Rice For Peace (and Other Ways to Oppose War)

Here are a few of the many ways to protest the impending war with Iraq. Thanks to my friend at Pax Christi, the Catholic peace movement, for providing this information.

Join United For Peace and Justice anti-war march in New York City on Saturday, Feb. 15, a world-wide day of action against the Bush Administration's proposed war on Iraq. Protests are already being planned in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Athens, Bangkok, Barcelona, Belfast, Berlin, Bern, Brussels, Cairo, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, Helsinki, Istanbul, Jakarta, London, Manila, Oslo, Paris, Ramallah, Rome, San Francisco, San Juan, Stockholm, Tallinn, Tokyo, Vienna, and Warsaw. Confirmed speakers in New York include Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. For more information go to: UnitedForPeace.org.

Contact members of the UN Security Council directly, both permanent members (France, Russian Federation, People's Republic of China, United Kingdom and the United States) and non-permanent member states (Bulgaria, Cameroon, Guinea, Mexico, Syrian Arab Republic, Angola, Chile, Germany, Pakistan, Spain). Ask them to oppose war on Iraq. Hearing from thousands of people will send a clear message that Americans do not support war with Iraq, and will help Security Council members resist the enormous pressure being applied by the Bush administration.

To pass a resolution, the UN Security Council must generate nine "Yes" votes and no vetoes. Russia is sending conflicting messages about its possible support of a war against Iraq. Please contact the Russian Mission and ask them to hold firm against war. Also contact the French Mission, thank them for their leadership, and ask them to continue to oppose the war.

-Russian Federation: Ambassador Sergey Lavrov: rusun@un.int; Phone: 212-861-4900; 4901 and 4902; Fax: 212-628-0252

-France: Ambassador S.E.M. Jean-David Levitte: france-presse@un.int; Phone: 212-308-5700; Fax:212-421-6889.

-People's Republic of China: Ambassador Wang Yingfan: chinamission_un@fmprc.gov.cn; Phone;212-655-6100; Fax: 212-634-7626.

-United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Ambassador Sir Jeremy Quentin Greenstock, KCMG: uk@un.int; Phone: 212-745-9200; Fax: 212-745-9316.

-United States: Ambassador John D. Negroponte: usa@un.int; Phone: 212-415-4000; Fax: 212-415-4443.

-Republic of Bulgaria: Ambassador H.E. Mr. Stefan Tafrov: bulgaria@un.int; Phone: 212-737-4790; 4791; Fax: 212-472-9865.

-Republic of Cameroon: Ambassador Son Excellence Martin Belinga Eboutou: info@cameroonmission.org; Phone: 212-794-2295, -2296, -2297, -2298, or -2299; Fax: 212-249-0533.

-Republic of Guinea: Ambassador Mamady Traore: guinea@un.int; Phone: 212-687-8115, -8116, or -8117; Fax: 212-687-8248.

-Mexico: Ambassador Alfonso Aquilar Zinser: mexico@un.int; Phone: 212-752-0220; Fax: 212-688-8862.

-Syrian Arab Republic: Ambassador Mikhail Wahba: syria@un.int; Phone: 212-661-1313; Fax: 212-983-4439.

-Republic of Angola: Ambassador S.E. Dr. Ismael Gaspar Martins: ang-un@angolamissionun.org; Phone: 212-861-5656; Fax: 212-861-9295.

-Chile Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdes: chile@un.int; Phone: 212-832-3323; Fax: 212-832-8714.

-Germany: Ambassador Dr. Gunter Pleuger: contact@germany-un.org; Phone: 212-940-0400; Fax: 212-940-0402.

-Pakistan: Ambassador Munir Akram: Pakistan@un.int; Phone: 212-879-8600; Fax: 212-744-7348.

-Spain: Ambassador H. E. Mr. Inocencio F. Arias: spain@spainun.org; Phone: 212-661-1050; 212-949-7247.

Here is a simple action plan from Hands Across the Globe to help stop war: 1. Outline the hands of your children or grandchildren and write a message of peace on each hand. 2. Mail one handprint to President Bush at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20500 (Fax: 202-456-2461) 3. Mail the other handprint to the Iraq Mission to the UN, c/o Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri, Mission of Iraq to the UN, 14 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10021 (Fax: 212-772-1794)

The American Friends Service Committee is asking for help in assembling and collecting "Family-Size Health Kits" for shipment to Iraq. "We fear there will be a large number of internally displaced persons in Iraq in addition to hundreds of thousands of refugees in neighboring countries. Since June 2002, the AFSC, in cooperation with other international aid agencies, has made a contingency plan for Iraq, resulting in shipment of three 40 foot containers to Jordan. The containers are filled with health kits and blankets to be distributed by AFSC regional staff in cooperation with other international and local organizations, if war erupts." For information on the contents of the health kits and where they are to be sent, go to AFSC's Web site. The deadline is March 31, 2003.

On Jan. 27, Pax Christi International sent a letter to the UN Security Council urging the 15 member board to "resist pressure to go to war and to instead ensure more time for the inspection team to complete their work." The organization has collected fifty thousand signatories to its Iraq Peace Pledge/Iraq Pledge of Resistance, which was delivered to members of Congress on January 21. Names will continue to be delivered in the coming months as more people speak out against war with Iraq. To obtain a copy of the Iraq Peace Pledge/Pledge of Resistance go to PCUSA's website at PaxChristiUSA.org or contact Shannon McManimon at shannonpcusa@hotmail.com.

There are also many, many pledges, letters, petitions, email chains, and other antiwar pleas to which you can add your name. Among the most effective petitioners are MoveOn.org, which has several anti-war campaigns: a "virtual march," a public forum to brainstorm on how to prevent the war, and a "No War On Iraq" petition and letter.

AlterNet has also teamed up with MoveOn to create an Open Letter to Europe encouraging European citizens and leaders to resist Bush's war drive.

Among the countless sources for petitions online, Protest.net and PetitionOnline.com have a large sample of petitions and letters to distribute far and wide.

Last but not least, Stirling Cousins of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center in Boulder, Colorado has organized a Rice for Peace campaign, a grassroots effort to oppose war with Iraq. Here is the recipe:

Place a half a cup uncooked rice in a small plastic bag. Squeeze out the excess air and seal the bag. Wrap it in a piece of paper on which you have written the words: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. Romans 12:20. Please send this rice to the people of Iraq. Do not attack them."

Place the paper and bag of rice in an envelope and address it to:

President George W. Bush White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC 20500

In order for this protest to be effective, there must be hundreds of thousands of deliveries of rice to the White House. Brown rice, white rice, basmati, arborio, even Rice-a-Roni, will do just fine.

The cost of mailing the rice is $1.06. The cost of the coming war is beyond calculation.

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