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Marianne Hamilton presente!

By Sarah Martin

Marianne Hamilton

Minneapolis, MN – Marianne Hamilton, 97, a long time, highly respected, and much loved anti-war activist died Saturday August 5. Along with Polly Mann, Marianne founded Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) years ago. Polly recalls she was the model of how to do peace work, that “she was a light to all of us.”

Marianne was very active opponent of the U.S. war on Vietnam. She twice journeyed to north Vietnam during the war, dodging bombs by running into ditches and holding meetings with the people of the country. She traveled with a delegation that included David Dellinger, Cora Weiss, William Sloane Coffin and Richard Falk, as well as family members, who were to bring three American prisoners of war home. Polly Mann recalls that while there, she learned of the tiger cages used by the South Vietnamese and U.S. to hold Viet Cong prisoners of war. She helped bring worldwide attention to this despicable war crime.

Marianne successfully helped many draft resisters get to Canada, hiding them in her home and garage despite being watched by the FBI.

After the Vietnam War, Marianne traveled worldwide. She became WAMM’s international representative as she met with officials and peace and women’s groups, often organizing delegations to many war-torn areas of the world. Countries she visited include many in Asia and Central America, the Philippines, India and Yemen.

Marianne remained highly regarded in Vietnam and made many trips back to the country to visit friends including Madame Binh, the Vice President of Viet Nam who had negotiated at the Paris Peace Conference on behalf of the National Liberation Front.

She had a deep and clear understanding of U.S. intervention and opposed it in Yugoslavia, Tibet and Syria.

In October 2007 Marianne was honored by the Minnesota History Center in a festival of ten-minute films about Minnesota’s greatest generation. Marianne Hamilton: Voice of Peace, produced and directed by Kevin KcKeever, tells of the making of a peace activist. Marianne’s papers are housed at the Minnesota Historical Society under the category of Vietnam War Protests.

Alan Dale, member of Minnesota Peace Action Coalition said, “Marianne was a consistent, thoughtful and decent person. She had great courage to explore and face the world as it is and to work to change it.”

Karen Hanson, long-time friend said, “I admired Marianne from the first day I met her in WAMM. During the U.S./Contra war in Nicaragua, Marianne and I formed a Commission of Inquiry to go and investigate. We traveled in a van with eight women through Contra-infested territory to meet with the wives and families of Sandinista soldiers who had been killed. Marianne was always a step ahead. They worried the driver might be shot, so she sat next to the driver and watched how to drive the van in case something happened.”

Diana Johnstone, a Paris-based journalist writes, “I first met Marianne in 1970 when she vigorously joined our group of 30 independent Americans who went to Paris to meet the Vietnamese delegations to the peace talks, which were then bogged down by U.S. stalling. Our message to the Vietnamese and to the folks back in Minnesota was that we too supported peace and independence for the Vietnamese people. Marianne’s outgoing nature was very suited for such encounters, and this must have been a high point in her lifelong effort to promote world peace. It is such actions that make a good life, and Marianne had a long and very good life.

“Young people today who seek purpose in their lives should follow her example of working for peace by making friends with people the U.S. government wishes to brand as enemies. This is work for life itself, that goes on after all individual deaths.”

Marianne Hamilton presente!

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