Remarks by Head-Roc
Operation Ceasefire Press Conference

National Press Club - 08.10.05

Good afternoon members of the press, my fellow operation ceasefire organizers consisting of representation from United For Peace and Justice, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Thievery Cooperation, and Mintwood Media.

My name is Head-Roc and I want to thank you all for coming out and deeming it newsworthy to cover this Operation Ceasefire news conference.

As you all know by now Operation Ceasefire is the name given to the historic multi-genre music festival scheduled to take place on the Washington Monument grounds Saturday September 24th 2005, as part of that weekend’s massive anti-war/bring the troops home Washington DC street mobilization demanding peace and global equality.

I am very proud and honored to be part of this coalition of musicians, having come together in solidarity with progressive activists, to exercise our first amendment rights of free speech and peaceful assembly in an effort to petition our Government in redress of our grievances.

These actions are of significant importance in this age where doing so is often propagandized as unpatriotic by those who support war and hostilities as a solution to our nations disagreements with certain ideologies, faiths, and cultures.

As an artist I feel it is of the utmost importance to express my dissent for the war in Iraq, clearly and plainly.

I, as many Americans do, believe that our current actions in Iraq have been illegal, unjust, and very misleading.

I am a firm believer that the actions of this current administration, along with the handling of information with regards to the consequences of its actions, are harmful to the well-being and future of not just American citizens, but many of our fellow World citizens. As we find ourselves in these tough times, it is important that each and every one of us take action to find a quick and just solution to our current situation.

Already, almost 2,000 American soldiers have died with many thousands more injured both physically and emotionally as a result of this preventable preemptive conflict – I hesitate to call it a ‘war’ because to my knowledge Congress still has not passed a formal Declaration of War in regard to this act of aggression against the people of Iraq.

In addition to the casualties suffered by American families, many tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens are dead as a result of this current administration’s decision to invade their homeland in search yet unfound ‘weapons of mass destruction’ to quote ‘establish democracy and freedom’.

That is the human cost. The monetary cost for this war is great as well. Billions of dollars per month are spent to, as this administration puts it, establish democracy and bring freedom to the citizenry of Iraq.

With no end in site, and the fight between extremist groups with obvious great capacity and capabilities to deliver death and destruction in name of what they think to be moral and right, both the Middle East and here in the United States, these human and financial costs are proving too much for citizens of both nations to bear. Now is the time for us to stop a
a nd say ENOUGH!!!

My participation in the Operation Ceasefire music festival is very meaningful to me as an American citizen, and as a descendant of enslaved Africans brought to this land as commerce in the economic foundation of the United States as a Nation, and then even more so as a native Washingtonian and DC Resident.

As a DC Resident I do not have a congressional voice in determining the course and actions of our Nation. Sure we have ‘Shadow’ senators and representatives in the halls of Congress, but their votes, therefore my voice and 600,000 others who call The District of Columbia home, is not heard. Ironically, this is not democracy.

As a DC Resident, my tax dollars are part of some 700 million dollars collected along with fellow District citizens to finance an ‘undeclared war’ that is being conducted in our names and without our consent. This is not democracy.

As a DC Resident, appropriation committees in both Houses of Congress must approve our own local budget - making decisions as to which funds are allocated to where.

These very same committees historically have ignored the needs of DC citizens in areas such as education, heath care, and housing to the point where in 2005 roughly 79,000 DC citizens are uninsured with no affordable heath care, the public school system is woefully under funded, and approximately 45% of DC’s children live in poverty.

Every day there are dozens, if not hundreds of socially active groups working feverishly to bring about better conditions for their fellow residents, but without a legitimate and vested vote in Congress, their works are all too often in vain. This is not democracy.

Mothers and Fathers, sons and daughters of dc are all sharing in the sacrifice our Nation asks of us in times of war and armed conflict. One would think that living in the capitol of the most powerful nation on the face of the earth, our quality of life would be the example for the rest of the country to admire and emulate. One would think that supporting and sending loved ones into harms way somehow would be the right thing to do in exchange for such endowments of democracy and freedom

Truth is, in Washington, DC surrounding the fabled monuments and tributes that line the National Mall, and outside the halls of congress where representatives of our fellow citizens make patriotic speeches and pass laws that determine the course of our nation, we have no democracy - and yet we take part in actions to establish that very same democracy elsewhere in the world.

Truth is, that very same democracy and freedom we cherish so much as Americans doesn’t even exist in the capitol of the greatest example and defender of democracy on the face of the earth!

The glaring irony of these truths can only serve to earn Washington, DC the dubious title as “The Hypocrisy of Democracy” where those who profess to support the ideals and values of Democracy deny it in the very place from which they vote to export it around the world.

I hope that you all will be present on Saturday September 24th, 2005 to witness progressive unity in action, as we speak with one voice and in unison ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW!”