All posts by Mette Eliseussen

Colorado Coalition

The ban bus hit the road today, October 30 after a short visit to the repair shop for a tire change. The Bus decided to take the scenic route, traveling along narrow mountain passes for a view of the snow covered Rocky Mountains. Our trip was abruptly haulted when we came upon a jacknifed truck hanging onto the edge of a mountain, completely blocking the road. We managed to turn around and quickly get back on track to arrive in Denver, Colorado for a presentation at Regis University. Several students and many from the community turned out for the slide show and presentations given by the campaigners. Many expressed interest in starting a Colorado Coalition to Ban Landmines.
Special thanks to Andy Hanscom, Peace Action; Byron Plumley and Sen Nguyen, AFSC; Mary Cook and Kathleen Schaffer of Regis university; Dan Mondragon, Denver Catholic Diocese; Nancy Milligan and UNA-USA Colorado; Jose Marichal, Bob Kinsey and Tom Hobin.
Tomorrow we continue our stay in Colorado, traveling to Boulder for a rally outside of the Boulder Town Hall and a presentation at University of Colorado, Boulder. For more information, contact Andy Hanscom, Colorado Peace Action 303-541-9164.

The Ban bus in the Rocky Mountains

After fine tuning some technical communications problems in Salt Lake City, Utah, the ban bus headed towards the Rocky Mountains today, October 29. Campaigners took to the roads of Utah and Colorado, spreading the message of the need for a ban and a US presence in Ottawa this December by talking to people in parking lots, restaurants, and spectacles of natural beauty. The bus covered over 300 miles today, stopping only for fuel and to pass the word on about the need for a ban. The most prevalent comment we found in talking to people was surprise that the US was not on board this treaty and not ready to ban this weapon domestically.

Grand Junction, Colorado
The evening found campaigners in Grand Junction, Colorado where we spoke with an intimate group of 20 people at the First Congregational Church, giving an inspiring presentation about the horrors of this indiscriminate weapon. John Rodsted began with graphic photos of mine affected countries and mine survivors. Michael Hands provided a technical presentation on the problem of mines and how to spot the danger of a mined area. Mette Sofie Eliseussen spoke about teaching landmine awareness to children in Afghanistan. Jill Greenberg rounded out the program with the US policy discussion, noting that the Colorado delegation in Congress is only half on board. much work needs to be done in this state! Petter Quande and Dalma Foldes set up an incredible exhibition of black and white photos, landmine awareness posters and sold t-shirts and Cambodian vests.

Members of the Catholic Church greeted us here, with the incredible idea of using the Afghan postcard exhibition, Afghan Children’s Impression of Life In A Minefield (provided by Mette and Save the Children,USA), for a traveling exhibit across all of America’s Catholic Churches. Other Grand Junctioners suggested to use the children’s drawings as part of a program within Sunday Schools to raise awareness of the landmine problem.

Special thanks to the First Congregational Church members and Reverend Rick Riddoch who kindly provided us with a forum to speak, a nice dinner, and comfortable beds to sleep in!
The ban bus heads to the mile high city tomorrow for a day and a half. For more information, contact Andy Hanscom, 303-541-9164.

Ban bus in Salt Lake City

Ban Bus 28–29/10/1997

The Ban Bus has not seen as busy a day as today October 28 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The day began early as campaigners broke down into pairs and traveled to seven schools, Horizonte School, St. Joseph’s High School, Weber State College, Rowland Hall St. Marks, Judge Memorial High School, Highland High School, Jewish Community Center Elementary School. Events continued with presentations to Women’s Concerned/Utahns United as well as several Rotary Clubs in Salt Lake City and Ogden. T-shirt sales and donations from these events provided the Ban Bus with over $500.
Mary Wareham of the US Campaign and Petter Quande of NPA were guests on the Doug Wright Radio Show on KSL. Other media included a meeting with The Salt Lake Tribune and several local television stations appearing at the Horizonte School event. John Rodsted and Jill Greenberg met with the Mormon Church ‘s Bill Evans, who was interested in learning more about the ban. In the evening, the campaigners met with the United Nations Association of Utah and gave an extensive presentation to a room of over 60 Utah ban supporters.

Special thanks go to Deb Sawyer, who organized an extremely busy and successful day here in Utah. Also, thanks to Boyer and Pat Jarvis, Bob and Dixie Huefner, and Andy Schoenberg for accommodation and thanks to Dee and John Rowland and Oren Nelson.

The ban bus leaves early tomorrow headed for Grand Junction, Colorado. Mary Wareham has headed back to Washington DC and Jill Greenberg will be on the ban bus until November 11.

