Letters to Stephen Funk

Dear Stephen,

After learning about your courageous act of resistance in refusing to take part in this fraudulent and unjust war in Iraq, I felt compelled to write to you to thank you, and let you know what a truly heroic and inspirational thing you have done. 

As an active member of the international Global Women's Strike, which dares to request that the military budget be used to " Invest in Caring Not Killing", I have taken part in anti-war rallies, before and during the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, and will continue to work towards a peaceful and caring world and against the killing priorities of current U.S. policy.  I applaud your bravery and implore you to view your incarceration as a badge of courage.  Wear it proudly, in the tradition of those brave and famous peacemakers who proceeded you: Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.  

To follow one's conscience and maintain one's integrity, as you have done in spite of the consequences to your freedom, is exemplarity and a model to us all. Stay strong; and take heart that support for this war is waning, as the deceptions that were put forward as justification for it are revealed to be mere smokescreens for imperial aims. The public and war weary soldiers are beginning to question the motives that have led us into this quagmire occupation of Iraq. Your act may help others to see the truth and find their courage also. Thank you for reminding us of our power to resist.

Sincerely, Pamela J. Hall,
Los Angeles, US

Dear Stephen,

            I clearly remember the day I learned about the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th.  I was in a French class, in college and it was my teacher who announced to all the class that two planes had crashed in the WTC.  My immediate reaction was to laugh, knowing for how long the United States had slaughtered innocent civilians, bombed pharmaceutical factories and warehouses, sold weapons to terrorist organizations and governments and I had waited for a moment like this since a couple of years already.  It had to happen at one time, you cannot always be the winner!  It’s only after I saw the attacks on TV that I realised how frightful it was and all of a sudden I realised that I could be called to join the army if it ever turned out to become the Third World War.  The Canadian government forced everybody who could hold a weapon to join the army in the First and Second World War and, at that time, it would not have been surprising if they did the same for the war to come.  I started thinking about what I would do if I had to face this and my answer was clear: I would flee in the woods where the police would not try to find me.

What could have been the Third World War became a hidden war against ‘terror’ but with the same consequences: people leaving their homes, being forced to kill other human beings for a government that lies to them continuously.  Unfortunately the ones who decide to listen to their heart instead of listening to their generals are being pushed aside, are being brought to court, are being sentenced six months in jail or even more…  We live in sad times where the freedom of speech is being respected far less often and where George W. Bush says the USA are a land of freedom in every speech.  Where can we see that freedom?  Can we see it in the medias?  Can we see it in our schools?  Can we see it in our streets?  There is still one place where we can see it and it’s on your lips.  You speak loudly what you think, regardless of the consequences because you still believe in that liberty that was given to you in your constitution.  You speak loudly to remind the whole world that you should not be forced to pull the trigger, that the woman, the child, the man in front of you is no longer a dummy, that he is not your enemy and that he lives just like you…  Your fight against the American justice system is not only a fight for freedom; it’s also an international fight to stop all of the war machines in this world, a fight to let people decide if they should kill other human beings or not.

Stephen I support you in all your future actions, may you find peace and liberty in the darkest places.  I’m leaving you on a translation of a song from a French Canadian band that I like a lot:


Artist: The Prancing Cowboys
Title: The Holy Peace

The world is up side-down
The politicians are going wild
Chaos is everywhere
It’s all we hear on the news
It’s so sad to notice
There’s been no evolution
Always ready to kill each other
Like cavemen
But here in Quebec
There has been no war for centuries
We don’t like being killed
It’s not that complicated
Maybe we have many flaw
But we’re not madmen
We don’t like tanks
Neither do we like boot sounds
Come on resist my friends
To the stupidity of the military
In our Asterix village
In the north of America

Through the years
We’ve always been stuck
In military conflicts
That never concerned us
Back in the days it’s our grand-fathers
That  went through the conscription
And that crossed the sea
To die uselessly
But I’m telling you that today
They won’t make me a murderer
Just to be said patriotic
I’d rather become a deserter
I’ll never hold a machine-gun
And I’ll never do ‘push-ups’ in the mud
In the basements of a barrack
Of the Canadian Armed Forces
Come on resist my friends
To the stupidity of the military
In our Asterix village
In the north of America

