People for Peace, Justice, and Healing
August 23, 2008

People for Peace, Justice and Healing met on August 23, 2008, at 10 a.m. at Associated Ministries. Present for check-in: Terry, Sonia, Mark, Rob, Nancy, Susan, and Vivi.


1. FREE GAZA (Nancy)
Brave souls have embarked in fishing boats -- the SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty -- intent on making landfall in Gaza. They reached Gaza today. Last week Nancy made a contribution in PPJH's name to the Free Gaza Movement. -- [BACKGROUND: Here's the latest press release: "FREE GAZA BOATS ARRIVE IN GAZA -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Date : 08-23-2008 -- GAZA (23 August 2008) -- Two small boats, the SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty, successfully landed in Gaza early this evening, breaking the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. -- The boats were crewed by a determined group of international human rights workers from the Free Gaza Movement. They had spent two years organizing the effort, raising money by giving small presentations at churches, mosques, synagogues, and in the homes of family, friends, and supporters. -- They left Cyprus on Thursday morning, sailing over 350 kilometers through choppy seas. They made the journey despite threats that the Israeli government would use force to stop them. They continued sailing although they lost almost all communications and navigation systems due to outside jamming by some unknown party. They arrived in Gaza to the cheers and joyful tears of hundreds of Palestinians who came out to the beaches to welcome them. -- Two small boats, 42 determined human rights workers, one simple message: “The world has not forgotten the people of this land. Today, we are all from Gaza.” -- Tonight, the cheering will be heard as far away as Tel Aviv and Washington D.C. -- QUOTES FOR PUBLICATION -- 'We recognize that we’re two, humble boats, but what we’ve accomplished is to show that average people from around the world can mobilize to create change. We do not have to stay silent in the face of injustice. Reaching Gaza today, there is such a sense of hope, and hope is what mobilizes people everywhere.' --Huwaida Arraf. Huwaida is Palestinian-American, and also a citizen of Israel. She’s a human rights activist and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement. In 2007 she received her Juris Doctor from American University in Washington D.C. Currently she teaches Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Al Quds University in Jerusalem. Huwaida sailed to Gaza aboard the SS Liberty. -- 'We’re the first ones in 41 years to enter Gaza freely -- but we won’t be the last. We welcome the world to join us and see what we’re seeing.' --Paul Larudee, Ph.D. Paul is a cofounder of the Free Gaza Movement and a San Francisco Bay Area activist on the issue of justice in Palestine. He sailed to Gaza aboard the SS Liberty. -- 'What we’ve done shows that people can do what governments should have done. If people stand up against injustice, we can truly be the conscience of the world.' --Jeff Halper, Ph.D. Jeff is an Israeli professor of anthropology and coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), a non-violent Israeli peace and human rights organization that resists the Israeli occupation on the ground. In 2006, the American Friends Service Committee nominated Jeff to receive the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize with Palestinian intellectual and activist Ghassan Andoni. Jeff sailed to Gaza aboard the SS Free Gaza. -- For More Information, please contact: (Gaza) Huwaida Arraf, tel. +972 599 130 426 (Gaza) Jeff Halper, tel. +972 542 002 642 (Cyprus) Osama Qashoo, tel. +357 99 793 595 /"

2. OPT-OUT (Nancy)
The Opt-Out form is of increased importance this year because of intensified recruiting pressures and practices agencies of the U.S. military. Nancy is trying to get school principals to have forms passed out to students. Help will be needed in doing the leafleting that in some cases will be necessary to get the forms to students and their parents. Stay tuned.

3. ADAM SMITH (Terry)
A delegation from United for Peace of Pierce County, Veterans for Peace, and Iraq Veterans Against the War met this week with Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA 9th) in his office in Fife, and gave him a letter calling for holding the Bush administration accountable for its actions. Smith was supportive.


On Mon., Aug. 25, at 7:00 p.m., at the Mandolin Cafe (3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma), United for Peace of Pierce County's Monday evening book discussion group will discuss Sheldon Wolin's new book challenging the notion that the U.S. is a democratic society in any meaningful sense: Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism was published in April. Marc Stears, author of Progressives, Puluralists and the Problem of the State, has called it "powerful and persuasive. Democracy Incorporated does exactly what great political theory should do: it provides a theoretical framework that allows the reader to see the political world anew. It left this reader with an almost nightmarish vision of American politics today, a nightmare all the more terrifying for being so compelling, so vivid, and so real." For more information, see here.

Help is needed to help set up the Arlington Northwest memorial next weekend on the banks of Puget Sound in Tacoma: . Please come at 6:00 a.m. on Sat., Aug. 30, to Marine Park, Ruston Way in Tacoma, to assist. The memorial will remain in place all day Sat., Aug. 30, and Sun., Aug. 31, until 5:00 p.m. This memorial commemorates all U.S. troops who have been lost and remembers those serving overseas. "This is a nonpartisan memorial designed to raise public awareness of the costs of the wars and occupation. No other signs will be displayed on the area. It is setup and maintained by members of the Evergreen Peace and Justice Community and the local Veterans for Peace chapter. For more information contact Ray Nacanaynay at, or phone 253-222-7894. For further information contact Charley Dils, chapter vice-president at 253-973-3167.

Respectfully submitted,