Ban Bus Visit to Chico

Soroptimists sponsor the Ban Bus Visit to Chico, California

In a last minute deviation from their itinerary, the Ban Bus visited Chico, CA on Saturday where a number of events received some great local television and print coverage. The Ban Bus set up a demining and mine awareness display at Citrus Elementary School where the community of Chico came together to celebrate their activities in a day called: Making A Difference.

The connection to the landmines campaign was explained by Sandi Williams, President-elect of Soroptimist International of Chico (California). “Last year, we began a local campaign to build awareness of the landmine situation by launching a project called ‘Steps Without Fear’. We asked school children to trace their footsteps and write messages of hope to the children of Angola, and we asked the adults of our community to contribute a dollar. We told them that ‘a step and a dollar’ could help bring ‘Steps Without Fear’.”

In two short weeks, over 1200 footsteps were made and $1041.00 raised for ‘Steps Without Fear’. These were presented to Soroptimist International president, Patricia Daniels, on Human Rights Day 1996 and resulted in the Soroptimist International of the Americas federation adding a line item to their accounting system to allow the organization to continue taking in funds to help eradicate landmines. During the 2 year period, from July 1995 through June 1997, Soroptimist International donated $500,000 to the Mines Advisory Group in Cumbria, England to be used to assist with eradication. That was MAG’s largest donation from a non-governmental organization.

The Ban Bus participants would like to thank the Chico ban supporters for their kind hospitality including Bob Mulholland, Pat Leahy, Sandi Willliams, and Carol and Jim Braziel.

The Ban Bus stops next in Salt Lake City, UT on Monday 27th. Contact: Deborah Sawyer, tel. 801-364-2971

Ban Bus Celebrates United Nations Day

United Nations Day in Davis, California

After an initial panic on over-packing of the Ban Bus, ban campaigners squeezed everything in and set off for Davis, CA today – a town of 55,000 about one hour’s drive east of Berkeley. Approximately 25,000 students attend the University of California in Davis where the Ban Bus stopped at noon today to participate in an outdoors landmine event on the main square organized by the campus’ National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter.

On 22 October, Davis members of the US Campaign to Ban Landmines published a full page open letter to President Clinton in the local paper, The Davis Enterprise, urging him to demonstrate moral leadership by supporting the Ottawa Treaty. It was signed by over 650 local individuals and organizations and will be sent to the President along with additional names received. “We were amazed at how easy and fast we managed to get folks to sign on to this letter and donate funds to place it in the paper,” said Will Lotter, of the Davis Religious Community for Sanctuary. Campaigners also successfully lobbied to get the Davis City Council to sponsor a landmine resolution proclaiming the day: “Ban Landmines Day”.

Tonight, the Ban Bus will participate in an event at the Davis Unitarian Church organized by local groups including the Davis United Nations Association. The keynote speaker is Vince Rios, a decorated U.S. Marine sergeant who lost both legs and one arm to a landmine while serving in Vietnam twenty years ago.

The Ban Bus participants would like to thank the Davis ban supporters for their kind hospitality including Mary Ellen Dolcini of the UNA/Davis and Northern California, Jane and Will Lotter, Richard and Judy Houck, Andrew Anker and Nancy Leroy and Merline Williams.

The Ban Bus stops in Chico, CA tomorrow (Saturday 25th). Contact: Sandi Williams, Soroptimist International, tel. 916-343-4632.

# # #

Messages of support for the Ban Bus have been received from children around the world, from the CyberSchoolBus to the Ban Bus – a selection of their emails follow:

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Here are a selection of messages supporting the Ban Bus, ICBL a USCBL. These were sent in to the Schools Demining Schools project run by the United Nations CyberSchoolBus.

>From the CyberSchoolBus crew, good luck to all of you and see you in New
York.
Abouali Farmanfarmaian, Coordinator

———————————
Dear Bus Crew,

I hope we are not too late to hop on the bus. Please carry our support on this issue. We will be hoping and/or praying that President Clinton will “get on board” by the time you reach Ottawa in December. We look forward to seeing you when you pass through Connecticut. Tell Mary Wareham that we were thrilled to meet her last Saturday at the
AntiLandmine Campaign at Yale University. Be sure to let Jody Williams how proud we are of her.
Bravo.
Safe traveling.

Joan Cole, Advisor
Schweitzer Student Network
East Lyme Middle School
East Lyme, CT 06357
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To the ICBL,
Congratulations on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. I agree with the treaty to ban land mines. Any weapon of war that risks killing innocent civilians with out warning should be severely restricted. Thank you for helping keep the world safe.

