US politicians need a lesson in democracy as majority of Americans want a cease-fire in Gaza
Published: Dec 19, 2023 06:40 PM
Courtesy of Code Pink

Courtesy of Code Pink

Editor's Note:
The US "lies all the time… It's time for that to stop," Judie Evans (Evans), co-founder of the US anti-war organization Code Pink told Global Times (GT) reporter Ma Ruiqian in a recent interview. In her view, the US is standing on the wrong side of history in Israel-Palestine conflict, and is also attempting to portray China as an "enemy" using lies and tactics to make people in the US afraid. Evans has initiated the "China is not our enemy" campaign, asserting that both the Chinese and American people are beautiful, and the US and China have to get along.

GT: Could you briefly introduce the activities that Code Pink is currently organizing, and your organization's stance and claim?

Evans: We've been in the halls of Congress, speaking to members of Congress to call for a cease-fire. We've been in the halls of the Senate calling for members of Senate to call for a cease-fire. We've been opposing Blinken who was asking for another $14.3 billion for weapons for Israel, even though he claims to care about the Palestinian people. It's incredibly absurd that those in power believe we'll buy into the idea that they care about the Palestinians while actively bombing them. 
GT: While many Americans are calling for a cease-fire, the US continues to provide weapons and financial support to Israel. In your opinion, what role is the US playing in the war? Why is the US Congress disregarding public opinion and staunchly supporting Israel?

Evans: As US President Joe Biden has stated, if there were not an Israel, the US would have to invent one. It was established as an imperialist tool in the Middle East. One of the most important things is the fact that, in the US and around the world, Jews are saying no. Jews are standing up while the US claims that anti-Semitism opposes Israel's actions. We must understand that this is not a Jewish project. No Jewish person I know would agree to this level of violence.

The US spends $1.5 trillion on war and violence every year. Can you imagine working hard, paying your taxes, and instead of that money going to serve your community, healthcare, education and people's needs, it's destroying other countries and taking lives?

We don't have a representative government in the US. We have a bought and sold government that is bought and sold by the rich. And in war, the rich get richer. Since October 7, the stocks in the weapons industry have gone up, some of them by 10 percent. That's gross, that's horrific, and it's making a killing on killing. The people in power believe they'll stay in power by killing people, and that's truly sad. What we do know from the polls is that Biden is losing support. Current polls show he cannot win the next election because he's lost the support of young people and Arab Americans.

GT: In October, the photos of red hands at a Senate hearing really impressed people. Activist Medea Benjamin was reportedly arrested for demanding a cease-fire. Many other activists have been arrested in recent protests. How is the status of Benjamin or other activists you know now? 

Evans: They're all fine. She was released within a few hours. In the US, when you're arrested in Congress, it's a very quick turnaround. They just want to get you out of the way. It's essential to remember that the US is founded on the principles of free speech, while they can put you in jail for that too. An interesting aspect regarding Israel is that, in the US, you have the freedom to criticize your government, but 37 US states have adopted laws, executive orders, or resolutions designed to discourage boycotts against Israel, reports show.
You reposted on X that "What would it look like if you were standing on the wrong side of history?" As for the Israel-Palestine issue, where do you think the US government stands in history? As an American, what are your feelings about this?

Evans: The US is standing on the wrong side of history. You don't need history to tell you this. The votes in the UN alone can tell you this. A country claiming to believe in democracy ignores a UN vote that says no. That is not democracy. They need a lesson in democracy when domestic polls show more than two-thirds of Americans want a cease-fire, yet only 18 members of Congress vote for it, and the president does nothing. I would say that most people I know believe the empire is dying, it is weak. It would be lovely if they could let go and let someone else have a turn to try to do it better.

The US empire has been so violent. It doesn't really believe in democracy. It lies all the time and gets away with murder. It's time for that to stop. How many governments has it overthrown? How many countries has it bombed? Can we just end this already? The US is on the wrong side of history. Anyone who believes in peace, justice and love for humanity and the planet can see this.

GT: This tweet also mentions an interesting comparison between the "real world" and the "narrative world." Apart from the Israel-Palestine issue, is the US creating a similar narrative in its discourse about China?

Evans: Exactly the same. Create an enemy and make people afraid in the US. They're trying to sell China as the enemy and someone everyone should be afraid of. They are spreading lies about China, so they can harness the hearts and minds of the US to go to war on China. And it's a narrative. That's why I launched my campaign - China is not our enemy. 

In the real world, the rules of the UN and the ICC state that you can't go to war on another country. But the US got away with it on Iraq. It wasn't held accountable or responsible. So it thinks they can just do it with its 750 bases around the world. It's the criminal on the globe. It says it's the leader of the rules-based order, but it's the big criminal. It doesn't follow any rules.

The US and China have to get along. I'm really grateful for California Governor Gavin Newsom's visit to China because it was refreshing to see a US leader have the respect and the humanity to have a beautiful conversation here in China to show the beauty of China.

People are beautiful, Chinese people are beautiful, American people are beautiful. We've got to stop power from driving wars. The people need peace. And in the US, these lies and this hate that has been driven toward China. It already has casualties. The hate crimes targeting the Asian American community have reached some unprecedented levels. In the last 12 months, 75 percent of Chinese Americans have experienced hate or violence. That's a horrific number. I know Chinese Americans that are moving back to China. I know a judge who served her country for 30 years on the bench who can't leave her apartment. In Chinatown, in San Francisco, people are fleeing because they get abused. 

The US is using the same lies, the same tactics to create hate instead of cooperation. This is why we started the campaign. China is not our enemy. We could be telling beautiful stories connecting people to each other. It's always what the people in Code Pink do. We bring people together from Iraq, people from Iran, people from Syria, people from Yemen and people from Afghanistan, that the US is bombing, to try to get people to see you're talking about a human being. It's a person with a family. They're beautiful, people are beautiful, all humans are beautiful. How can anyone even think of bombing people? This is crazy!

GT: In the future, do you and your organization Code Pink plan to continue protesting against violence and advocating for peace?

Evans: We will continue to be in the streets, disrupting Congress. We'll persist in raising money for aid and highlighting the need for assistance, amplifying the voices of those who need to be heard, especially from Palestine.

As a community, we're deeply committed to helping people nourish their own hearts. The violence to the psyche and the heart inflicted by narratives affects every human being. We'll continue taking care of each other and supporting all those within our capacity to assist in our community.

We understand that the only recognizable feature of hope is action. Daily engagement is crucial, as it helps the heart to heal. We'll create something to do every day, making things, singing in the streets, engaging in art and theatre. We'll share poetry received from Palestine to hear the voices of the poets there, sharing their arts and stories because we refuse to let those voices be unheard. We'll persist until this ends. In our hearts, we hold the belief that humanity will triumph over this violence. Life will prevail, and we won't stop or stay silent. We recognize that catastrophes happen when people are silent, and we will not be silent.