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300 Vigils Mark 3,000 Deaths In Iraq
American Friends Service Committee Keeps Watch
01/04/2007 2:27 PM ET
As a way to mark the 3,000 U.S. military death in Iraq, the American Friends Service Committee organized more than 300 vigils around the country this past week.

Mary Ellen McNish, AFSC general secretary, released a statement: "We continue to work toward making peace the legacy of the New Year. To that end, AFSC's efforts to end the war in Iraq and build the conditions for peace in the Middle East, Indonesia, and throughout the world continue unabated."

The AFSC website lists several stories from the vigils around the country:

From Karen Leger, in Gardner, MA ...

"This was the most moving peace vigil I have experienced. We were a group of fifteen in mourning for the lives lost in Iraq. We stood for our fallen soldiers and mourned with their families. We mourned for over 600,000 lives lost in Iraq. We all held candles as two members beat their drums and chanted a prayer for the entire hour. We stood in silence in the cold mist with FCNL signs: 'War is Not the Answer!'

There is also an article and photo from the Worcester Telegram.

From Al Friend, in Holland, MI:

Photo of candlelight vigil on Jan 2, 2007, from the Grand Rapids Michigan Press.

From Anne Woodhead, in Frankfort, KY:

Frankfort CODEPINK Dissenters held a vigil during the noon hour on the sidewalk in front of the Federal Building in downtown.

"There were seven of us. It was a beautiful day. There was not too much traffic. We did get some positive waves from people in cars. We had an interesting conversation with a male passerby on the sidewalk about the war."

From Seattle, WA, an excerpt from Jennifer Sullivan as reported in The Seattle Times:

She writes: "Upon hearing Sunday that the 3,000th member of the U.S. military had been killed in Iraq, a Renton man who's spent nearly 30 years as an anti-war activist went to work.

Tom Brookhart spread the word to fellow members of Veterans For Peace and other anti-war groups that they would hold another protest in downtown Seattle.

Monday's protest was one of more than 290 events planned in 46 U.S. cities, according to the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker-led social-justice group.

The event was a silent candlelight vigil and "die-in," Brookhart said. Protesters collapsed on the sidewalk, staging their deaths in honor of the people killed in the war.

"President Bush is intent on increasing the war and not decreasing it," Brookhart said as he stood in the rain near the line of silent protesters.

Brookhart and other activists had hoped for a large turnout.

But Brookhart said he wasn't disappointed when only 300 people — rather than the 3,000 he'd wished for — appeared outside Westlake Center. Brookhart believed that the foul weather, the New Year's holiday and the short notice kept people from coming.

Felix Kang, of Seattle, was among a small group of protesters dressed in orange jumpsuits and black face masks.

While Kang and other members of The World Can't Wait were protesting the deaths of U.S. military personnel, the anti-war group's costumes were meant to resemble the garb worn by Iraqi prisoners.

"I'm dressed as a torture victim," Kang said, referring to Iraqi prisoners who allegedly have been mistreated while incarcerated.

"Violence plus torture equals complicity."


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