Thirty-two years ago today, I was very pregnant with my first child. In those days, of course, we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl and the pre-natal care usually consisted of a few blood tests and getting to hear the baby’s heart at every appointment.
With the June 5th deadline looming, on Sunday May 28th, my husband and I, went to an air show in Long Beach, Ca where we decided on the names: it would be Julie Anne for a baby girl or Casey Austin for a baby boy.
Well, lo and behold, the very next morning, I went into labor, one week early and on May 29th, our healthy, 8lb 2oz baby boy, Casey Austin, was born. We were thrilled and Casey, the perfect baby, was the apple of our eyes. Very quickly, boom, boom, boom, three more came: Carly Anne, Andrew Patrick and the baby, Jane Elizabeth.
As for mothers all over the world, my family was my life. As parents, we made our share of mistakes, but everything we did from May 29th, 1979 and forward was for and about our family.
One of the hardest things to do as a mother is to let your children grow up and make their own mistakes. Human beings usually don’t learn from the errors of others, but have to make their own. On Casey’s 21st birthday, he made a huge mistake: he joined Uncle Sam’s Army and 55 days before his 25thbirthday, he was killed in Iraq in one of The Empire’s Wars for Profit, Iraq.
Casey would be 32 on May 29thand it’s so hard to believe that his original birthday was 32 years ago! I can remember it like it was yesterday, but I can also remember his death day so vividly my heart hurts and my throat clenches up just to think about it. Tears are pouring down my cheeks and snot is flowing out of my nose as I write this. Burying a child is far more painful than giving birth to one (even with no pain medication).
For Casey’s birthday this year, I will be fasting in solidarity with Cindy Hickey and Laura Fattal, who are the mothers of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal who were arrested by the Iranian government on July 31stin 2009 while they were hiking on the border of Iraq and Iran.
Cindy and Laura began the fast because they were not being allowed to communicate with their sons—and this past Sunday, the men were allowed to call home—so they believe the fast is having the desired effect. Cindy and Laura have vowed to continue the fast until their sons are released. As one can imagine, Cindy and Laura are knots of worry and longing for their sons every day! It’s time to bring them home, they have been imprisoned for almost two years, now. Enough is enough!
Fasting for one day isn’t such a big commitment, and, for me, it is symbolic of not only the release of Shane and Josh, but also for political prisoners all over the world: Pvt. Bradley Manning, attorney Lynne Stewart, Mumia, Leonard Pelletier and all those whom the US detains and tortures every day in our own prisons: foreign and domestic.
In honor of Casey, whom I represent, will you also fast with me on May 29th for Shane, Josh and all political prisoners?
If you decide to fast with me on May 29th, please send me an email and a message of support for Shane and Josh (and their mums: Cindy and Laura) so I can post your message on my blog.
or join the fast on Facebook
Happy Birthday, Casey—what you did was “in the name of love,” and I carry on my work loving and missing you everyday and “in the name of love” for victims of violence and oppression everywhere.
Go to www.freethehikers.org