Saturday, June 17, 2006

"I'm just a shrimper whose gonna stop eatin' to stop the war!"

So says Diane Wilson-- shrimper, peace & labor activist, and experienced faster-- in an interview with Medea Benjamin. Both women are co-founders of CODEPINK whose own efforts, as well as those of their supporters, will be the focus and political center of a fast scheduled to begin on July 4th, and continue until September 21st, International Peace Day. If by then, there is not a satisfactory plan in place to end the war, they will up the ante...
An excerpt, three questions from the interview:

Why don't you use other tactics, tactics that aren't
potentially damaging to your health?

We do. We've been marching, lobbying, getting arrested. I just did 3 months in jail for hanging a banner-120 days and $2,000 fine. We did a 4-month vigil in front of the White House. But it hasn't stopped the war, so we have to go further. We have to reach down into our souls. And during the fast, we're going to work with other campaigns-Voters for Peace, Cities for Peace, Declaration of Peace-and ask people to join these efforts.

The Declaration of Peace says that if there is not a satisfactory exit plan by September 21, International Peace Day, we'll engage in massive civil disobedience around the country to end the war.

How does the fast fit into this?

We will be encouraging people to commit acts of civil disobedience around the country that week. Fasting, engaging in civil disobedience, these are all "unreasonable" actions to ramp up the anti-war momentum. We've been too well behaved. I always say, "Reasonable women adapt to the world. Unreasonable women make the world adapt to them." It's well past the time to be unreasonable.

Will the fast really accomplish anything? Do you really think George Bush is going to bring the troops home because some people are refusing to eat?

I've seen throughout history how people have used hunger strikes. Gandhi won independence for India without firing a shot. The suffragists did a hunger strike to win the vote. Mitch Schneider fasted to call attention to the homeless. People in Belfast fasted till death to try to get the British out of Ireland.

Some fasts are successful, others aren't. You never know. There's certainly no guarantee of success. But I damn sure know that if we don't do anything, nothing will change. And I damn sure know that it's a time for action, not navel-gazing.

When you fish, you have to use your instincts. That's what the sea teaches you. I've learned to trust my instincts, my gut feelings, and my gut tells me that with this fast, we can create the space for change to happen. I don't know exactly what that will be. But I know that boldness can be magical. I believe that we can create miracles when we put the intent out there. And I'm willing to stake my life on it!
~*~ *~ *~

My own gut reaction is that such an action could have a huge impact... if publicized enough that GWB actually hears of it, and if enough people participate in it and/or support it. That doesn't mean that we will necessarily hear about the impact it has on Bush's psyche, but it will be there.

What makes me so sure? Even though we don't usually discuss astrology at this site, in this case it seems highly relevant, given that Bush's birthday, July 6, is just two days after the fast is scheduled to begin. What that means metaphysically is that the fast will start just two days before the Sun returns to the same place it was in the cosmos when Bush was born. A birthday is a sensitive cosmic event for each of us, essentially a personal New Year. His will be pre-empted by protestors fasting for Peace.

However, in Bush's case, there are many more factors at play. Cancer Sun Sign people often have a great fondness for food and drink. It is both security and a comfort for them, as well as nourishment. The very idea of someone refusing to eat is shocking... unless it is to manipulate someone else or to punish one's self, and perhaps these are the same. Whether young George ever manipulated his parents by refusing food, I have no idea, but his natal chart has three planets in his 3rd house-- the sector that includes siblings, early schooling & communication-- squaring his Sun in the 12th house.

The Square is considered a hard aspect, and, in fact, often requires obstacles, in order for the planets' energies to be made manifest. Astrologers often note that Bush's Cancer Sun is in the 12th house, and that its energy is not easily expressed; yet, others interpret this placement as someone who requires much private time. However, Bush's 3rd house with its stellium of three planets is very busy, and because it is ruled by Libra, a sign that constantly seeks to find balance and keep the peace, could easily create a lot of tension for him. Ironic, I know, but didn't I say that it wouldn't be easy for him? Actually, though, he has had, at least until the the second term of his presidency, a reputation (deserved or not) for communicating well with others. More likely, though, that had somethng to do with the natures of those 3rd house "planets:" Jupiter, Moon, and Chiron.

Jupiter here could help or hinder. My own observation is that a person's Jupiter placement often reveals an area where they tend to be overly generous, perhaps in a way that serves neither party in the long run. Yet, Jupiter is most often considered a beneficent body, and for Bush it might be the reason he has been able to connect so well with the public, which is also represented by the Moon.

The Moon, which is the key ruler of Bush's 12th house Cancer Sun is not especially helpful to him here, personally, simply because it is square to the Sun, an aspect that often represents parental conflict. Yet, it does bode well for communicating with both siblings and the public.

Chiron, more properly referred to as an asteroid, is the symbol of the wounded healer, and shows up for each of us in an area of our birth chart that represents a type of very deep wound, whether psychic or karmic. And... Bush did lose a younger sister to leukemia when they were both very young children. By all accounts he never really had an opportunity to deal with the grief, and, in fact, was actively discouraged by his parents from doing so. Over time, there can become a kind of strength in Chiron's placement, but it requires going through things, not around them.

What does it mean to Bush that this cluster of planets can represent the source of unresolved personal grief and yet provide him with the means to reach beyond his family? It sounds exceedingly painful to me, especially if you consider the rigidity of his personal schedule... early riser, vigorous daily exercise, and early to bed.

What will it mean to Bush to witness ordinary people, not merely letting go of their own lifes' structures, but literally starving themselves, out of a deep frustration with his unwillingness to listen to them? That people will be using such graphic means to communicate their grief so publicly-- remember, he is very private-- will truly shock him. Unlike the recent suicides at Guantanamo, a well-publicized fast or hunger strike by a critical mass of American citizens truly will be an act of asymmetric force.

We can only hope that the story reaches him.


Anonymous Stephanie said...

When I was in high school, my parents took the family to a speech by Dick Gregory in which he advocated fasting for just one day. I can attest to the spiritual side of it, although I was too young and confused to understand what was really going on at the time.

In retrospect, I'm surprised my mom even knew who he was and that he had come to my small town. I think we all knew him better as a stand up comic.

As for Bush's birthday, it just absolutely scares the heck out of me that it's 2 days before mine.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Karen M said...

Well, then, you can certainly imagine my feelings about his birthday being one day before mine. ;~)

11:36 AM  

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