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Kathy Randel's statement
This statement was made on March 29, 1999 outside the U.S. embassy in Wellington, New Zealand by Kathy Randels.
"As a citizen of the United States of America, I renounce the current action, the five-day bombing that NATO, led mostly by Bill Clinton and the U.S. military, has launched upon Yugoslavia. My name is Kathy Randels. I am a performance artist from New Orleans who has spent the last six months collaborating with Dah Teatar of Belgrade. We are one small example of the repercussions of NATO's actions. We have been forced to separate because of our nationalities. Dah Teatar consists of five Yugoslavs, one Italian, one British and one American. We don't know when we will see one another again.
Four of the Yugoslavian members of our company flew back to their country on a plane this morning. Today the remaining three of us, Antonella Diana of Italy, Jadrenka Andjelic of Yugoslavia and myself are joined by citizens of Wellington and Aotearoa, Yugoslavians living in New Zealand, Peace Movement Aotearoa and women who have been participating in an international festival of women's performance-Magdalena Aotearoa.
It is difficult, in the face of aggression not to respond with aggression.
But we stand in silence today. We stand in silence first and foremost to ask NATO to stop the airstrikes. We stand in silence in sister-hood with Women in Black of Yugoslavia, who have stood against the war in all parts of former Yugoslavia since it began in 1991. We stand in silence to send our energy, love, prayers and support to our loved ones in Yugoslavia. We stand in silence because we are in shock. We stand in silence because inside all of us is a huge scream that could deafen the planet, and if we begin to scream, we might not stop. We stand in silence because we believe in finding peaceful solutions to problems-not fighting aggression with further aggression. We say with this silence, 'Stop the bombing immediately.'"
After this statement, the group of approximately 100 people stood, in silence for 15 minutes, holding candles, flowers and a large black cloth. At the end of this silence, all of the women present gathered at the gate of the embassy and sang, lead by Edwina this song:
We are a witness to your war crimes
Two television stations were present and the protest was covered on the news. However, the protest was edited. The statement made by the only American present, Ms. Randels, though recorded, was not aired. Indeed, her image was not shown at all on either channel. The only line of the song that was aired was "...we will remember your face." And finally, the group was referred to as a group of Yugoslavs, no mention of the other groups and individuals involved in the protest was heard.
These two television stations' editing of actual events is indicative of media around the world's treatment of the current situation surrounding the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. Only portions of the story are told. Words that condemn NATO and the U.S. are removed. Violent actions within protests are given precedence, such as the armed attack of the U.S. embassy in Moscow. Silent, peaceful protests are not deemed newsworthy. Additionally, every television report since the conflict erupted, has included an image of a warplane in flight and the resulting fire of it's bomb. This is in keeping with censorship and propaganda that has been practiced by the regime in Yugoslavia for the past eight years, and indeed, other states that the U.S. has condemned as being non-democratic for decades.
Return to PMA's Alert: Stop NATO bombing, Stop NZ government support for the airstrikes!