[UPDATE below: Lachelle Roddy comments on her reasons for speaking out during Senate Foreign Relations hearing.]
CODEPINK intern and college student Lachelle Roddy disrupted Senator John Kerry’s nomination hearing for Secretary of State today. [VIDEO below] From the gallery of the Senate chamber, Roddy voiced her objection to U.S. military aid to Israel:
We’re killing thousands of people in the Middle East who are not a threat to us. When is it going to be enough? When are enough people going to be killed? I’m tired of my friends in the Middle East not knowing if they’re going to live to see the next day!
CODEPINK is an activist group which opposes U.S. military aggression abroad, including military aid to Israel, which it believes is being used to oppress Palestinians.
Video of Roddy disrupting the hearing:
Roddy commented on her reasons for speaking out during the Senate hearing, which she says was a spontaneous outburst and not a planned action:
I stood in the back listening as they continued to reference how big of a threat the Middle East is to America and how America needs to be a global leader, as if we are not already occupying enough countries. I had had enough when they mentioned economic sanctions on Iran. I could not stay silent any longer, and decided to speak up.
The effect of U.S. foreign policy on the lives of her friends from the Middle East also motivated her:
I live in a global village in Roanoke while in school [at Hollins University], and there are many women there from the Middle East including Afghanistan and Palestine. They never know whether their families will be alive the next day because of U.S. drones as well as U.S. funding of Israeli war crimes.
It’s very difficult for them to go to school here when they have so much hardship back at home because of our nation’s foreign policy, especially when they can not speak up out of fear of being labeled a terrorist.
Roddy was charged with unlawful conduct and interrupting Congress.
In response to Roddy’s outburst, Senator John Kerry retained his composure and recalled his activism following his military service in Vietnam:
When I first came to Washington and testified, I obviously was testifying as part of the group of people who came here to have their voices heard. And that is, above all, what this place is about. So I respect, I think, the woman who was voicing her concerns about that part of the world, and maybe one of you have traveled there. Some of you were there recently. Senator McCain, you were just there, you were in a refugee camp, and I know you heard this kind of thing. People measure what we do.
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- CODEPINK’s Lachelle Roddy Evokes 1971 John Kerry while Protesting 2013 John Kerry (morallowground.com)