I come from a calm country
That never saw any missiles
Here when we used to fight
It was with muskets
If they want to play G.I.Joe
With living beings
Well I’ll let the idiots do so
And I raise my white flag
I don’t care about the armada
And the madness of the the politicians
The holy war is for stupid
What I want is to be peaceful
Come on resist my friends
To the stupidity of the military
By signing ‘a dove’
Far from the sound of bombs
And in the north of America
In our Asterix village
It’ll be written in French:
‘Just leave us alone’
Artiste : Les Cowboys Fringants
Titre : La sainte paix

Le monde est sens dessus-dessous
Les chefs d’état s’énervent le poil
La marde est pognée partout
Ca parle rien qu’de ça aux nouvelles
C’est donc triste de constater
Que y’a pas eu d’évolution
Qu’on soit prêts à s’entretuer
Comme des hommes de cro-magnons
Mais chez nous au Québec
Y’a pas de guerre depuis des siècles
On aime pas ça se faire tuer
M’essemble que c’est pas compliqué
On a peut-être bien des défauts
Mais on n’est pas des « crack-potes »
On n’aime pas les chars d’assault
Pas plus que le bruit des bottes
Allons résistons mes frères
À la connerie des militaires
Dans notre village d’Astérix
Au nord de l’Amérique

À travers les années
On a toujours été pogner
Dans des conflits militaires
Qui ne nous concernaient guère
À l’époque c’est nos grands-pères
Qui ont subit la conscription
Et qui ont traversé la mer
Pour servir de chair à canon
Mais moi j’te dis qu’aujourd’hui
Ils ne feront pas de moi un tueur
Pour le compte d’une patrie
J’aime mieux devenir déserteur
J’tiendrai jamais une mitraillette
Pis je ferai jamais de « push-ups » dans bouette
Dans le fond d’une caserne
Des forces armées canadiennes
Allons résistons mes frères
À la connerie des militaires
Dans notre village d’Astérix
Au nord de l’Amérique

J’viens d’un pays tranquille
Qui n’a jamais vu de missiles
Ici du temps qu’on se battait
C’était à coup de mousquet
S’ils veulent jouer au G.I.Joe
Avec des bonhommes vivants
Bin moi j’laisse faire les idiots
Et puis je sors mon drapeau blanc
Rien à foutre de l’armada
Et de la folie des chefs d’états
La guerre sainte s’pour les épais
Moi c’que je veux c’est la sainte paix
Allons résistons mes frères
À la connerie des militaires
En chantant « une colombe »
Loin du sifflement des bombes
Et au nord de l’Amérique
Dans notre village d’Astérix
Ça sera marqué en français :
« Icitte sacrez nous donc la paix »

Dear Stephen,

I read about your case in an email which came into the office where I work, the International Secretariat of Amnesty International. Part of my job is to sort thru the central incoming email box and forward messages to the various teams in the building, AI sections abroad, etc.

I immediately sent off a letter to the USMC authorities protesting at your treatment. As a pacifist and a gay man, I fully identify with your position, although at 58 I am long past the age when I would be eligible for military service. I missed the draft here by a few years – it was abolished in UK before I reached 16. Had I been drafted I would have been a conscientious objector because I don’t believe war ever solves anything, just creates different problems.

The Iraq War was totally unjustified – everyone knew there were no WMD – U.S. satellite and spy plane photos could have pinpointed where any were located, or followed them if they were moved to a different site. This is why Colin Powell’s photos of supposed WMD being loaded on to trucks before the War was so totally unconvincing – if they could photograph them been loaded up, why couldn’t they photograph where the trucks went to and where they were unloaded? Do they think we are all stupid or something?

Anway, I greatly admire your courage, and think you should be awarded a medal. I only wish more U.S. and British soldiers had refused to fight in this illegal war. According to the Nuremburg judgments, you had a duty to refuse to obey military orders in this illegal operation. One day history will recognize this fact and you’ll be regarded universally as a hero.

Your description of the training procedures is quite horrific. I can imagine how you as a sensitive gay man must have felt with some masochistic heterosexual idiot yelling: ‘Kill Kill Kill!’ Of course my theory is that guys like this who love killing are really repressed homosexuals, who get a perverse sexual thrill out of violence. Although I’m against violence and killing, it would serve these monsters right if some of the military trainees took a tip from Lenin and turned their guns on their own officers who are ordering them to kill other boys. Wars will only cease when guys like you refuse to fight. It is obscene that old men send young ones to fight each other to the death, and older generations teach young ones to kill instead of to love and respect each other. Homosexuality is still a crime in many societies, but killing others is still regarded as heroic, even serving God. What a load of old hypocritical crap!

