For Immediate Release: May 15th, 2006
Contact:  Medea Benjamin 415 235 6517


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: U.S. WOMEN PRINT ADS IN IRAQI DAILIES CALLING FOR END TO OCCUPATION AND BLOODSHED

Iraqi public says the ad gives them hope

CODEPINK: Women for Peace took out full-page ads in 8 Iraqi newspapers today calling on Americans and Iraqi to come together to end the occupation of Iraq. The newspapers are As-sabah Al-Jadid, At-Taakhi, Al-Manar, Al-Haqaeq, Al-Iraq Al-Yaom, As-Syadah, Al-Adalah and Ash-Shahed. They are printed on line at: http://www.newsabah.com/20060515/pdf/p12.pdf
http://www.taakhinews.org/pdf/4755/p8.pdf. Two major newspapers, Azzaman and the U.S.-supported As-Sabah, refused to run the ad.

The ad calls on Americans and Iraqis to work together to stop the bloodshed and bring the US troops home. “We have seen in poll after poll that the majority of Americans and Iraqis want the US troops to return home. Even the majority of US troops (72%) think they should return by the end of this year. It is time for the politicians in both countries to listen to us, the people,” the ad says. The ad is linked to a website, in Arabic, where Iraqis can sign a petition and communicate directly with Americans, either by internet or through the mail. To view the website, go to www.esteklal.org.

“We are thrilled by the feedback we are getting,” says Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK, a women's peace group that sponsored the ads. “The newspapers are reporting that they are swamped with calls from readers saying that this ad gives them hope and makes them realize there are Americans who support their desires to be free from foreign occupation. We must find ways to work together to end the bloodshed.”

The ads are paid for by hundreds of CODEPINK supporters from around the country, including Annie Nelson, wife of renowned singer/songwriter Willie Nelson.  “I have been heartbroken by all the death and destruction from this war in Iraq, and I am delighted to have a way to extend my hand in friendship to Iraqi mothers and their families,” says Mrs. Nelson.

The ads follow a weekend 24-hour peace vigil at the White House organized by CODEPINK to commemorate Mothers Day, May 14. The vigil included peace mom Cindy Sheehan, actress Susan Sarandon, comedian Dick Gregory, doctor/clown Patch Adams, and women from Iraq and Iran. It featured a concert, strategy workshops on grassroots organizing and national campaigns, an interfaith gathering, and writing and reading letters to Laura Bush urging her to pressure her husband to end the war.  For more information, see www.codepinkalert.org.