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Thanksgiving Day – ‘Camp Casey’ Style

Gosh, what a heart-warming story, from the Waco Tribune-Herald:

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Anti-war protesters celebrate Thanksgiving with Iraqi meal

By Emily Ingram Tribune-Herald staff writer

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Thanksgiving Day meal meant a helping of tabbouli, a traditional Middle Eastern dish, and lentils for 80 anti-war protesters in Crawford on Thursday. The group celebrated the holiday with a relatively quiet Iraqi meal a day after a dozen of their members were arrested for defying a county ordinance near President Bush's ranch where he is spending the holiday.

The idea is that it's an Iraqi-style meal to eat in solidarity with the Iraqi people who are dying there,” said Linda Foley, a protester from Azle. “We're not having the traditional indulgent American dinner.”

With plates piled high with rice, fish, lentils, feta cheese and salad, protesters ate and talked at the site known as Camp Casey II, where Cindy Sheehan's supporters camped in August on private property leased by a local landowner. Although smaller in number from this summer, protesters were resolute in their opposition to the war in Iraq.

“There needs to be a stand taken against this war,” said Spencer Crowl, a University of Texas at Austin student. “The reasons for this war have been well documented as false. I just think it's important to stand up.”

Many of those who participated in the August protests were unable to come, having chosen to focus on relief efforts in New Orleans with Veterans for Peace. The group is aiding relief efforts in the Algiers district and the Ninth Ward, areas nearly destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Protest leader Cindy Sheehan was also absent from the dinner due to family illness but she was expected to arrive Thursday night. Sheehan became involved in the anti-war movement after the death of her son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Baghdad on April 4, 2004. Sheehan gained national attention during the summer as she staged a protest near the president's ranch, demanding an audience with Bush.

Dede Miller, Sheehan's sister, came to Thursday's meal after being arrested Wednesday as a member of the group arrested for defying a new McLennan County ordinance prohibiting anyone from parking or residing along the country roads leading to the ranch. Along with solidarity for the Iraqi people, Miller said the protesters and her family were still waiting for the president to answer Sheehan's questions about the war.

“We're just here to let the president know we're still waiting for an answer,” Miller said. “I don't think he'll ever answer. Just by judging the Democrats last week, others are listening. I think he's a hopeless case, but we need to reach Congress and the American people.”

Another protester arrested Wednesday was Daniel Ellsberg, the government official responsible for leaking the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam war. Ellsberg, along with other protesters, said the protest in Crawford will not bring a quick resolution.

“I think even with this demonstration, we aren't going to end this war quickly,” Ellsberg said. “But we're doing the right thing.”

Protesters say they will come to Crawford every time the president visits his ranch.

“We will come down every time he comes,” Foley said.

President Bush's supporters feel the same way. Across the road from the Yellow Rose gift shop in downtown Crawford, Vietnam veteran James Vergauwen of Windthorst stood under a white tent bearing the words, “The price of freedom is not free.” Set up in the parking lot of a gas station, Vergauwen, 60, said he spent August in Crawford in support of Bush.

“I don't want these troops to come home to what (Vietnam veterans) came home to,” Vergauwen said. “I'm glad they're having an Iraqi Thanksgiving. This is America. They can do what they want.”

Waco resident Steve Harlan, 56, said as long as protesters were in Crawford, Vergauwen and others would be there supporting the president.

“As long as he's able to breath air, he'll be here,” Harlan said about Vergauwen.

Protesters' other plans for the holiday week include the dedication of the Camp Casey Memorial Garden at the Crawford Peace House on Friday, an anti-war rally Saturday and an interfaith service Sunday.

President Bush's supporters will also be staging a pro-Bush rally Saturday in Crawford.

They aren’t in solidarity with the Iraqi people.

Just the terrorists.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, November 25th, 2005. Comments are currently closed.

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