Letter from Cordoba: Civil Disobedience
Letter from Cordoba: Civil Disobedience
[Translated by Francisco GonzÃ¡lez]
I don't want to fill your mailboxes with more arguments against this war. Everything has already been said and there is no need for more arguments. Maybe Aznar should "vote for another people," as Brecht suggested in cases like this, because everything indicates that this "preemptive" attack is not wanted by the majority of the population.
I am not at all an expert in legal matters, but I sense a serious anti-constitutional element in the fact of ignoring the consensus of the population on this issue and supporting this war against our will. But what exactly is our will? I just want to clarify my stand on this. To begin with, this won't be done in my name. But I believe this statement (which most of us have subscribed since it arrived from the antiwar voices in the US) is no longer sufficient.
Sure, a "Not in My Name" must come out loud, clear and forcefully. But today I've tried to define what this forcefulness means personally to me. And I would like to share with you, friends and colleagues, my decision to start actions of pacific resistance (civil disobedience) in the case an attack on Iraq takes place. But, before that, I think we should put all of our energy in the demonstrations of February 15. We must try to get a massive, overwhelming presence of people on the streets.
We should transmit our opposition to this war to our family members, neighbors, colleagues and acquaintances, wherever we are, and literally invade the streets of every village, every city, retaking them for the expansion of our voice, which otherwise does not seem to be able to make itself heard. But our opposition must be expressed before and after February 15.
I would like to suggest that before and after the 15th, but especially on that day, our homes and streets, villages and cities, become a giant sea of white as a symbol of peace. Let's fill our balconies, windows, front walls and roofs with white sheets, so we'll have white sheeted roofs, white villages, white cities, with messages such as NOT IN MY NAME, or without messages, but let our streets be a sea of white, a sea of peace. Our opposition must be visible beyond the demonstration. Let's seek this visual (not theatrical) impact.
And I would like to express my opposition in the most personal and forceful way. I would like to encourage you to undertake any peaceful actions that may show the strength of your opposition. I have decided to go inside the CÃ³rdoba City Hall on the afternoon of February 14 and stay there for 24 hours. And during those 24 hours, in solidarity with the civilian victims of the international blockade against Iraq, I'll hold a strike in every sense, including the ingestion of food. I would not call it a hunger strike, but rather a consuming strike. I encourage all my fellow residents of the city of CÃ³rdoba, young and old, including the authorities, to share this moment. At the end of those 24 hours I will join the demonstration. And if my life as a mother allows it, I would like to commit to do this every week.
I also would like to encourage people to come up with other forms of pacific resistance. I think we should keep ourselves close to those in the United States who are expressing their opposition to this threat of war and we should show our solidarity with them. But undoubtedly this war will be financed by the U.S. economy. In the face of this threat of a "preemptive war," I would like to suggest that we consider the legitimacy of a "preemptive boycott" against the economy of the country that plans to finance and carry out this "preemptive attack." As soon as the attack starts, I am going to initiate (and publicly foment) a boycott against a series of U.S. products. Since the commercial jungle we live in does not always allow us to identify the origin of a product, I will stick to a dozen or so of big name items, the main representatives of a way of life they are attempting to globalize.
There is no need to name them, they come out of the oil sector, "fast food and fast drinks" and certain large banks that have financed mainly foreign debt and the arms trade. The concept and the conviction that lead me to propose this is the notion of responsible consumption, the conscious act of consuming or refusing to consume a given item. Every bank involved in the financing arms trade, every oil company that seeks to ensure its supply by trampling on the most basic human rights of the local populations, be it in Ecuador, Nigeria or Iraq, should count on my refusal [to buy their products]. I also want to ensure that my taxes don't go to pay for wars (tax objection to the military portion of the budget). Not in my name. Not with my taxes. Not from our national territory.
I know it will be difficult to keep a consistent line of action and a clear conscience in front of these challenges. And some of the commitments I've exposed will also be difficult to keep. But the circumstances demand it. I understand the time has come to raise our voice, so that it is heard loud and clear through villages and towns. Not in my name. Not meThe time probably came before, but it's never late to make amends. And today I say: I refuse to be a part of this. I refuse to be an accomplice. Not in my name. Not with my approval. Not with my silence.
There are many of us. There really are. We are the vast majority, and we should initiate a referendum, some form of plebiscite about the involvement of our Government (and our national territory, our taxes, our fellow citizens, our military forces) in this planned war. We can do it, and we should define the ways to do it. But time is not on our side. I don't know if the actions that I have personally chosen are (politically) correct; I find it difficult to determine if my answers are the correct ones. I apologize if they are not. But I believe that any non-violent way of opposing this planned act of savagery are adequate. The answers I have chosen may very well be the wrong ones, but it grieves me so much to think that the decisions some people have been making are much more wrong than mine. I am overwhelmed by the thought of the unbearable pain that awaits the victims of this terrible mistake.