Arlington West Memorial is a field of crosses on the Santa Monica beach honoring American soldiers who have been killed in the Iraqi war. The number of crosses grows larger every week, and now numbers nearly 1300…
The little girl, Asra’a Mizyad, and her father, Abdul-Ameir Salomon, visited Arlington West Memorial on Sunday, before returning to Iraq.
Last Thursday, nearly 300 people gathered at the Venice United Methodist Church to meet Asra’a and her father, who had been in America for three months while she was fitted for a new prosthetic arm.
The gathering was sponsored by No More Victims, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Guerrero Azteca Project, Military Families Speak Out, Global Exchange and Addicted To War.
A short film assembled by Peter Dudar and Sally Marr featuring Medea Benjamin, Asra’a and other sick and injured Iraqi children was screened at the gathering.
Filmmakers Dudar and Marr’s most recent documentary was shot at Arlington West.
When they were introduced, Asra’a and her father got a standing ovation from the crowd and 11 young girls walked up to the stage and, one at a time, presented Asra’a with flowers.
Among the speakers were Vietnam veteran Ed Ellis of the Los Angeles chapter of Veterans For Peace, which organized the Arlington West Memorial, and Tim Goodrich, a member of Iraq Veterans Against The War, who now number about 80 and want to work with Cole Miller and No More Victims, which brought Asra’a to the US and plans to bring more injured Iraqi children over for medical treatment.
Fernando Suarez del Solar of Guerrero Azteca Project and Military Families Speak Out also spoke. His son, Jesus, was the first Marine killed in Iraq — on March 27, 2003. He has visited Iraq and will return on December 27, with Medea Benjamin and other parents who have lost their sons in this war to deliver medical supplies.
The final speaker of the evening was Benjamin, who co-founded Global Exchange with her husband Kevin Danaher and is one of the founders of Code Pink. She has been to Iraq, Afghanistan and the other countries in the world that have been damaged by American military, political and economic policies.
Also at the meeting was Pablo Paredes, a 23 year old Marine, who made news recently when he refused to return to duty on a ship that was transporting 3,000 Marines to duty in the Gulf area and what he sees as an unjust war and now faces a trial and jail sentence.
Proceeds of the event will assist Asra’a and her family and fund additional medical relief initiatives to help war-injured children from Iraq.
It closed with the crowd singing John Lennon’s song, “Imagine all the people, living life in Peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the World can live as One.”