Jan. 7, Occupied Baghdad, Iraq -- On this wet, blustery day, Ken O'Keefe, an ex-US Marine and Gulf War Veteran and Truth Justice Peace (TFP) Human Shield Iraq Founder chose the infamous Paradise Square for his nonviolent act of defiance and solidarity.
Standing amidst a cluster of media in the shadow of where the staged toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein by the Americans took place, Mr. O'Keefe somberly, yet angrily stated he was to burn his US Passport.
Mr. O'Keefe read the following statement;
"First of all I want smile and express my deepest love for my entire human family and our infinitely beautiful and irreplaceable home; Planet Earth. What I do I do for truth not lies; for justice not tyranny, for peace not war, for love not hate."
Raising his voice while scanning the onlookers, he continued,
"And now I shall let my personal venom flow and commit the following act of defiance in condemnation of the illegal invasion and ongoing occupation and mass murder of the Iraqi people by my birth nation of the United States. The burning of my passport is an exercise in the inherent human right of self determination in accordance with international law after having my U.S. passport returned to me twice by the U.S. Department of State. My personal act affirms once and for all the lawful and undeniable completion of my renunciation of U.S. citizenship that began on March 1, 2001. I AM NOT A UNITED STATES CITIZEN! I am a lawfully registered World citizen in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) with ultimate allegiance to my entire human family and to planet Earth."
"My act of defiance additionally affirms my solidarity with all colonised and oppressed peoples and specifically the Iraqi people; Iraqi people who collectively reject America's occupation and the blatantly unrepresentative puppet government America intends to force on them. Iraqi people who like America's Founding Fathers exercise their inherent and lawful right to resist occupation and tyranny; only in this case it is a united America and Britain that are the Imperial tyrants. Iraqi people who also peacefully demand their lawful right to true self determination which requires the end of U.S. presence and influence in Iraqis internal affairs."
"Let the entire world and especially America citizens acknowledge the following two hard facts;
1. There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq aside from those brought by the United States; which shamefully includes cluster bombs that litter this country now; this is a patent crime against humanity in itself.
2. There is no threat now in Saddam Hussein for the American people.
"Therefore America must pull out of Iraq without delay. To not do so proves America to be the single greatest threat to the safety and security of our world and indeed the world's number one terrorist.
O'Keefe took a deep breath and read,
"I state loud and clear, I am not anti-American, I am a true American and I call on all genuine American patriots to reject the orders of the Vietnam War deserter and Constitutional traitor George W. Bush and to remove this traitor from his undemocratic de facto post; impeach him at the least for his criminal negligence on September 11, 2001.
O'Keefe burns his US passport.
Mr. O'Keefe paused and pointed to a nearby tank with soldiers perched on top:
"As a former United States Marine and Gulf War veteran I call on my American brothers and sisters to put down their weapons and refuse service in Iraq. And lastly I state my love of the American people whether friend or foe and I call on them to support their troops for real; BRING AMERICA'S SONS AND DAUGHTERS HOME NOW!
Mr. O'Keefe then raised his fist and stated,
"Power to the People!"
Mr. O'Keefe doused his US passport with fuel, held it up slowly for the media, then lit it.
After his US Passport was engulfed in flames, Mr. O'Keefe pulled out another passport displaying that he is World Citizen #321831, and encouraged people to join the movement. (www.worldservice.org)
Mr. O'Keefe stated again that his act of burning his US passport was an act towards universal kinship, and that he was working to end the illegal US Occupation of Iraq.
Dahr Jamail is a freelance journalist and political activist from Anchorage, Alaska. He has come to Iraq to bear witness and write about how the US occupation is affecting the people of Iraq, since the media in the US has in large part, he believes, failed to do so.