alibi online
Weekly Alibi PodcastFree Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 V.14 No.34 | August 25 - 31, 2005 

The Real Side

Candles in the Night

Mothers Challenge Bush's War

Dixie Prowell had never done anything like it before. Prowell, 58, an Albuquerque CPA, was moved by Cindy Sheehan's vigil outside President Bush's hobby ranch. Sheehan wants Bush to explain exactly what her son died for in Iraq. While Prowell doesn't agree with all Sheehan says, "I agree with her quest for the truth. She has been able to say he lied in such a poignant way. Her ’emperor has no clothes' story really appeals to me."

In 48 hours Prowell organized a vigil in support of Sheehan that drew over 220 people outside the First Congregational UCC Church at Girard and Lomas. It was one of seven similar events around Albuquerque on Aug. 17, all pulled off with great success on short notice.

The vigil was quiet and reserved. No loudspeakers, no drums. Mostly women and children with "Moms for Peace" signs holding candles and waving to motorists honking horns in support. It was a dramatic change in atmosphere from efforts to protest the war more than two years ago, which were frequently met with obscenities and police and sheriff's deputies sent to intimidate dissenting voices.

Sally Alice Thompson, a Navy veteran, attended Prowell's event to collect signatures on a poster addressed to Sheehan. She and other Albuquerque-area veterans are heading to Crawford this week. They, too, want Bush to fully explain this "noble cause" for which over 16,000 Americans have been killed, maimed, blinded, burned and scarred for life.

At the Mitchell Elementary School athletic field in the Northeast Heights about 100 people listened to a woman who lost a nephew in Iraq.

Forty people gathered at an event labeled "Pro-Soldier, Anti-War," hosted in the home of a mother whose son served in Afghanistan.

Similar crowds gathered in Rio Rancho and the North Valley. Outside the Roundhouse in Santa Fe, well over 300 people lit candles. Vigils were held in Farmington, Silver City, Las Cruces, Taos, La Madera, remote Hillsboro and a ranch outside Abiquiu.

“,” explains Prowell, "made it all so easy."

In fact,'s superb Internet facility made it possible for over 1,600 vigils across the country to be organized on little more than a day's notice. Several venues drew crowds of over 1,000 people.

Whatever the right-wing hyenas have been doing to tear into Sheehan's credibility, it wasn't working with those who turned out to hold candles in the darkness. There is no moral authority like that of a woman who has lost a son in a war built on lies and directed with incompetence. On the night of the nationwide vigils, 200 parents of soldiers and veterans of Iraq stood with Sheehan in Crawford. Their numbers grow daily. As more bereaved families join her, the attacks on Sheehan will increasingly resemble the desperate propaganda of liars caught in the act.

In related news, I wrote an article for these pages some months ago entitled "Stupid Yellow Ribbons." It lambasted the delusion that slapping a magnet on the back of your car did anything to really support the troops. If you want to actually benefit the troops, I argued, demand our country give them the care they need and call for them to come home now. I received more applause from parents of soldiers than I would ever have predicted.

The article was reprinted in a newsletter for paralyzed veterans. A nurse at the VA Hospital sent it around to coworkers. It circulated here in New Mexico among Blue Star Mothers, moms with children in the military. The response from those women has been running 5 to 2 in favor of what I had to say.

Some Blue Star Mothers pointed out that buying a yellow ribbon through their organization, not Wal-Mart, helps them send supplies to the troops. Several wrote to thank me for saying what so many know to be true, but too few are willing to say aloud. To be thanked by a woman who worries every day about unwanted news from the Pentagon is the highest reward I will ever receive for this modest effort at giving the First Amendment a weekly work out. To New Mexico's Blue Star Mothers, I extend my own "thank you" and add a sincere wish for their loved ones' safe and speedy return home.

Many military families are troubled by the widespread inattention to the sacrifices being made for Bush's war. Women like Cindy Sheehan and Dixie Prowell might begin to change that. Reporter Jeff Deal of Channel 13 KRQE-TV covered five of the vigils in Albuquerque. That's a start.

But the next day, the Albuquerque Journal continued its practice of marginalizing dissent and shielding its readers from too much information about Iraq. It ignored the vigils. And it spent not a drop of ink on the deaths of four more GIs ripped apart by a roadside bomb while mothers' candles burned across America.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author. E-mail

Tomorrow's Events

LEAP Into Science at South Broadway Library

Enjoy experimenting with the push and pull of magnets. This workshop is ideal for ages 6-9.

AHCC Biz Gratis: AHCC Campus Fashion Edition at Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce

Star Gazing at Sandia Mountain Natural History Center

More Recommended Events ››
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    A Film In Color/Glasir
    A Film In Color/Glasir6.13.2016