If you want to write to me, I’d be pleased to correspond with you. A little about myself – I was in a gay relationship for 21 years, but sadly he died of an AIDS related illness 12 years ago this month. I tested HIV negative two years after he died, but have since somehow become positive despite practising safer sex. I am doing well on combination therapy.

I work for Amnesty International part time, and have been in the peace movement for over 40 years now. I once worked full-time for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and am still a member.

I am a Socialist, and I have visited USA many times. I follow the musical heritage of your Southern States – 1950s type rock’n’roll, rockabilly, traditional Country Music, Blues, etc. Visited the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival twice in the 1990s. My favorite singer is Jerry Lee Lewis, last of the famous Million Dollar Quartet (Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis) who is still going strong at 68 this month, and has just recorded a new CD. My friend, Keith Woods, edits a roots music magazine, Tales From The Woods, which had an editorial against the Iraq War. He also published last month your appeal, and details of your case.

Would be glad to hear from you. I can understand you were confused when you joined up. Also, not to put too fine a point on it, that USMC uniform is bloody attractive to gay men. That is one of the contradictions I live with all the time – I find military uniforms and the thought of taking orders from someone in authority very sexually stimulating, yet intellectually I rebel against anything like that. Suffice to say that military uniforms and the like are best kept to S&M role play and fantasy situations.

However, I am not an anarchist, and have a Web Site where I publish my often very controversial ideas. Let me know if you want the address of this site. I believe there should be an international security force under the UN instead of national armies. The security force would need to be armed, but not with indiscriminatory weapons. It would be more like an international police force, bringing apprehended dictators and war criminals before the International Criminal Court. I am accused of being an idealist, a thing I would readily admit to. I am basically a very deep thinker – I can point out possible solutions to world problems, but I can’t make people take my advice. In my view there’ll never be world peace whilst every nation clings on to national sovereignty. This is why I am in favor of a United States of Europe and some sort of world federation under the UN. As I say, all idealist stuff, but that’s what I believe in as an internationalist.

Would be nice to hear from you. There are lots of people outside who fully support you.

Love and peace,

Tony Papard

Dear Friend in Solidarity:

Hello!  My name is Andrew Warren and I am a human rights campaigner working with a British organization called Payday, which supports the Global Women’s Strike.

I have been following your case with great interest because I understand that you were subjected to bullying by the army because of you views on what the army is actually doing in places such as Iraq, which finally landed you in jail, which is disgraceful.

Very sadly, to try and con new recruits into joining up, the Armed Forces try to paint for us, a very exciting picture of life and adventure in the (for example here) the Army with all of the hype and flash publicity and then a very persuasive interview; it is only when you are in; that you then find the awful and horrifying truth. The politicians plan unjust wars but being too smart to fight them themselves, they con innocent unsuspecting human beings to risk their lives in an act of raving lunacy.

It is not generally known here, that the United States has in fact, got a secret twenty year plan for world political and economic domination which is the real reason for the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq; all this about so called ‘weapons of mass distruction’ is simply a load of garbage.

It must have come as a terrible shock to the ordinary people of Argentina in Latin America when with the seemingly full consent of the President of Argentina (as reported in the Latin American press), the United States put together plans for vast military exercises code named Aguila-III in the provinces of Mendoza and San Luis; this is part of a lunatic plan to totally militarise Latin America itself.  It is not surprising to say here, that the people in Latin America are absolutely furious about this including what is happening in Colombia.

It is for these reasons mentioned above, along with many other justified reasons that we will say here, that we fully agree with you in questioning your role in the Army including what the Army is asking you to do and this is why they have put you in jail.  Lasting world peace has never been obtained by threatening other nations with the gun and the bomb and it never will be.

Obviously, we are very dismayed that you are in fact in jail but we hope that everything is OK and that you are being well treated but please let us know if you are not, as maybe we may be able to do something about it.

Keep up the good work and continue with the fight because we are with you.

Yours in solidarity,

Andrew Warren.

International Human Rights Campaigner working with Payday UK

   refusing to kill