WASHINGTON - March 7 -
WHEN: Wednesday, March 8, 12 Noon
WHERE: Meet at the Iraqi Embassy, 1801 P Street, NW. March to the White House.
WHAT: Gold Star mothers Cindy Sheehan and Elaine Johnson will join a delegation of Iraqi women for a peace rally and march from the Iraqi Embassy to the White House on Wednesday, March 8, International Women’s Day. The women will be delivering an urgent call for peace to the White House that’s been signed by 80,000 women across the globe and urges the withdrawal of all foreign troops and foreign fighters from Iraq.
“These women are not politicians, but ordinary Iraqis who are desperate to see an end to the escalating violence and are taking great personal risk to come to the US,” said Medea Benjamin, cofounder of the CODEPINK and Global Exchange, the two groups organizing the delegation.
“The Bush administration would never listen to me, but I hope they’ll listen to these women who’ve risked their lives to be here and have paid such a high price for this war,” Cindy Sheehan said.
Sheehan and Benjamin were arrested on Monday during an event with the Iraqi women at the UN. The women were trying to deliver a Women’s Call for Peace to the US mission to the UN, but the US mission refused to accept it. The same call will be delivered to members of Congress on Tuesday, March 7 and the White House on Wednesday, March 8. It will also be delivered to US embassies in 20 countries. The Women’s Call for Peace 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. For the full text of the call, see www.womensaynotowar.org
The delegation of Iraqi women is a diverse group, including Shia, Sunni and Kurdish women - some secular, some religious. They arrived in the United States on March 5th and will travel throughout the United States to tell Americans about the reality of every day life in Iraq. Two Iraqi women whose families were killed by US troops were denied visas to enter the US as part of the delegation.
"The U.S. occupation has destroyed our country, made it into a prison. Schools are bombed, hospitals are bombed," said Entisar Mohammad Ariabi, a delegation member who is a pharmacist at Yamook Hospital in Baghdad. "We thank you, Mr. Bush, for liberating our country from Saddam. But now, go out! Please go out!" she said.
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.