More from the Wayback Machine:
January 30, 2003
Today I got the following spam email:
RICE TO IRAQ
There is a grassroots campaign underway to protest war in Iraq in a simple, but potentially powerful way.
Place 1/2 cup uncooked rice in a small plastic bag (a snack-size bag or sandwich bag works fine). Squeeze out excess air and seal the bag. Wrap it in a piece of paper on which you have written:
"If your enemies are hungry, feed them. Romans 12:20. Please send this rice to the people of Iraq; do not attack them."
Place the paper and bag of rice in an envelope (either a letter-sized or padded mailing envelope--both are the same cost to mail) and address them to:
President George Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500
Attach $1.06 in postage. (Three 37-cent stamps equal $1.11.)
Drop this in the mail TODAY. It is important to act NOW so that President Bush gets the letters ASAP.
In order for this protest to be effective, there must be hundreds of thousands of such rice deliveries to the White House. We can do this if you each forward this message to your friends and family.
There is a positive history of this protest! In the 1950s, Fellowship of Reconciliation began a similar protest, which is credited with influencing President Eisenhower against attacking China. Read on:
"In the mid-1950s, the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation, learning of famine in the Chinese mainland, launched a 'Feed Thine Enemy' campaign. Members and friends mailed thousands of little bags of rice to the White House with a tag quoting the Bible, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him." As far as anyone knew for more than ten years, the campaign was an abject failure. The President did not acknowledge receipt of the bags publicly; certainly, no rice was ever sent to China.
"What nonviolent activists only learned a decade later was that the campaign played a significant, perhaps even determining role in preventing nuclear war. Twice while the campaign was on, President Eisenhower met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to consider U.S. options in the conflict with China over two islands, Quemoy and Matsu. The generals twice recommended the use of nuclear weapons.
President Eisenhower each time turned to his aide and asked how many little bags of rice had come in. When told they numbered in the tens of thousands, Eisenhower told the generals that as long as so many Americans were expressing active interest in having the U.S. feed the Chinese, he certainly wasn't going to consider using nuclear weapons against them."
From: People Power: Applying Nonviolence Theory by David H. Albert, p.43, New Society, 19.
And my response because I just couldn't help myself, that's the way I am:
RICE TO IRAQ - A RESPONSE FROM THE RADICAL MIDDLE
While rice producers across the nation would applaud this idea, I can see three serious drawbacks with the plan.
1.) If you send rice in a regular mailing envelope, chances are that it will not reach Washington, D.C. Somewhere along the way automated mail handling equipment will chew that sucker up into shreds, dropping rice grains into the moving parts of the machine causing it to seize up and halt. If this happens in post offices across the U.S., it could be construed as a terrorist attack on one of the nation's vital communications pipelines. The shredded rice will of course leave a white, powdery residue on the machine. Anthrax abatement teams will be dispatched to clean it all up costing the Postal Service millions of dollars thus causing the price of stamps to increase.
2.) Of the padded envelopes that actually do reach the president, most if not all will have a white, powdery residue in the bottom of the baggie due to the disintegration of a few of the grains of rice. The FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and the Director of Homeland Security will conduct a raid on your house for sending anthrax to the president. They will spirit you off in the middle of the night to some super-secret military prison and hold you for six months while inefficient government labs test thousands of little rice baggies with white, powdery residue. While your terrified children wonder where their mommies and daddies are, the government will investigate every aspect of your life from your dog's vaccination records to your granny's knickers to your 1954 income tax return.
3.) Iraqis do not eat rice. It's against their religion.
If you really wish to protest a war with Iraq, do not weenie out and merely send ten thousand baggies of foodstuffs to Washington....send ten thousand people. A protest march on Washington would get much more media attention and you would be far less likely to be arrested for your efforts. If your job or family obligations prevent you from taking a trip to Washington at this time, send me the $1.06 that you would have otherwise spent on postage. I'll be glad to go in your place once enough funds arrive. D.C. is beautiful in the spring when the cherry trees bloom. I'll go then.
Americans for Safe Granny Knickers, Inc.
Lower Arkansas, USA