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Famed anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan will be speaking in Boulder Thursday, Oct. 12, as part of a nation-wide book tour. Sheehan will be discussing her new book, “Peace Mom: A Mother’s Journey Through Heartache to Activism,” a personal memoir detailing her life as a protester for peace.
Sheehan describes the book, her third, as the second hardest thing she’s ever had to do, next to burying her son.
“I wrote this book with a box of Kleenex close at hand,” Sheehan said. “The book is about mine and Casey’s story.”
Sheehan deliberately timed the release of “Peace Mom,” which hit stores September 2006, to be just before the Nov. 7 elections in hopes of influencing voter turnout and the outcome of the elections. She is also is planning a protest outside of the White House for Election Day as a collaborative effort with multiple anti-war organizations.
“My main goal for this book is motivate and inspire people to become active in the world around them,” she said. “We need to show the government that they no longer have our consent to govern.”
Sheehan gained national attention in 2005 for her extended camp-out near President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. Camp Casey, as the demonstration has since been dubbed, was Sheehan’s attempt to meet with Bush for a second time for his explanation for the American-led occupation of Iraq. She, along with others who had lost family members in Iraq, had met previously with the president in 2004 at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Wash.
Sheehan describes Camp Casey as an ongoing event. In July, she purchased five acres in Crawford, and has plans, along with the nonprofit organization she co-founded, Gold Star Families for Peace, to build facilities to house the Camp Casey Peace Institute, which is a “safe harbor for soldiers,” according to Sheehan. She will also return to Camp Casey for Thanksgiving.
Sheehan’s tactics and the subsequent media attention have attracted criticism across the country, including commentary from media personality Bill O’Reilly.
“I think she has been hijacked by some very, very far left elements,” O’Reilly said in 2005. “There is no question that she has thrown in with the most radical elements in this country.”
“Ninety-nine percent of mainstream media coverage is pro-war,” Sheehan said. “They have been cheerleaders for this war and this administration and given Bush a free pass for anything he wants to say.”
Sheehan describes the war in Iraq as a war of lies and “an illegal act of aggression.” The Iraqi people have been abandoned by the American military and government, and for peace to work, the Iraqis must be given more control over their own country, she said.
“The Iraqi people want our military to leave, they want peace-keepers who are Arabic, and they want the United Nations to assist in peace-keeping efforts,” Sheehan said. “They want their jobs back and their independence back.”
Sheehan says that, though it took the death of her son to end her apathy, she will continue her efforts for peace beyond the scope of the Iraq war in hopes of ensuring that “not one more mother loses a child to war.”
“The war machine is unending and world-encompassing, and we all must remain vigilant in the fight against this barbaric practice,” she said.
Sheehan will be speaking at the Unity Church at 2855 Folsom St. at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $8 from the Boulder Bookstore, with proceeds going to benefit the KGNU community radio station and the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.
“We think Cindy is a very brave and courageous person who has set a great example at great cost and sacrifice to herself and her family to prevent any mothers losing their children in a senseless war,” said Betty Ball of the RMPJC.