Anti-war action connects with US sailors

July 14, 2007

During the visit of US aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk to Sydney, Stop the War Coalition activists held two anti-war protests — on July 5 and 8. Under the gargantuan shadow of the Kitty Hawk activists handed out anti-war material, held a banner calling for the end of the occupation of Iraq, and spoke out for the withdrawal of Australian and US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

We had material targeted toward US servicepeople, and the inspiring thing was how receptive the young sailors were as they made their way off the ship.

We distributed around 40 DVDs — copies of The Ground Truth (about Iraq) and Sir, No Sir! (a documentary about the success of resistance against the Vietnam War from within the military). Our leaflets gave statistics about the growing number of active duty soldiers who have signed the "Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq", and gave contact details for Iraq Veterans Against. All the sailors were sympathetic and keen to listen, if not to talk.

The interaction that seemed to best symbolise their attitude to the anti-war protesters was two soldiers in full uniform who spoke to us while being loaded up with a huge delivery of pizzas and drinks. They let us put leaflets between all the boxes of pizza, and the young man with his arms full of bottles of Sprite told us to put the anti-war DVDs in his pockets while explaining that his brother was killed in Iraq.

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