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December 9, 2009
11:53 AM

CONTACT: War Resisters League

Ruth Benn, 718-768-7306,
Frida Berrigan, 347-683-4928,

No Peace Prize for the War President, Coffin March in NYC

NEW YORK - December 9 - On December 10, as President Barack Obama accepts the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, members of the New York City chapter of the War Resisters League will carry cardboard coffins across mid-town Manhattan in a solemn and silent procession, to dramatize the human costs of the war in Afghanistan—a war that the President had pledged to accelerate in the coming weeks and months.

The group will gather at noon, on Thursday, December 10, at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza (East 47th street, near First Avenue), and then process across 42nd Street to the Times Square Military Recruiting Station. Joined by members of Veterans for Peace, World Can’t Wait and other groups, the marchers will carry black draped coffins, and the faces of war victims.

“Peace prizes should not go to war presidents,” says WRL organizer Ruth Benn. “Just a week after he announced ‘surge’ of 30,000 troops to the deadly Afghan quagmire, we feel that President Barack Obama cannot accept a prize established to recognize—in the words of Alfred Nobel—‘the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies.’ It is an irony approaching fiction.”

At times, the prize has gone to tireless advocates for peace and justice like Martin Luther King Jr, Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala, Wangari Maathai of Kenya, Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams of Ireland and Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma. This time, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee seems to make a choice out of George Orwell's 1984, where "war is peace.”

The War Resisters League was inspired to organize this simple action, after reading that thousands will gather in Oslo, Norway to protest the war in Afghanistan as President Obama accepts the Nobel Peace Prize.

The United States’ oldest secular pacifist organization, the War Resisters League has been resisting war at home and war abroad since 1923. Our work for nonviolent revolution has spanned decades and has been shaped by the new visions and strategies of each generation’s peacemakers.


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