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Sunday, Feb. 02, 2003 at 10:21 PM
There is a grassroots campaign underway to protest war in Iraq in a simple, but potentially powerful way.
Place 1/2 cup uncooked rice in a small plastic bag (a snack-size bag or sandwich bag work fine). Squeeze out excess air and seal the bag. Wrap it in a piece of paper on which you have written, "If your enemies are hungry, feed them." Romans 12:20. Please send this rice to the people of Iraq; do not attack them." (If you are of a different faith than Christian, substitute a statement from your own faith tradition.) Place the paper and bag of rice in an envelope (either a letter-sized or padded mailing envelope--both are the same cost to mail) and address them to: President George Bush White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC 20500 Attach $1.06 in postage. (Three 37-cent stamps equal $1.11.)
Drop this in the mail TODAY. It is important to act NOW so that President Bush gets the letters ASAP before next week's UN showdown. In order for this protest to be effective, there must be hundreds of thousands of such rice deliveries to the White House. We can do this if you each forward this message to your friends and family.
There is a positive history of this protest! In the 1950s, Fellowship of Reconciliation began a similar protest, which is credited with influencing President Eisenhower against attacking China.
Read on: "In the mid-1950s, the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation, learning of famine in the Chinese mainland, launched a 'Feed Thine Enemy' campaign. Members and friends mailed thousands of little bags of rice to the White House with a tag quoting the Bible, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him." As far as anyone knew for more than ten years, the campaign was an abject failure. The President did not acknowledge receipt of the bags publicly; certainly, no rice was ever sent to China. "What nonviolent activists only learned a decade later was that the campaign played a significant, perhaps even determining role in preventing nuclear war.
Twice while the campaign was on, President Eisenhower met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to consider U.S. options in the conflict with China over two islands, Quemoy and Matsu. The generals twice recommended the use of nuclear weapons. President Eisenhower each time turned to his aide and asked how many little bags of rice had come in. When told they numbered in the tens of thousands, Eisenhower told the generals that as long as so many Americans were expressing active interest in having the U.S. feed the Chinese, he certainly wasn't going to consider using nuclear weapons against them."
From: People Power: Applying Nonviolence Theory by David H. Albert, p.43, New Society, 19.
Thank you for being people of hope, people of faith. Pastor Susan Ortman Goering, Boulder Mennonite
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