Monday, August 31, 2009

Ann Wright to speak on Thursday in Fayetteville

Ann Wright in Fayetteville and Bentonville
Witness in Gaza
Thursday September 3, Fayetteville
7:00 pm at United Campus Ministries 902 W. Maple

Tuesday September 8, Bentonville
6:00 pm at Shewmaker Center, 1100 SE Eagle Way

The first time I heard of Ann Wright, it seems like she and Medea Benjamin were on the news for being chained to something. I can’t remember what it was now, but it was toward the beginning of the Iraq war. You probably know that Medea is the founder of Code Pink, and if you don’t know who Code Pink is you haven’t been in OMNI long enough. You can google it though.

That’s about the same time I learned that she was the same Ann Wright who was a retired Army Colonel who’d resigned her commission as a diplomat in protest to the war.. That was pretty impressive.

Not long after that Ann’s name came up again when Medea Benjamin couldn’t come to our Hiroshima Nagasaki commemoration because she was abruptly called to Jordan by Iraqi legislators who were desperate to understand some confusing American positions. They were also seeking support from American citizens. Code Pink and Medea appeared to be a good resource for both of those.

Then Ann called us up and offered to visit in Medea’s place. It took me back a bit. The Ann Wright I’d heard of operated on the international stage and got in trouble with very important people. It was surprising that she was willing to do that kind of kindness for strangers in a small state like us. It was only later that I found out that she was a Bentonville girl, and was glad for a chance to come home to visit. It gave me a new and instant appreciation for Bentonville.

I’ve observed Ann long enough now to have grown deep respect for her dedication and determination to see integrity prevail in the world. At least in the parts she has any say to. There are a few of us here who feel the same way, and have been relieved see her on the national news during some difficult times. It makes her a role model for us folks working for peace and justice on the local level, and it makes me appreciate the chance to observe her in action when she’s in town.

This year she has been traveling to that hottest of hot spots on this conflicted globe: Israel and Palestine. It’s not a pretty picture over there. I suspect the stories she brings will not be happy. I expect though, that they’ll be told with the same integrity that she’s shown when the subject was Iraq, Afghanistan, the treatment of prisoners of war, fairness for conscientious objectors in the military, or many other conflictual problems she’s spoken out on. And they’ll be stories worth listening to. Sure hope you can join us for one of these two events.

Please join OMNI for this opportunity to hear first hand from this dedicated soldier, diplomat, public servant, and peace advocate.

Gladys Tiffany
OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology
Fayetteville, Arkansas USA
479-973-9049 --

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