Break the Chain Hear Us Roar:
No War Mr. Bush

Created 1/2/2003 (1/2/2003) This e-petition started out as a good idea but quickly fell victim to the many pitfalls of Armchair Activism.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

On Tuesday, October 29, 2002 I understand that 25 Congresswomen in the US House of Representatives walked out -- and refused to participate in the vote to give Bush war powers --- they were led by Barbara Lee of California and they took up residence on the White House lawn.....

They say women can change the world. Here is a chance!

I am part of a nationwide effort to unite women against war. We have drafted a statement here and ask you, if you are so moved, to send it out to as many women and women's groups as you can for endorsement. If you are not part of group/organization, you can also sign as an individual. If you feel so moved, please select and copy this message, then paste it into a new message, add your name and/or your organization's name and location at end of list, and forward on to as many people as you know. If you are the 50th, 100th,150th,200th, etc., person, please also e-mail a copy back to pramila@mindspring.com.

This is our chance to stop this war before it starts. Iraq must be dealt with diplomatically and with our allies and the United Nations.

Women are a strong constituency in this country. Please act immediately.

Women United Against War

As women embracing life and peace, we declare ourselves opposed to any military action against Iraq. As women, we have been the victims of many kinds of violence. We call on you, our Congress members, to oppose any military action. We make this demand for ourselves, our children, our parents, our brothers, husbands, partners and friends. We make this demand because we understand that warfare creates endless cycles of violence, destruction and death, impoverishing us spiritually and economically. We make this demand because warfare destroys family life, throwing whole communities into exile and turning children into orphans. We make this demand because we cannot build happy lives on a ground polluted by violence.

We believe this is a defining moment in the life of our country. We will either take our place in the family of nations as seekers of peace and justice or we will start down a terrible road to war, unleashing the fury of generations to come on our land. We call upon you to act with integrity, to show courage and remember that you are guardians of the public trust and of the world we leave to our children.

We oppose this war. We oppose all elected officials who support this war. There is no other issue greater than the cause of peace. No past stand or history can be called upon to overshadow the imperative to stand today for peace. We, as women acting to shape public life, dedicate our energy, resources, and hopes to those who establish peace.

There will be no war in our names. If you want our support and future votes, stop this war!

Signed:
1. Unreasonable Women for the Earth, Nationwide
2. Pramila Jayapal, Seattle, WA

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Everything before the "Women United Against War" line was added later by some unidentified (perhaps overzealous) forwarder and is mostly fictional. California Representative Barbara Lee (not Barbara Bell, as later versions incorrectly name her) opposes Bush's initiative to use force against Iraq, but she denies leading any such walkout on October 29, or any other date.

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The petition part was earnest in its attempt, but faulty in its execution. The second "signer," Pramila Jayapal, is an Indian-born American author and social justice activist, and one of the founders of UnReasonable Women for the Earth. She co-authored this petition with fellow "unreasonable woman," Susan Griffin. Unfortunately, they quickly learned that e-mail is a terrible tool for this type of activism. Just days after their e-mail started circulating, responses to their e-mail address were met with this auto-response:

Thank you for forwarding our petition. It is now online, and has received over 10,000 signatures. We ask you to put your name directly on it by going to the link below. Please also be sure to forward the e-mail message below with the link to anyone you sent the message to. The petition has already been faxed to the President and Senators, but we will continue to do so as we collect more and more signatures. We also encourage any of you to attach the link and write directly to your Congresspeople. PLEASE DO NOT SEND SIGNATURES DIRECTLY TO ME but go online and sign your name there. If you have already forwarded on the original message, we thank you and ask that you please resend the message below which has the online petition link. For more info on upcoming anti-war vigil and fast in Washington D.C., please go to www.codepink4peace.org. Thank you!

So, what we have here a lie-filled preamble leading to a petition whose creators don't want you to pass it on. Sounds like two good reasons to break this chain!

What Do You Think?

Category: Armchair Activism
References: Snopes.com

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