WASHINGTON - March 3 -
WHEN: Monday, March 6, 12 Noon
WHERE: Outside the UN Church Center, 44th Street and 1st Avenue, NY
WHAT: Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan will join a delegation of Iraqi women for a peace rally and march outside the UN on Monday, March 6 at 12 Noon. The Iraqi women are asking the UN to take action to prevent a civil war in Iraq, which appears to have broken out in full force since the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra.
“The women who’ve come here from Iraq have risked their lives to be here. I want people to hear their stories, and I hope the officials at the UN will listen to their pleas for help,” Sheehan said.
The Iraqi women had planned to come to the US, under the sponsorship of the groups Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace, for a speaking tour to educate Americans about the reality in Iraq. They also planned to deliver an urgent call for peace, signed by 50,000 women around the globe, to the White House on Wednesday, March 8, international women’s day. But since the violence escalated dramatically in Iraq in the last week, the women also decided to stop at the UN, to ask the UN to intervene to prevent a civil war.
The delegation is a diverse group, including Shia, Sunni and Kurdish women - some secular, some religious. All have paid a very high price for the war and occupation of their country. The US State Department has made it extremely difficult for regular Iraqis to travel to the US. Two Iraqi women whose families were killed by US troops were denied visas to enter the US as part of the delegation. Two additional women are still waiting in Amman, Jordan to see if their visas will come through.
The delegation is promoting a Women’s Call for Peace, which requests the withdrawal of all foreign troops and foreign fighters from Iraq, negotiations to reincorporate disenfranchised Iraqis, full representation of women in the peacemaking process, and a commitment to women's equality in the post-war Iraq. This Call is part of a Women Say No to War campaign (http://www.womensaynotowar.org) designed to bring women together across borders to demand an end to the bloodshed in Iraq.
The Iraqi women, whose bios are below, will also be speaking at an event on Sunday, March 5th at 4 PM at the Community Church of New York, 40 E. 35th Street, Manhattan. Cindy Sheehan will also speak, and Holly Near will perform. Journalists are welcome to attend.
IRAQI WOMEN’S DELEGATION BIOS
Nadje Al-Ali is a writer/researcher specializing in women in the Middle East. She is a founding member of Act Together: Women’s Action on Iraq and mother of a 3-year-old daughter.
Faiza Al-Araji is a civil engineer, blogger (afamilyinbaghdad.blogspot.com), religious Shia with a Sunni husband, and mother of three. After one son was recently held as a political prisoner by the Ministry of the Interior, the family fled to Jordan.
Eman Ahmad Khamas is a human rights advocate who has documented abuses by the US military in Iraq. She is a member of Women’s Will, and is married with two daughters.
Dr Entisar Mohammad Ariabi, a pharmacist at the Yarmook Teaching Hospital in Baghdad, has documented the deteriorating health system. She is married with five children.
Sureya Sayadi, a Kurdish woman born in Kirkuk, is an activist for human rights in the Middle East, particularly for the Kurdish people. She now lives in the United States, but her family is dispersed in Iraq, Iran and Turkey,
THE FOLLOWING WOMEN WERE DENIED VISAS BY THE US STATE DEPARTMENT
Vivian Salim Mati is a widow who lost her husband and three children when they were fired on by U.S. tank fire as they attempted to flee the bombing of their neighborhood in Baghdad in April 2003.
Kadhim Jawad (Anwar) is a widow whose husband and three children were killed by US soldiers at an unmarked checkpoint.