by Nicole Betters
International Women's Day, March 8, 2003
Dear Barbara Bush:
I wonder if you even know that today is International Women's Day? Do you know that we, the women of San Antonio, are rallying for peace?
Barbara, I am speaking to you on behalf of Arabs and Arab Americans.
It is true that our skin color is brown and olive, and yours is white, but we have some things in common. Just like you, we are mothers, daughters, and sisters.
Remember how much you did not want your son to go to Vietnam to fight the war? Just like you, we don't want to send our sons to war.
Just like you are the backbone of your family, Arab women are the backbones of our families. But Barbara, between your husband and your son, your family is making life extremely difficult for our families.
Your son is making the lives of many Arab Americans miserable. Have you read the Patriot Act Barbara? Do you know that your son's henchman, Ashcroft can easily label anyone a terrorist? And Barbara, have you read the proposed Patriot Act II? It gives your son and his henchmen the right to strip people of their citizenship for disagreeing with the government in what it calls terrorists.
And Barbara, your son and his administration continue to support ethnic cleansing in Palestine. Your son supports house demolitions, starving Palestinian children, and ethnic cleansing Palestinians from their land so that Israel can take over. 65 Palestinian women are political prisoners in Israeli jails on this International Women's Day.
And Barbara, I've got to ask you, what is this thing that your husband and son have with Iraq??? Please explain this to me! Does your family's love of oil interests have no boundaries?
Barbara, I am sending you a picture of a young girl named Israa. You can see from the photo that she is missing an arm. Israa was nine years old when she lost her arm. She was walking home from primary school one day when the US was conducting bombing raids on Iraq. A large piece of shrapnel severed her right arm below the shoulder, and she suffered chest and abdominal wounds. A metal fragment remains lodged in her skull; doctors could not remove it for fear of killing her.
Barbara, your husband killed thousands of Iraqi children, stooping low enough to bomb the bomb shelters where children sought safety. Sanctions have killed hundreds of thousands more children. Your son plans to bomb civilian centers, how many children will he kill and maim?
As we celebrate International Women's Day, I ask you Barbara to step up, be the backbone of your family, and put an end to the killing. Do it as a mother, Do it as a woman.
Nicole Betters is an attorney, the daughter of Lebanese American and Italian American parents. She has been a member of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee for a number of years, but the post-September 11 condition of Arabs and Muslims, and restrictions on civil liberties motivated her to organize a San Antonio Chapter of ADC.
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