As I write this, I am in very full nine-seater van as the IVAW German expeditionary team makes its way back to Ansbach after a successful excursion to Berlin. On board are the four members of the team, (Chris Capps, Jeff Englehart, Thomas Cassidy, and myself) Boris Meyer of the Ansbach Peace Coalition, Darnell Stephen Summers of the Stop the War Brigade, Chris’s wife Meike Schubert, their son, Leon, and Yana, a Czech reporter who has been tagging along since we left Ansbach. We’re stuck in traffic on the autobahn.
Our first event yesterday was a press conference with two German reporters a woman from the Associated Press. By the time we got back to Darnell’s friend’s home that evening, it was already on the homepage of Military.com. This morning, there were four pages of comments on the article. Unfortunately, AP forgot to mention any one of the three reasons for us to be in Germany. And on top of that, Military.com ran the story next to a picture of a group of CodePinkers protesting in front of the White House with a big peace sign. No offense to CodePink of course, but IVAW is trying to portray a different image. This morning I posted a reply and you can see it here.
After the press conference, Darnell treated us to an exclusive tour of an incredible archive of antiwar and military resistance books and documents. The archive was originally compiled by the author of Resistance in the US Armed Forces, but he has passed away, and passed the archive on to another caretaker who was more than happy to share it with a few of the guys who will help to “write the next chapter.”
Then we met with a representative of a member of the German Parliament over dinner.
We discussed German politics as they relate to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and German policy towards the US forces stationed in Germany. He is looking for information that may affect that policy. I am not at liberty to discuss any more of the specifics of that conversation, but if you have any information that may be relevant, the point of contact on the matter is Tom, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then it was time for the big press conference/panel discussion arranged by the American Voices Abroad Military Project. The crowd was very receptive, and we got a chance to really make a connection with people. I read my statement in German, which gets better every time. My proficiency has also progressed to the point that I was able to answer parts of many of the questions in German. It might not seem like a big deal when you have translators, but if you have ever worked with one, you know it’s a lot more effective to be able to communicate directly.
I’ve been doing my best to prepare for my impending legal battle from here, but in the van, it’s a bit tricky. And soon we will be at the protest at the Katterbach base in Ansbach.