In the hills behind South Korean village of Seongju, U.S. military helicopters have airlifted THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), a U.S. missile defense system designed to shoot down North Korean missiles, onto the local golf course, without notice or consultation with local residents. Seongju,a Buddhist pilgrimage site for those seeking peace and enlightenment, now has become a center of protest, with people coming from all over South Korea to demand the removal of THAAD. CodePink as part of a U.S. delegation traveled to Seongju to add their voices in calling for the removal of THAAD. The delegation also called for an end to the U.S.-South Korea War Games in exchange for a freeze of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs, the replacement of the Korean War Armistice with a peace treaty, and the peaceful reunification of Korea. Many South Koreans are in favor of dialogue with North Korea, and believe the presence of U.S. troops and weapons are putting South Koreans in danger. Tensions between the Trump administration and the North Korean government have reached a boiling point. We must avoid, at all costs, a direct military confrontation with North Korea. Any military action by the United States, even limited, could instantly kill millions on the Korean peninsula and threaten nuclear and regional war that could draw in Japan, China and Russia. The ONLY solution is dialogue, starting with a freeze for a freeze!
By Annie Windholz
On October 21st CODEPINK launched a #DivestFromWar campaign in Washington D.C. at the Divest from the War Machine Summit. CODEPINK, a women-led grassroots organization started 15 years ago, works to end U.S. wars and militarism as well as support peace and human rights initiatives. CODEPINK aims to redirect U.S. tax dollars from the war economy and into the peace economy- healthcare, education, green jobs and focusing on quality of human life.
The summit began with CODEPINK founders Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans taking the floor. Benjamin spoke about the hidden war taking place in Yemen which is currently the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, and how U.S. weapons industry along with the other “great democracies of the world” a direct link to the deaths taking place. She also spoke about how the same weapons that are being shipped abroad are also being used in our own American streets: the same teargas canisters that police throw at protesters are also used by Israeli forces to throw at Palestinians on the Westbank trying to reclaim their rights.
“I’m sick and tired of having our companies inflicting so much suffering on people of the world and making a profit off of it,” Benjamin stated simply.
CODEPINK invites everyone to join us and our peace partners in a campaign to get America to divest from the War Machine Economy and to invest in a Peace Economy. The campaign encourages cities, universities, religious organizations, retirement funds, mutual funds, private investors, and other financial institutions to divest from companies that build weapons for a failed military policy. The cost of war is preventing many cities, state legislatures, educational institutions, and other financial institutions in the US of reaching their development goals for the people: health care, education, infrastructure, retirement, improved wages, recreation and responsibility for the environment. This campaign also opposes increase military spending as proposed by the President. The increased military spending is not making us safer nor will it bring peace. It only runs up the debts, benefits a few corporate profiteers, who are making a killing on killing, whose weapons have killed 100,000s of innocent citizens, destroyed infrastructure, livelihoods in 7 countries, created millions of refugees, and a nation wide famine in Yemen. The goal of the divest campaign is to urge the United States Congress and all other public and private institutions to change priorities and move our tax and investment dollars in exactly the opposite direction proposed by the President, from militarism to human and environmental needs. From a war machine economy to a peace economy.
Tens of thousands of people attend a protest rally in the Yemeni capital Sana’a on May 12, 2017 to voice their outrage at the US-backed Saudi war on the impoverished Arab country. (Photo by al-Masirah) The Yemen war economy that stretches back decades between Shia and Sunni has evolved into a regional power struggle between Shia-ruled Iran and Sunni-allied Saudi Arabia and it’s ally the US. This conflict has become an epic tragedy of destruction and starvation. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations reports that the scale of the food crisis in Yemen is staggering with 17 million people – two thirds of the population – severely food insecure and seven million of these on the verge of famine. “The need for long-term political solutions for achieving sustainable peace in Yemen is unquestionable, but there is much we can do now to fight hunger and malnutrition. We save lives by saving livelihoods,” Graziano da Silva said of FOA. It is time for a peace economy between Shia and Sunni, between America and Iran to save Yemen and the Middle East. The Yemen people want peace not more destruction. Continue reading