Saying she is having trouble moving and that everything is “up in the air,” the American anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan’s scheduled visit to Germany and France looks uncertain. In an email to Stars and Stripes, Sheehan says she was brutalized by the New York Police Department and will be seeing a doctor.
Those planning to attend the protest outside Ramstein Air Base, among them members antiof American Voices Abroad, have said they will proceed with the protest even if Sheehan doesn’t show up. AVA spokesperson, Elsa Rassbach said, “We’re just going ahead because we think it’s correct. This is not against the soldiers. It’s against sending more soldiers to be wounded.”
I have plans to go to Landstuhl Saturday to visit with the wounded. I was to accompany fellow military spouses who wanted to join the counterprotest. I will still be visiting the wounded, but those with whom I was to travel have cancelled their plans after hearing that Sheehan will most likely not be in attendance. There is speculation that her stateside supporters who had intended to accompany her will be canceling their plans as well.
Most of the planned hoopla won’t be taking place to include the walk through the woods from Landstuhl to Ramstein. The traffic circle that is to host the protest is a considerable distance from Ramstein’s gate and is even further from the hospital itself. Unless someone tells the wounded what’s going on, or they were made aware of today’s news before being injured, they won’t know what’s going on over yonder.
An American who participates in the constitutionally protected types of activities Sheehan engages in can’t expect to embark on world travel with the same freedom of movement as those passport-carrying Americans who weren’t recently arrested. Europe isn’t America. While there’s no official word on Sheehan’s status, it’s reasonable to assume there are going to be some restrictions imposed upon her; that it is her arrest, and not the injuries sustained while in New York, that have preempted her travel plans.
The U.S. has a vested interest in not releasing its citizens into the wild to create international incidences, especially near an American military installation. Sheehan has some tidy explanations for why she will not likely participate in the protest but one doesn’t usually cancel plans because they’re sore from worldwide wrestling. They cancel when they are told they won’t be allowed a flight. I realize she’s not 25 anymore, but “having trouble moving?” She’s only today getting to the doctor. An injury no more urgent than that wouldn’t keep most people from following through on a European tour that includes the opportunity to address the European Union Parliament.
As I’m still in full support of her right to protest as an American citizen on American soil, I do hope she gets to feeling better and uses this opportunity to heal — from all her injuries.
Me thinks thou hath protested too much.