Nashville Peace Coalition calls for Peace in Afghanistan & Iraq on 6th anniversary of Iraqi occupation. The event takes place March 14 in Nashville’s Centennial Park from noon to 4 p.m.
The Nashville Peace Coalition is calling for peace in Afghanistan & Iraq on the sixth anniversary of the occupation of Iraq with a street protest and peace concert in Centennial Park on Saturday, March 14th beginning at Noon. The theme of the event titled, “Now is the Time for Peace” is intended as an appeal to President Obama and the Democratic House and Senate to withdraw all troops from Iraq including non-combat troops and reverse the recently announced troop surge in Afghanistan.
In February, President Obama announced a troop surge of 17,000 troops to Afghanistan. In response, the Peace Coalition organized legislative visits to Federal representatives in Nashville to urge them to press the current administration to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan, citing no clear mission for the troops and the extreme costs of continued occupation during a time of economic crisis. The street protest on March 14th will begin at noon on West End Avenue in front of Centennial Park and will feature street theater and the Code Pink dancers performing the “Yes We Can Can Get Out of Afghanistan” dance and protest.
In addition to the street protest, the Nashville Peace Coalition will also be organizing a peace concert with speakers and music to begin at 1pm on Saturday March 14th at the Centennial Park bandshell. The peace concert, which is meant to commemorate the six year anniversary of the occupation of Iraq, will feature Sonnye Dixon of the Hobson United Methodist Church and NAACP of Nashville speaking on the theme of peace. The concert and rally will also feature the Shelby Bottoms String Band, Mike Muldoon, Ross Falzone, Randall Venson and Ngawang Losell among other speakers and performers. The event will finish with a performance from the Farm band Night Train from Summertown, Tennessee.
The emcee’s of the peace concert will be Bill Humble, a member of Veterans for Peace and 27 year veteran of the Navy who is calling for peace in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Elizabeth Barger, a community organizer for Peace Roots Alliance in Summertown, Tennessee and regional coordinator for CodePink Women for Peace.
March 19th marks the actual anniversary of the beginning of the Iraqi War and although the Peace Coalition does acknowledge the announced withdrawal of 70,000 combat troops from Iraq under the current administration, they call for a complete withdrawal of all troops from Iraq including the 50,000 who will remain after the announced drawdown and a closing of all military bases in Iraq.
In addition the Peace Coalition calls for a withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan. The Nashville Peace Coalition is a project of the Nashville Peace and Justice Center which will have a table at the event. Also tabling at the event will be a group advocating peace in Palestine and an end to the occupation of that country, as well as members of the Firebrand Community Center, a local anarchist performance space and infoshop, and members of Veterans for Peace, Vanderbilt Students for Nonviolence, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Cumberland Greens, Eric Schecter for Congress, Tennessee Alliance for Progress, Peace Roots Alliance, Clarksville Freethinkers and the Nashville Greenlands.
Across the nation millions of people will be participating in peace rallies and demonstrations during the week of March 14th – 21st to mark the sixth anniversary of the occupation of Iraq. On March 21st tens of thousands of peace activists will converge in Washington DC for a march on the Pentagon organized by national anti-war protest organizations including ANSWER and the Declaration of Peace.
In a release to the media on March 1st, ANSWER called for widespread demonstrations on the anniversary of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that:
“The Iraq and Afghanistan war will drag on for years unless we act now. The cost in lives and resources is criminal regardless of whether the Democrats or Republicans are in charge of the government. The Pentagon has employed 200,000 foreign contractors (mercenaries) and 150,000 U.S. troops to maintain the occupation of Iraq. They have no right to be there. A few thousand are being brought out of Iraq only to be redeployed to occupy Afghanistan. The people of the United States want change. We are sick and tired of wars of aggression waged abroad under false slogans of “national security.” The occupation of Iraq alone costs $12 billion each month. This amounts to $400 million each day, $16.7 million per hour and $278,000 per minute.”
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