Saturday, February 10, 2007
“Bring Their Buddies Home” Events Planned for Feb. 19
by MARK GABRISH CONLAN
Copyright © 2007 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved
Anti-war activist and former Congressional candidate Jeeni Criscenzo has called for a nationwide “Bring Their Buddies Home” mobilization for Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 19. Based on an event she organized in Carlsbad on November 25, 2005 as part of the kickoff for her campaign against Republican Congressmember Darrell Issa, “Bring Their Buddies Home” is described in Criscenzo’s press release not just as an anti-war protest but as “a national act of art” and a “collaborative effort to illustrate the tragic consequences of war and champion non-violent solutions to conflict.”
Criscenzo recalled the original “Bring Their Buddies Home” event in a Zenger’s interview the night of President Bush’s most recent State of the Union address. “We did it the day after Thanksgiving, 2005, with about 800 people,” she said. “It was a very powerful way to communicate the devastating consequences of war, and it’s important to do it now. So we decided to do it nationally on February 19.” The local event, Criscenzo added, will be at the same place as the original: along U.S. Highway 101in Carlsbad from 10 to 11 a.m.
Participants in “Bring Their Buddies Home” are asked to wear black and stand together in silence. Each person in the action will wear a sign with the name of a U.S. servicemember who has been killed in Iraq. Criscenzo said she was inspired to do the action by her conversations with active-duty Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton in North County, many of whom have lost faith in the mission but continue to return to Iraq again and again, not only because they’re ordered to but because they feel an obligation to their buddies who are still there.
“I realized that we needed to do whatever we could to bring their buddies home so they don’t have to go back and fight and die for a war that has nothing to do with why they signed up — to defend us,” Criscenzo explained. Asked why she called the protest a work of art, Criscenzo said, “Because everyone stands in silence. The purpose is to be observed. We want it to have an emotional impact. Each of those people is representing a person ho died. War isn’t a chess game. Real people die. Even Darrell Issa, the Congressmember I ran against last year, admits that the cost of the war is greater than has been admitted.”
“We need to end this war now,” added Martha Sullivan, who’s working with Criscenzo on the “Bring Their Buddies Home” mobilization. “There’s no need to drag this ouot. Because of the current state of medical technology, we’re going to be able to save the lives of more of our soldiers — but that just means more veterans will be going through the rest of their lives disabled or catastrophically maimed.”
The “Bring Their Buddies Home” actions February 19 will be staggered according to time zone — 10 to 11 a.m. Pacific, 11 a.m. to noon Mountain, noon to 1 p.m. Central and 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern — so they all take place simultaneously. Each action will take place next to a well-traveled road, and the only signs used will be the dead servicemembers’ names and a series of Burma Shave-like signs in the ground reading, “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS — BRING THEIR BUDDIES HOME.” The action is an expression of non-violence as practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Participants will be asked to deal with confrontation by continuing to stand in silence. They are asked not to bring signs or wear anything that will detract from the simple message of mourning and peace their presence is meant to convey.
Local coordinators are needed to organize Bring Their Buddies Home Acts of Art in communities across the country. They will be provided with guidance and tools for organizing the event, including a Netrootz™ web page with sign-up forms and and an easy way send email to participants. Anyone interested in helping to make this event happen as a local coordinator in their area, should contact Jeeni Criscenzo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Event locations and links to sign up for them will be posted at www.BringTheirBuddiesHome.com. With events happening around the country on February 19, hundreds of thousands of participants will have the opportunity to take a stand for one hour for peace.