WLOE E-Newsletter: Voices of Women, March 2004

March began with a terrible bang 50 years ago, as WLOE international advisor Corazon Valdez Fabros informs us from the Philippines:

"On this day, 1st March, 50 years ago in 1954, a hydrogen bomb code-named Bravo, was detonated on the surface on Bikini atoll in the Marshall islands- the blinding explosion gouged out a crater 240 feet deep and 6,000 feet across, melted huge quantities of coral, sucked them up and distributed them far and wide across the Pacific.

The island of Rongelap (100 miles away) was buried in powdery particles of radioactive fallout to a depth of one and a half inches, and Utirik (300 miles away) was swathed in radioactive mist. The people of Rongelap and Utirik lived on their newly radioactive islands for three days; inhaling, touching and ingesting the fallout particles, until the US navy belatedly sent ships to evacuate them.

This is but one example of the horrific racist experiments that colonizing governments have inflicted on the peoples of the Pacific, used as human guinea pigs in the insane and pointless pursuit of nuclear weapons supremacy..."

March 8, International Women's Day - Why go on Strike?

Women & girls do 2/3 of the world's work, most of it unwaged. $1 trillion a year is spent on the military worldwide, more than half by the US.
10% of this would provide the essentials of life for all: water, sanitation, basic health, nutrition, literacy, and a minimum income."
This year again there were international actions for women's rights, and a transfer of resources from means of death to basics for life. Read more at: http://www.globalwomenstrike.net/

17 March: Remembering Rachel Corrie, a year later
Israeli peace activist Gila Svirsky writes from Jerusalem:
"I was not present in Rafah that terrible day, but I have frequently replayed in my mind the events leading up to the moment when a bulldozer rolled over Rachel Corrie.  I think to myself:  What compelled this young woman, neither Jewish nor Palestinian, to travel 10,000 miles from home, to throw in her lot with a family not her own, a people not her own, and ultimately meet a death that came suddenly, swiftly, in an instant of shocked comprehension..."
Full text at:

Author and activist Starhawk is back in Palestine working with the International Solidarity Movement. Her "West Bank Journal" entries are featured at:
She writes about the deaths of two ISM activists: "The Price of an Orange", For Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall

17 March: Women in Black vigil for Korean Comfort Women's rights

March 17th was the 600th weekly vigil by Women in Black Tokyo for "any apology, reparation or justice from the Japanese government" for the remaining Korean women survivors who were forced to serve the Japanese army in a series of organized brothels. Women in Black groups around the world joined in the protest, and others signed a petition of support for the 600th vigil and its demands. From Women in Black Tokyo:

"The Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery ... began the Wednesday Demonstration on January 8, 1992 in order to resolve the issues of Japan's military "comfort women" in solidarity and participation by people who have their love for human rights and peace in and outside the country. Wednesday Demonstration is not only a means for achieving justice from the Japanese government but is also an educational venue by which to shed light to the past, present and the future, as much as it is a venue by which to realize peace. Wednesday Demonstration which we have continued for 12 years, without missing a single day, reaches its 600th time on March 17, 2004. Together with the Japan's military "comfort women" victims, who are the biggest victims of war, we will host a special demonstration to oppose wars that are currently ongoing throughout the world, and to wish for peace..."

"Korean survivors have been demonstrating every single Wednesday for 12 years in front of the Seoul Japanese Embassy, ever since the very first "comfort woman" survivor to speak out in public broke half a century of silence. Hundreds of survivors of Japan's sexual slavery throughout Asia and the Netherlands stood up in response. Their courage has moved thousands of women throughout the world to together demand justice and share each struggle and touch on its way..."

20 March: War on Iraq, a year later

"On Saturday, March 20, upwards of 2 million people took to the streets around the world to protest the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. People in more than 60 countries throughout the world - from Japan to South Korea to Spain to Australia to South Africa - called for an end to the occupation, which they believe is only increasing violence and insecurity in Iraq..."
See report on international actions and photos from Code Pink women for peace at:

UK - MENWITH HILL (US electronic monitoring center) WAS BLOCKED! "Together around 200 people helped blockade three of the four gates causing serious disruption to the shift change and leading to Menwith Hill issuing a statement for the first time for many, many years. There were 29 confirmed arrests and 10 people were charged. Congratulations to all those that attended and supported the event. We will be back with another Block the Base so watch this space!"

22 March: World Water Day

The international network Diverse Women for Diversity sent some interesting links on World Water Day from "The Hindu Sunday Magazine":
From "Water first" by DEEPA KANDASWAMY... an example of women's action

"...Nafisa Barot, Executive Trustee, Utthan ­ a Gujarat-based NGO ­ cites her experience of how almost no government and complete community involvement in nearly 150 villages across Gujarat has changed the situation in these areas. In villages, women, who are the primary users of water, have been trained in good water management principles and overseeing the implementation of roof top harvesting, check dams, the management of water use and so on.

These women repair broken pipes and pumps on their own and no Public Works Department (PWD) helps them. Again the question arises. Can this be replicated in other areas? But the point is this: how much water will be needed and to what extent and in what ways can the needs be met? .."

Read full article at: http://www.hindu.com/mag/2004/03/21/stories/2004032100170200.htm
See also: http://www.worldwaterday.org/ and

28 March: Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident -- 25th Anniversary Days of Action

March 28, 2004 is the 25th Anniversary of the TMI Unit-2 Meltdown

Information about the plant, the history of its operation and opposition to it is at the site of Three Mile Island Alert

For a list of actions commemorating the anniversary see:

Witness to the accident, Marie Holowka, Farmer, Zion’s View, PA, reported on her experience:

“I went to the barn around four, four-thirty (in the morning). We were milking cows. And the barn started to shake. And I heard a rumble like underground. Well, I wouldn’t say an earthquake. But it was going like ‘brrup, brrup, brrup.’ And then it shook and shook and we didn’t hear the big rumbles. But every now and then you could hear a rumbling in the ground. And Paul, my brother, was with me and he says, ‘That’s an earthquake.’ I said, ‘Paul, it don’t sound like an earthquake. Earthquake, it just rattles. But you don’t hear the noise, the brrup, brrup.’ It just (was) like there was boiling water coming underground. And I said, ‘I think something happened at Three Mile Island.’ Then we kept milking..."

Good work Katherine Gun!

25 February 2004 - "'I have no regrets, and I would do it again,' former British intelligence employee Katharine Gun said on Wednesday in London, just after the government dropped charges against her for violating the Official Secrets Act.
In early March 2003, the Observer newspaper in Britain published a U.S. National Security Agency memo describing a "surge" in U.N. spying aimed at winning authorization for war on Iraq -- targeted "against" delegations from swing countries on the Security Council. Katharine Gun, who leaked the memo, faced two years in prison.
In Washington, the Institute for Public Accuracy issued a statement Wednesday praising Gun as "a genuine heroine." The statement added: 'She courageously exposed what the Blair and Bush governments sought to keep from the light of day -- the spying on U.N. diplomats at a crucial time when the Security Council was considering a resolution for war on Iraq. Now, top officials in London and Washington hope that the U.N. spying scandal will quickly subside -- but it should not, and it will not. New revelations in recent weeks present a challenge -- and an opportunity -- for governments around the world to assert themselves on behalf of U.N. integrity.'" See:

and Karen Kwiatkowski

10 March 2004: a "high-ranking military officer" reveals how Defense Department extremists suppressed information and twisted the truth to drive the country to war.

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