News

WOMAN WAR RESISTER IN JAIL

Captain Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, a doctor serving in the US Army Reserve, refused to fight in the Gulf War. “I am refusing orders to be an accomplice to an immoral, inhumane and unconstitutional act, namely an offensive military mobilization in the Middle East,” she stated. She spoke at peace rallies across the US before turning herself in to military authorities on February 2, 1991. On August 9, Nagasaki Day, she was sentenced to two and one-half years in a military prison. Her medical license may also be revoked. Letters calling for her release can be sent to General Daniel Christman, Commanding General, US Army Engineer Center, Fort Leonard Wood, MO 65473, US or to President George Bush, The White House, Washington, DC, US. Yolanda can be written to: Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, M.D., # 75230, Drawer A, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas 66027-7l4O, US.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN IN THE ‘GULF

Some 35,000 women soldiers were in the US military in the Gulf War — an estimated 40 to 50% of them African-American women. African-American Lt. Phoebe Jeter, commander of a Patriot missile platoon, was the only woman to shoot down a Scud missile. Thirteen women soldiers were killed during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, three of them black. One African-American soldier, Cpt. Cynthia Mosley, reported, “On Highway 8, the highway where we actually went into Iraq, all the bodies I saw—that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I’ve never witnessed such a large amount of dead bodies just…scattered everywhere. We came up just six hours after the fighting so we were relatively close behind the manoeuvre. There were civilians, but most of (the bodies) were Iraqi soldiers. We saw some children and some infants as well that were dismembered, a lot of their body parts … I don’t think it’s anything you ever forget.”

Air Force Senior Airman Theresa Collier, 23, was in the Gulf when someone scratched KKK (Ku Klux Klan, an American hate group) on the bonnet of her car. The first thing she saw after flying back to Germany after Saudi Arabia was a video tape of Los Angeles policemen beating African-American Rodney King. (Ebony, September 1991)

TIBETAN WOMEN ABUSED

A British nurse recently testified to seeing Tibetan women in Lhasa forcibly taken from their homes and placed in animal cages. Valda Harding reported to Tibetan News, “At dusk, I came across a commotion near the Jokhang in Lhasa. There was a canvas-covered truck with the back open. Inside there were three wicker baskets, the kind the Chinese use for carrying pigs to market. Two had Tibetan women trapped inside…I was told they ‘were being taken away because they were having too many children.’ I couldn’t see if the women were pregnant because they were crouched down inside the baskets. The baskets were built for pigs, so the women couldn’t stand in them.” Harding saw the incident in September 1987. When asked why she took so long to speak out, she replied, “The full significance of what I saw didn’t really hit me until later.It sounds strange, but in Tibet you get used to seeing people being kicked, beaten and abused.”

PREPARING FOR BRAZIL

Women from all over the world will meet in Miami, Florida (USA) from November 8-12, to discuss ways of increasing women’s role in government policy-making and to influence the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which will be held in Brazil on June 1-12, 1992. There will be workshops on a wide variety of issues and a Tribunal, where witnesses will testify on the successes and failures of measures to protect the earth’s ecosystem. An Action Agenda will be drawn up and presented to a summit of women and government and UN leaders. For more information contact: International Policy Action Committee, c/o Women’s Foreign Policy Council, 845 Third Avenue (15th floor), New York, New York 10022, USA.

W.I.L.P.F. CONFERENCE

Over 300 members of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) met in June near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) at the national WILPF congress. The Gulf War was strongly condemned. Iraqi member Basima Bezirgan addressed the congress about the situation in her country after the war. “ln the hospital, we see children literally dying,” she said. “Five hundred die each day. By the end of the summer, 175,000 children will die. War is bad. War is made by man. Women will never call for war. We can negotiate far better than the men who sit on the negotiating table.” The Bush administration’s euphoria over the Gulf War and the opposition victory in Nicaragua caused many to fear a US crack-down on Cuba, especially as a Cuban WILPF member was denied a visa to enter the US in order to attend the congress.

EAST GERMAN MEETING

On September 27 to 29, peace women in Dresden, in former East Germany, met together for a seminar to discuss their situation after the Revolution. Mother-daughter relationships were a special topic of discussion. After the seminar the women joined a 1500-strong march and rally against neo-Nazi violence. In September in Dresden, a Vietnamese foreign worker who was six months pregnant was attacked and beaten by neo-Nazis. Another women-only seminar is planned for June 1992. For more information write (in German only) Kathrin Albrecht, Fiedlerstrasse 2, 8019 Dresden, Germany.