Don't thank the women from Iraq
Today Entisar is speaking in Montgomery, Alabama. As I am planning on spending a few more days with my daughter before heading west, I have rushed from D.C. to make it to Atlanta in time to rest a couple of hours before I head to Montgomery. I want to drive to Montgomery to be there for Entisar & Rae who are participating in the NOW meeting and the International Women’s Day celebration that is to take place at the capitol steps in Montgomery.
It is the first day of the CodePINK Women from Iraq tour thru the southeast – and it is Alabama – I know how white people can be in Alabama & I feel compelled to be there - just in case!
It takes me 3 hours to drive to Montgomery but because of the time change & gaining an hour, I make it just before Rae and Entisar get there.
I want to talk about Mother’s Day Month if I can as well.
This is Montgomery NOW’s second meeting – about 20-30 people have shown up – and us. Entisar speaks at the end of the program, after a couple of women have performed poetry and dance, business is taken care of, and what passes for ‘food’ is consumed – deep fried things, white sugary things, along with cokes & diet cokes. Quesadillas are the closest thing to real food I see and even those look like they came from a pale deep freeze.
As Entisar speaks, people from the audience seem horrified and unfamiliar with the consequences of war – many women were seeking in desperate disbelief to figure out why U.S. soldiers would shoot children in front of their mothers or rape women in front of their families – as if there could possibly be a reason. Another man wanted to know who has killed more people in Iraq – us or Hussein?
But the worst for me continues to be the thanking of Entisar and the other women for coming to the United States.
"Thank you for coming here & telling us these horrific things" we say almost as one.
I say, stop, let us not thank these women with "thank you's"– these words are hollow and useless. Instead, let us look these women directly in the eyes as we grasp their hands, and make them the deepest promise we can possible make: promise to work the very, very hardest we can to end this war and occupation immediately. This is the thanks Iraqi women want, I believe, and what we should give. And nothing less.