Children are starving in Yemen because of US bombs. 34 Backpack Vigil in Albany on Thursday, November 29th Noon to 1 PM.

Despairing of getting House and Senate leadership to allow privileged status, under Authorization of Military Force rules to sponsored bills that would end US support for the Saudi led War in Yemen, The Iran Project of Women Against War decided to hold another public vigil.
We felt that broader Congressional attention might finally be focused on US support and weapons sales – after the blocking of a long sponsored House resolution by Paul Ryan, the horrific August 9th bombing  of a school bus by a US made bomb, and the brutal October 2nd assassination of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, masterminded by Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

A child stands near the mangled wreckage of the bombed-out school bus. Photo by Ahmad Algohbary/Al Jazeera

Women Against War has been lobbying and vigiling for years to remove all US military support and weapons sales to the Saudi Emirati coalition as the rate of starvation and deaths from preventable diseases has grown to epic proportions. But this obvious violation of the rules of war by targeting a civilian vehicle provided a dramatic point to educate the public.

November 2018, The Backpack Cemetery for Yemeni civilians at the Saudi Consulate. from Afghan Peace Volunteers

Voices for Creative Nonviolence had created the visuals for a moving and visceral vigil. We decided to work with their ideas and their materials while adding some of our own. Much appreciation to Fran Dempsey for contacting Kathy Kelly and obtaining the backpacks and placards that they had designed, along with those in Grannies for Peace who shared previous signs and banners about the blockades and bombings in Yemen.

One of our goals was to create our own media with the visual display and a leaflet to distribute to pedestrians:
Thanks to the excellent media outreach by Maureen Aumand we had some media coverage, including 5 excellent photos and a short description by Times Union photographer, John Carl D’Annibale. [Taken early in the vigil as people were still arriving.]  At the peak of the vigil we counted 43 people]


You’ll also notice that each backpack has the name of one of the 9 to 11 year old students who died in the bombing. That work was done by some members of Fran’s family/community as part of the preparation. The 4 red, white and black signs taken together tell the story of the bombing and of the context of humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

To get a wider picture of the spirit and physical impact of the vigil here are photos taken by Mabel Leon. Given the most recent focus in the Senate on “punishing” MbS rather than on the suffering of the people of Yemen we may still have a longer struggle ahead of us than we would have wished.  So stay tuned and keep on lobbying and being active!

Vigil and commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day in conjunction with Performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem , Saturday November 10th, at Proctor’s Schenectady from 6:15 to 7:30 PM

After receiving the announcement of the Albany Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem as the last of a series of events commemorating the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, Marcia Hopple brought the idea of leafleting and vigiling for peace at that performance to the October meeting of  WAW’s Iran Project.  After a discussion it was decided to vigil and leaflet in the courtyard leading to the back doors of Proctor’s theatre.  We obtained permission from both the Orchestra and Proctors to be there and be a voice for peace. Alexandra Lusak got permission for us to park in the lot of a nearby church so that we could leave the Proctors’ parking to the concert goers. Here are a few details from our outreach flyer to Capitol District peace groups:

Women Against War is planning a peace demonstration on Saturday November 10 to dovetail with a performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at Proctors Theater in Schenectady.  It will also allow us to stand in spirit with Veterans for Peace and others who will be vigiling on Sunday, 11/11/18 in Washington DC

TIME:  6:15  – 7:30 PM. There will be two groups: arriving for the Pre-concert talk with David  Alan Miller at 6:30 PM, and for the concert at 7:30 PM

LOCATION:  Rear of Proctors, 432 State Street, Schenectady NY 12305 (near State and Jay Streets) We will be standing in the courtyard outside doors to Proctors from rear parking areas

OCCASION:  Albany Symphony Orchestra performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem to commemorate the first Armistice Day 100 years ago, ending World War I (the war that was supposed to end all wars).

The concert is the culmination of several events commemorating the first Armistice Day 100 years ago http://www.albanysymphony.com/armisticecentennialevents/

ACTION:  Handing out leaflets and displaying signs related to the theme End Endless War, as about 2,000 concert goers enter the theater.

We will provide signs.  Please try to carpool and dress for standing outside for the demonstration.  We will leaflet and hold our signs primarily at the rear of Proctors where most patrons arrive from the parking lots.  The Symphony and Proctors welcome us to be present at this Armistice Centennial event.  Proctors even offered to hand out coffee to the vigilers.

Parking available  WAW has permission to park in the lot at the First United Methodist Church of Schenectady.  They are at 603 State Street, about two blocks east of Proctors.  The lot is behind the church.  Another option is to park at Schenectady County library at 99 Clinton Street, at the corner of Liberty St., about three blocks from Proctors.  Please avoid parking in the lots directly behind Proctors to leave room for concert patrons. A parking garage near Proctors is usually free during performances and is accessible from Broadway.  Parking in the lots behind Proctors is not free.

As an update about our action: on a bitterly cold evening with a strong breeze 12 brave vigilers carried signs reading End Endless War and War Is Not The Answer and handed out about 500 leaflets with the theme Working for Peace through Music, Art, Poetry and Policy and ending with the phrase “Together we can make a Peaceful World.”

 

 

Saturday, December 6th vigil and mall stroll at Colonie Shopping Center, Grannies Say No to War Toys and Violent Video Games

Gallery

This gallery contains 23 photos.

  As the first public event in a conversation about some of the roots of violence in our society, namely War Toys and Violent Videos, the Grannies For Peace held a vigil and mall stroll at Colonie Shopping Center during … Continue reading