She's a business consultant and married to a doctor. The Seattle couple have two children, ages 4 and 7, and don't usually make time in their busy urban schedules to attend rallies or community meetings.
But on Saturday, the four Shamseldins will spend their precious weekend family time marching for peace from the White House to the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Thousands of other Americans will be with them.
It was one of those quick decisions -- one that Tina Shamseldin made around Christmas when she came to realize and resent her government's push for a pre-emptive strike and invasion of Iraq.
"I think there is a key window of time for us to get them to maybe change their mind about invading Iraq," she said.
Her family is among a growing number of so-called mainstream Americans opposing the Bush administration's plans for Iraq, as well as a growing number of Seattleites willing to make the long trip eastward to show their president how they feel.
Organizers in the peace movement expect Saturday's march in Washington, D.C., to be the largest yet in opposition to a proposed attack on Iraq. The demonstration was timed to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations, which emphasize peaceful resistance.
Anti-war activists also plan to march and rally in San Francisco, while hundreds of others from Ellensburg to Mount Vernon will gather Saturday evening for potluck suppers.
"We feel that it's very important because people around the world will be looking at these demonstrations," said Nancy Milholland, who will take a train to San Francisco with five others from Port Townsend.
Today, anti-war demonstrators will rally at 1 p.m. in front of the Jackson Federal Building. The event will mark the 12th anniversary of the start of the Persian Gulf War.
The United States has almost always had an active peace movement that comprises people who make it one of their lifelong priorities to protest war of any kind anywhere in the world.
If there is a silver lining in current events for peace activists, it is that talk of war in the White House these days is bringing more people out of their living rooms and on to the streets, said Will Rose, who is flying from Seattle to Washington for Saturday's protest.
"Some of our family was surprised, especially that we were taking the kids," Shamseldin said. She and her husband got favors from colleagues, as well as vacation time, to be able to make the trip.
Those already active in the peace movement and who have opposed economic sanctions on Iraq for years are glad to see people such as the Shamseldins taking a stand, said Gerri Haynes, immediate past president of the Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility.
The peace movement is trying to get even more people to take a stand. Today, a television ad from the Cold War will be reprised in Seattle and 12 other U.S. cities to persuade people to back weapons inspection, not war.
The ad shows a girl plucking daisy petals. The ad also has a countdown for a missile launch and a mushroom cloud.
The original ad ran once in 1964 as President Lyndon Johnson tried to paint his opponent, Barry Goldwater, as someone who might lead the nation to a nuclear war.
The ad is not the only place Americans will find anti-war messages.
Haynes said that as Americans begin to use the Internet to read a wider variety of news from the international and independent media, they are becoming better informed.
"We like to view ourselves as kindly and good," she said about Americans. "And what has been done in Iraq in our names has not been that."
Haynes and her husband are also planning to march Saturday in Washington, and they are glad others from Seattle are making the trip.
"I have been waiting for this to happen," said Rose, who also attended an anti-war rally at the U.S. Capitol in October.
Rose, whose first trip to the nation's capital was as a teenager in the 1960s for a rally against the Vietnam War, saves his vacation time for moments like this. He said that he is most looking forward to a planned march from the Capitol to the Navy Yard, where demonstrators, posing as weapons inspectors, are expected to demand inventory of the United States' weapons of mass destruction.
"We are the procurers of weapons to the world," Rose said. "It's our weapons of mass destruction."
TO LEARN MORE
For more information about peace gatherings in Seattle, visit www.scn.org/activism/calendar/
For information about planned potlucks on Saturday, visit www.potlucksforpeace.org
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