Report from the Day of Action event Washington DC
Sunday´s objective was to inform passers-by of the harm depleted uranium weapons cause to civilian populations, military personnel deployed in wars and to the environment. The United States and the UK have used DU weapons in Iraq and the Balkans. Radioactive and toxic DU bullets are a by-product of the enrichment of uranium for nuclear fuel and have a half life of 4.5 billion years.
Signatures were gathered in support of ICBUW´s International Petition to Ban Uranium Weapons which demands an immediate end to the use of uranium weapons, disclosure of all locations where these have been used and the immediate removal of the remnants and contaminated materials from the sites.
The petition also demands health surveys of victims and medical treatment and compensation. Immediate follow up to this year’s action day will be a visit on November 10 to the office of U.S. Representative José E. Serrano (D-NY) who has presented a bill The Depleted Uranium Screening and Testing Act, which seeks to identify members of the US armed forces who may have been exposed to depleted uranium and which aims to ensure health monitoring. Information will be gathered at this meeting with the goal of supporting or co-sponsoring this text. Readers are encouraged to join this effort to ensure that this bill does not founder through lack of support as in previous years.
The new ICBUW leaflet was well received and people were drawn to our post by the photo exhibition of Japanese photo journalist Naomi Toyoda who has travelled to Iraq several times and recorded the tragedy and horror of U.S military aggression. Photographs of children who are very sick and coming into the world with severe birth defects are a call to action now. Medical treatment and compensation for the victims must be a top priority that U.S. citizens need to rally around.
Occupy DC is built on the examples set by Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy Together movement. Focus is on the economy and corporate corruption of the U.S. political system. November 6th coincided with a crowd of several thousand protesters from across the country which encircled the White House to demand that President Obama deny a permit for a proposed oil pipeline that would stretch from Alberta to the Texas coast. Just as the Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons is seen by organizations around the world that have joined this global effort, a member of the Tar Sands Action expressed “It´s an issue that goes beyond politics. It’s a humanitarian issue”. Just as Akira Tashiro asked himself as he travelled to different parts of the world to write the book Discounted Casualties – The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium “If this had happened in the U.S, the country that fired the rounds, how would the people react?”. Well it is high time for us to react, and not only end these wars and bring U.S and other troops home, but to find funds for medical treatment, compensation to DU victims and the immediate removal of the remnants left in other peoples’ back yards. A convention for a total ban on uranium weapons is a good start. We need your help.