While William Davis "Davy" Westlake, 24, is en route with his Army unit to the Persian Gulf, his sister Debra stood Saturday in the International Peace Gardens at Jordan Park and spoke to reporters about peace.
She wants Americans - particularly women and children - to join her in a non-political letter-writing campaign to the Iraqi Embassy.Her plea is based on historic interventions in Eastern cultures. Throughout history, women and children have pleaded successfully for peace. Two fighting men can back down and still save face among their peers if it is done "for the sake of a woman or child," Westlake said.
"We're not here to debate U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf. We're here to discuss Iraqi foreign policy," said Steven N. Winters, a family friend who collaborated on the idea. "We're not naive enough to think that this small gathering alone - or the letters - will make a difference. But if Saddam Hussein decides that he needs to back down to save his political life, if he decides to withdraw, it might just make it easier."
"We all desire peace," Westlake said. "What we disagree on is how to obtain that peace. We would like to encourage all people, particularly women and children, to write to the Iraqi Embassy and ask for a peaceful Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait for the sake of our families."
Writing as mothers, daughters and sisters, she said, could provide an "honorable solution."
"You can still maintain your national pride," Winters said, "but for the sake of all the suffering in the world. . . . This is a cause people can come to regardless of their feelings on American policy."
The public is invited to the International Peace Gardens, 975 S. 900 West, at noon, Saturday, Dec. 1, to hear more about the campaign. The invitation reads: "Through the power of prayer and pleading it is our hope that Iraq will choose peace rather than war for the sake of their children and our children."
It is not a rally, and they have requested that people do not wear uniforms or bring picket signs and posters. Instead, Westlake and Winters hope that people who care about the thousands of Americans going to Operation Desert Shield will show up and display the traditional symbol of peace and hope, a yellow ribbon.
Letters can be mailed to the Iraqi Embassy, 1801 P St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.