American Friends Service Committee
Patrica Watson, Editor
Sara Burke, Assistant Editor
Pat Farren, Founding Editor
2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Peacework has been published monthly since 1972, intended to serve as a source of dependable information to those who strive for peace and justice and are committed to furthering the nonviolent social change necessary to achieve them. Rooted in Quaker values and informed by AFSC experience and initiatives, Peacework offers a forum for organizers, fostering coalition-building and teaching the methods and strategies that work in the global and local community. Peacework seeks to serve as an incubator for social transformation, introducing a younger generation to a deeper analysis of problems and issues, reminding and re-inspiring long-term activists, encouraging the generations to listen to each other, and creating space for the voices of the disenfranchised.
Views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of the AFSC.
Honoring Dr. King's Birthday
Carol Dwyer is a member of the Steering Committee of Grassroots Actions for Peace and a longtime peace activist.
Dozens of signs spelled out the need for a ban: "Depleted Uranium Weapons = Sick Soldiers," "Kosovo Children Play in Radioactive Dust." Powerfully, several signs quoted from the Boston Globe statement of Dec. 27: "Official statistics show that the number of Iraqi children with cancer rose to 130,000 in 1997 from 32 in 1990." Members of Latinos and Latinas for Social Change called for a cleanup of the 267 rounds of depleted uranium weapons which were dropped "by mistake" and illegally on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques by the US Navy in Feb, 1999. Media coverage of the event included the French TV station TF1, Associated Press, and a number of local papers.
Depleted Uranium weapons are effective against tanks, but when DU bullets strike, they ignite, forming fine particles of toxic and radioactive dust which can be inhaled or swallowed. DU can cause lung and other cancers, damage to the kidneys and liver, and congenital malformations and genetic damage. On April 30, 1999, the Christian Science Monitor stated "Battlefields littered with the residue of spent DU bullets remain radioactive almost indefinitely." And in the same article: "The cost of cleaning DU residue in the Gulf would be prohibitive. The price tag for removing 152,000 pounds of DU in the now-closed 500 acre Jefferson Proving Ground in Indiana has been estimated to have been $4 billion to $5 billion."
Grassroots Actions for Peace learned from the success of this demonstration that this way of organizing is powerful. When small progressive groups who are focused on different issues come together in an alliance, we can create a powerful voice. There were twenty groups whose members participated to show their concern: American Friends Service Committee, Alliance for Democracy, Catholic Worker, Coalition for a Strong United Nations, Citizens Research and Environmental Watch, First Parish in Concord Social Action Committee, Friday Peace Vigil, Grassroots Actions for Peace, Latinos and Latinas for Social Change, Lincoln First Parish Peace and Justice group, Military Toxics Project, Mobilization for Survival, Peace Action, Thoreau Institute, Twenty Twenty Vision, Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community, Veterans for Peace, WAND, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Boston.
The next steps? We will celebrate our success on February 26th! We're gathering signatures on petitions to Ban Depleted Uranium Weapons that are being circulated nationally by the Military Toxics Project: 207/783-5091; PO Box 558, Lewiston, Maine 04243; <email@example.com> We will take these signed petitions to our Congressman who sits on the Armed Services Committee, and work with others in Massachusetts to find a group of legislators who are willing to take the first steps toward a ban. With sixteen countries counting these weapons in their arsenals, there is no time to lose.