-from the offices at Voices in the Wilderness:
June 29 2000
This morning we received word here at the Voices office that Al Gore was visiting Chicago to talk about "energy policy incentives for cities." Recent reports have suggested that the Clinton Administration is looking to pull out all the stops to bomb Iraq, possibly in the fall and help influence the election; with Gore down in the polls, Nader taking some votes, and Bush criticizing the current administration's stance on being "soft on Saddam," we are afraid this might not be so far from the truth.
Kathy and I decided that we could not pass up this oppportunity, to at least be a presence near his speech, so I ditched her with all the mundane office tasks and last minute details and I headed to Navy Pier.
I entered Navy Pier, went to the Rooftop Terrace and showed my ID, which was all they asked for.
The rooftop was filled with approximately 150 Gore supporters, Chicago's Mayor Daley, and every major media outlet.
As Mr. Gore began to speak about how much "me and Tipper love the Windy City," I raised my voice and asked "Mr. Gore, why should anyone vote for an administration that kills five thousand innocent children a month through sanctions in Iraq?"
He stopped. And he laughed. He actually laughed. He said he would discuss this later in the day. I responded by saying that every ten minutes a child dies in Iraq due to sanctions and we do not have the time to wait. I told him that we need to stop giving military aid to the Middle East, which works to divide and destabalize, and that the billions wasted on bombing missions and sanctions could benefit the American people. I was also able to spout off the names of Denis Halliday, Hans Von Sponeck, and Jutta Burghardt as UN officials who protest the sanctions before I was removed.
Mr. Gore did not answer my question directly, but many people expressed support, even the sticker wearing Gore fans. The media taped the whole thing and at least one was going live (C-SPAN???) If anybody sees any info, please contact us.
I think of the song blaring while Gore walked to the podium as I think of what occurred this afternoon. I am more certain that at least one message from the afternoon is crystal clear. That "These are Days." These are days to stand up and demand an end to bombing and to sanctions. These are days you'll remember. These days are ours if we take them in the spirit of nonviolence and love that conquers even the strongest hate.
Two weeks ago a doctor in Basra, after showing me infant corpses dead from both severe deformities, most likely from depleted uranium, and no blood bags, told me, with tears in his eyes from working an 18 hour day filled with hopelessness and despair, "Your government kills my people." He is right, and the pressing question on my mind is "But can our people change our government?"
This was a very easy action. The SS wanted to know how I got in. I walked in the front door. I did not break the law. I probably was somewhat rude, in the nature of the interruption, but I compare that to the millions of lives that have been interrupted or ended because of sanctions. Now is the time to push this issue and we need to use every avenue we can. This is one way. The people of Iraq are waiting...
Peace, Danny Muller
-Voices in the Wilderness