Sunday, August 27, 2006

Peace newspaper comes out of retirement

This morning I read that Iran and Turkey are shelling the part of U.S.-occupied Iraq where the Kurds live. Administration thugs like U.N. Ambassador John Bolton keep pressing for a U.S. war on Iran. The news is all wars and rumors of wars and Democrats are dithering.

This country desperately needs a more active citizen peace movement. If we are to have a chance to end the Administration's policy of force and violence everywhere, if we think attacking Iran is not just a bad idea, but a recipe for disaster, aroused people need to get out and organize for new policies, for peace. War Times/Tiempo de Guerras is one free tool to help activists build the demand for peace.

Lots of people STILL don't participate in online forums like this one. We need to engage them in conversation and offer them credible reading material. A special print issue of War Times/Tiempo de Guerras newspaper will be available in September. This eight-page, bilingual newsprint tabloid was published from 2002-2004 to provide a free resource to anti-war individuals and groups to do outreach to folks who don't get their information from forums like this. (Disclosure: I have been part of the War Times volunteer activist core since its founding.)

The paper went into semi-retirement in 2004 because we saw that a majority in the U.S. was coming to oppose the Iraq war -- our peace energies could be better used elsewhere, including on the election that year. We did continue to maintain a web presence and write background flyers for free download. But we believed that the peace movement no longer needed a printed tabloid; the kinds of stories that early on after 9/11 were not covered, such as the Bush administration's phony claims about Iraq's WMDs, were now mainstream front page news.

But this summer, U.S. neo-conservatives, with far too much cooperation from Israel and forces everywhere which embrace military solutions to all problems, have pushed the world toward wider carnage. We now live amid constant speculation about a U.S. attack on Iran. The War Times folks thought making available an issue covering multiple threats would be a service to the U.S. peace movement. We've raised enough money (though we always need more) to print and ship a September paper.

Our editorial notice explained:

In the last few weeks, war, occupation, death and destruction have dangerously intensified in the Middle East. The U.S. government has encouraged Israel's devastation of Lebanon and Gaza. Three thousand civilians are dying by violence each month in Iraq. Almost a million Iraqis are living as refugees in neighboring countries. The mainstream press offers its unquestioning approval of U.S. and Israeli moves, while condemning -- or ignoring -- the widespread opposition of the Arab world.

This one-sided news coverage reminds us of the early days of the U.S. "War on Terror" and of the buildup for the war in Iraq. In those times few media voices were raised to oppose the Bush Administration's designs. We face a similar situation today....

We will of course make the issue contents available on our website and to our email list. But the printed version will allow organizers, teachers, activists, and all peace-loving people to provide the issue for free to their neighbors, colleagues, students, members, friends and families. We hope it will be a contribution to peace with justice in the Middle East.

Free papers in bulk are available for the asking from this address. For more information visit War Times/Tiempo de Guerras.

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