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5 YEARS WALKING FOR PEACE

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FERNANDO SUAREZ DEL SOLAR

Over the last three years, since the advent of the Bush War in Iraq, and in spite of an often overwhelming amount of public speaking and unrelenting activism, only a small number of people know that public life has in fact been a life long reality for me. My father was a politician in Mexico City. I grew up surrounded by public figures in my native Mexico.

I expect towards the end of the year to complete my book. Then, all of those who have known me in these years of continual activism for peace, truth and justice, will have a means of knowing the story behind me: my own father and legacy of public activity, and the message I have chosen, in the name of my son and of the youth of the US and the world, a message that will never cease to be of vital importance so long as there is violence in the world, under any flag.

The death of my son on March 27th, 2003, marked the start of my activism in the United States, a country to which I had migrated only a few years earlier. My life here in this country, in the United States of America, until then the life of a common worker and provider, suffered a violent alteration after being notified of my sons death in Iraq.

Lance Corporal Marine Jesus Alberto Suarez Del Solar Navarro, died of a bullet wound to the head, or so I was informed on Friday, March 28th, at eight fifteen in the morning, by three uniformed men who came to my house looking for my sons young wife. Apart from the intense pain that overwhelmed me, I also felt intense anger that my son was lost in a war in which I never believed. In front of the cameras, that same day, I blamed President Bush publicly for my son’s death, even without knowing that I was being lied to as to the true cause and circumstances of my son’s death.

Three or four days later, I received a call from a reporter from the San Diego Union Tribune, telling me they had access to very different information regarding my sons death to that officially delivered by the Marine authorities. The reporter told me my son had died in an accident. That same day, Bob Woodruff, an anchorman for ABC in Iraq, telephoned me and told me my son had not died of a bullet wound to the head, but had died by friendly fire, stepping accidentally on a piece of explosive artillery, a piece of artillery that is illegal in any war, a cluster bomb that is illegal according to the Geneva convention and the United Nations, but was nonetheless widely spread on Iraqi soil by the United States military forces. With this information, I proceeded to contact people in the Marines and my own congressman to ask for an explanation. To this day I have not received any response.

On April 9th, when my only sons body finally arrived in Escondido to be buried, against the wishes of the United States government, and imposing my right as a father, I disobeyed an order to not open the casket, and demanded of the four soldiers guarding the casket to leave me alone with my sons body. They were forced to yield due to my firm insistence. There, alone with my sons corpse, I opened the casket and was able to confirm that my son did not die of a bullet wound. His head was in fact intact. Inspecting his body, I found that his wounds were located in his feet, legs and abdomen.

Knowing for certain about the immoral and criminal lie my family was subjected to, I took the decision to go public with my denouncement, and this is how I became, once more, a public figure, traveling and speaking wherever there are those who will listen.

Since then I have traveled throughout most of the United States, and to eleven foreign countries, including Iraq, where I stood on the very spot where my son died, and was able to bury my hands in the dirt covered with his dried blood, bringing it home with me. I have taken my denouncement of Bush´s criminal lies and this immoral War everywhere I go. I have been relentlessly delivering a message of peace, justice, and non-violent resistance to militarism. I initiated the Guerrero Azteca Peace Project in order to deliver information to schools, my primary objective being the young, and to the general public. I speak to all about the systematically omitted realities of military service, about the numerous lies and entrapments of military recruitment, and about the sad social realities behind young peoples equivocal unawareness of infinitely better life alternatives than those offered by military service, which deprives them of the very things they claim to fight for: Freedom, Peace, Self determination, bodily and mental health, and ultimately, their own precious lives.

I make every effort to convey to young people that war and violence will never lead to true peace, on the contrary, hatred and desire for vengeance only increment conflict, and breed unending violence. The only true weapon with genuine power to end terrorism and injustice is education, tolerance and respect for others. I will continue my work indefinitely under the present circumstances.

In peace,
Fernando Suarez del Solar.
Founder/Director
Guerrero Azteca Project

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