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Writings by Voices

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Walk Blog: Walking against war in God's country

By Bill Christofferson
August 22, 2008

Witness Against War, a walk from Chicago to St. Paul to promote non-violence and an end to the war is Iraq, is in its final week.

Dan Pearson, the one who dreamed it up, scouted and planned the route, and coordinates much of the logistics, calls it “a totally worthwhile endeavor.” He and Kathy Kelly are co-coordinators of Voices for Creative Non-Violence, the Chicago-based group that organized and sponsors the walk.

The drive from Milwaukee, where I had last walked with them, to Pepin, WI, on the Mississippi River, to rejoin them, took five hours. It had taken the walkers five weeks.

To Witness Against War -and Vårberg Violence...

By Heléne Hedberg

Helene here speaking. I left the walk a week ago now to go back to Sweden. A rather busy schedule awaited me here but I finally made some time to wrap things up for you and tell of what the WAW-walk was like for me. -The Swede…ha ha.

Let me just begin by saying that I was very glad to hear of how the encounter that some of you made at Fort McCoy the other day turned out peaceful and rewarding. I had just picked up Thoreau’s Walden and Civil Disobedience and I’ll now continue reading it with the gleaming image of the thirteen walkers crossing the line. Thank you for doing it and putting peaceful, creative nonviolent means into practice. Excellent writing Jeff.

Peace Pirates

Amman, Jordan
August 24, 2008

Dear Friends,

Yesterday afternoon as I got into a public taxi, or “service” as they are called here, a friendly driver greeted me in English, something very rare. This type of taxi carries four passengers, and it seems that people are reluctant to be heard speaking English. I had ridden in this driver’s taxi before, and the other time he felt free as well to address me in English. His words yesterday however took me completely by surprise. “Did you hear about the boats arriving in Gaza!” he said excitedly. He was referring to the Free Gaza campaign which I too have been following with great interest. We have friends among the 45 or so human rights activists on the two boats which, despite multiple threats, set sail from Cyprus to break the siege and end the blockade of Gaza and its 1.5 million occupants.

Walking as Healing

August 22, 2008

By Josh Brollier, Witness Against War

There is something undeniably therapeutic about walking. Just outside of Lacrosse a psychologist joined our walk for a day and described how it was her practice to take a leisurely stroll with patients during sessions. As we walked along the bike path later that day, I was thinking that if just twice a week we ventured out into the quiet space of nature that surrounds our cities and homes, then the world might be a very different place.

We left Chicago just over five weeks ago with a core group of fifteen walkers and I quickly felt as if these fellow sojourners were lifelong friends. We have heard each other’s stories, laughed at each other’s ridiculous jokes, and we have born each other’s burdens. Though the number of our caravan has fluctuated, each person that comes into the circle brings a unique history, personality, and depth of life experience. Walking two by two gives you the chance to try to really understand each person and to love them right where they are in life’s greater journey.

Walk Blog: Josh Brollier, Civil Disobedience a Success?

By Joshua Brollier
Aug 12, 2008

The press has gone out and the word has spread about our non-violent act of civil resistance at Ft McCoy, and I have been reflecting on the event and hoping that our action was an encouragement to the soldiers who are set to deploy to Iraq in 2009. We attempted to enter the base and have conversations with soldiers about their right to refuse illegal orders and to file as conscientious objectors. We also wanted to inform them that Spencer Black is going to introduce a piece of legislature that will potentially keep the 32nd Brigade Combat Team of the Wisconsin National Guard at home- this will be the second to third deployment of many members of the guard.

Letter from Cathy Breen: "How can the walls ever come down?"

Amman, Jordan
Aug 10, 2008

Dear Friends,

“How can the walls ever come down?” was the question I put to three Iraqi friends. Late yesterday afternoon I went next door to ask a neighbor if we could watch Iraqi TV news together. Would he mind translating for me? This young friend often helps me with Arabic, and I had brought my notebook along. We were joined by his brother and another Iraqi friend who will be returning to Baghdad soon. Moslem and Christians, we sat together. The walls I was referring to are the concrete barricades which have been constructed by the coalition forces throughout all of Baghdad. These walls seal off and separate entire communities.

13 Arrested at Fort McCoy for Opposing Iraq War

August 10, 2008

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August 9 was a day of preparation for Witness Against War. Preparation for the act of nonviolent civil resistance to take place the following day.

We gathered at the Lafayette Town Hall just north of Sparta. Our host’s family goes back 7 generations on this land. His aunt and uncle donated the property on which the town hall now sits.

The Big Voice

August 9, 2008

Our “Witness Against War” walk is in Wisconsin, traversing traditional land of the Ho- Chunk Nation, also known in English translation as “People of the Big Voice.” In 1836, U.S. settlers, including farmers and miners, coveted this lush farmland and its rich mining resources and forced the Ho-Chunk to sell it all for a pittance.

Walk Blog: Alice Gerard (Baraboo to Reedsburg)

By Alice Gerard
Aug 5, 2008

We left our campsites at Devil’s Lake State Park early on Saturday morning. It didn’t take us long to depart. We seem to have become quite proficient at packing our luggage, the air mattresses, and the tents in a short amount of time.

We all got on the bus and returned to Baraboo. Just the previous day, we had walked from Devil’s Lake State Park to Baraboo. It was a short walk but a workout, nevertheless. Half of it was uphill on winding roads. Saturday’s walk was promising to be longer. Fortunately, we started early. I didn’t really feel awake yet and was hoping that I would be halfway to our destination before I realized that I was tired and that my feet hurt.

Walk Blog: Alice Gerard (Lake Mills to Cottage Grove)

By Alice Gerard
July 26, 2008

Mosquitoes that managed to sneak into the tent that I shared with Mary and Helene enjoyed a feast. In the middle of the night, I awakened to the drone of a mosquito that was ready to dive bomb me. In the dark and without my glasses, I swatted ineffectively in the air, covered my face with my arms, and drifted back to sleep.

Five o’clock in the morning seems to come awfully quickly.

It was time to go to the public showering facility near the bike path. Tim drove Mary, Helene, and me there. I enjoyed a hot shower and emerged, feeling human again.

Back at the campsite, we welcomed Huihwa, Mark, and Mike, who are going to be part of our group for the weekend.

After packing up the tents and deflating the mattresses and eating breakfast, we were ready to begin our day’s adventure, walking from Lake Mills to Cottage Grove.