they feel it's the best way to honor their
dead buddies and keep others from suffering what they
went through; we met a decorated Vietnam veteran who
drove all the way from Indiana because, as he said, "I
hate this f***ing war." He has a son over there.
Another woman has a child about to be deployed to Iraq
from Germany; she brought Cindy and the other parents
of dead children a message from that young solder. It
was: "Dont let anybody tell you any different; we (the
soldiers) are behind you and we're counting on you to
put an end to all of this." We talked a long time
with Bill Mitchell, a broken-hearted father whose son
was killed the same day as Casey Sheehan. He wanted
everyone he met to see the pictures of his son-- to
know that Mike was a real person, not just another cog
in the war machine. These people have lost the
dearest thing in the world to them-- there's nothing
left to lose. Their bravery comes from the
fearlessness of knowing that they have survived the
absolute worst that can happen; all they want to do is
keep it from happening to anybody else.

If you want to help the cause and can't get to
Crawford yourself, the best thing to do is send money.
Even a little bit helps (lots of little-bits addup to
a lot). The Peace House is small and Camp Casey is,
well, a camp-- and all you former Boy Scouts know that
there's no extra storage space on a camp site. They
have more supplies than they can store right now--
people around here have been so generous-- but money
enables them to buy what they need when they need it
and there's no storage problem. Just Google the
Crawford Peace House and all the information you need
is there.

Thanks for listening to this long narrative. Mr. G
is going back up tomorrow and probably Friday too (I
have to be at school). Friends, keep an eye on this.
History is being made in Crawford, Texas this August
of 2005.
Peace and blessings to all,
Momma G

[reproduced with permission from MommaG]