Michael Christopher
penn-tex@swbell.net
313 Pinnacle Drive
Cedar Hill, Texas 75104
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To the Ban Bus crew,
Congratulations to the ICBL on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. We hope your journey raises awareness sufficiently to stir the US government and Bill Clinton to positive action, just as Russia and Japan have recently done.
Regards

Stella Louca
(ESL Co-ordinator)
Kew High School
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I am very impressed with the unbelievable effort in the war against land mines. Because of such organizations such as the ICBL, the world is becoming a better place for all of us, especially the future, us the children. So I congratulate the ICBL, and wish them my support.
Yours in support

Jeffrey Eriksen
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On behalf of the Warwick High school Students in Warwick, Queensland, AUSTRALIA, we would like to wish the Banbus the greatest success in bringing the message of world wide mine banning to the people of the U.S.A.
Our congratulations go to the ICBL in winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.

Anna Nolan, Susan Watts and Bob Fraser.
Ross Barrell
Warwick State High School
mailto:rossb@flexi.net.au
phone: +61 76 618332
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CONGRATULATIONS to the ICBL on winning the nobel peace prize. Landmines should be banned! Any endeavour to achieve this is to be congratulated. What a great idea to get support for a total ban treaty by the ban bus trip.

Cherrol McGhee
cmcghee@b022.aone.net.au
Possum Magic Book Rap Co-ordinator
Class Teacher
Hillvigu State School
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Dear Ban Bus,
Congratulations to your efforts to ban land mines. I thank you very much. I am a United States citizen living in North Cyprus. My spouse took a job teaching here, and I also do some part-time teaching.I have been here 2 1/2 years, and have been much concerned with the increasing military tensions concerning Cyprus. I had never heard of land mines here until last month, when a land mine killed a man who followed his dog into the buffer zone area in S. Nicosia. I have a 7 year old girl who loves to run and play, as all children should have the right to do. It is so sad to think of the children who have been maimed by the terrible land mines, or worse yet killed. Please keep up your good work. I read about your project on the Global School Bus email. Let me know if I can help in some way via email.
Sincerely,

Kathleen W. Pagan
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Congrats,
I think you are doing a great job. Not many can say they won a Nobel Peace Prize. I wish that we had signed on to the band. Thank-you for you work and effort.

Bill preye@educ.umass.edu
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We are students from Argentina. A teacher told us about this project about the Landmines.He also told us about the reject of USA. What we want to say is that we are with you and we wish the Ban Bus project will be succesful.
Best Wishes.

San Luis Gonzaga School.
ARGENTINA

The Ban bus starts the tour across USA

Ban Bus Bound for Ottawa Departs from Berkeley, California

Jesse Jackson, america’s ambassador to africa, speaks up for a ban as the ban bus starts on the road to Ottawa….

(Berkeley, CA: 23 October 1997) Today the ban bus to Ottawa departed from Sproul Plaza on the University of California at Berkeley. In front of a crowd of over 1000 supporters, landmines campaigners shared the stage with Reverend Jesse Jackson who was speaking out against California’s controversial Proposition 209 which eliminates the state’s affirmative action laws. Rev. Jackson voiced his support for a total ban on antipersonnel landmines in front of the crowd and assembled media. He accepted an “absolute ban” t-shirt from US Campaign Coordinator Mary Wareham of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF). Ms. Volcano Mine, Dalma Foldes, distributed Ban bus brochures to students in her landmine costume while deminer Michael Hands of Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) demonstrated his trade on the lawn aside the plaza. John Rodsted photographed the scene and Mette Eliseussen of Save the Children USA discussed her work with children in mine contaminated Kabul, Afghanistan. Afterwards, campaigners spoke to university students about the landmine issue for two hours and will have an informal dinner with them tonight.

At the rally ban supporters held placards and signs which read:
“Ban Landmines, Not Affirmative Action”
“Landmines Don’t Discriminate, Proposition 209 Does”
“Landmines – Equal Opportunity Destroyer”
“Rev. Jackson, Take A Stand for Africa’s Landmine Victims – Tell President Clinton to Sign the Ottawa Treaty”
“Rev. Jackson, as America’s Ambassador to Africa, We Urge You to Support a Total Ban on Landmines”

“THANK YOU CALIFORNIA for Supporting Landmine Ban Legislation (HR 2459):
Beccera, Bilbray, Brown, Capps, Dellums, Dixon, Dooley, Eshoo, Farr, Filner, Harman, Lantos, Lofgren, Martinez, Matsui, Miller, Pelosi, Roybal-Allard, Sanchez, Stark, Sherman, Torres, Tauscher, Woolsey, Waters.”

“CALIFORNIA, WHERE ARE YOU? Ban Landmines Now! Berman, Campbell, Millender-McDonald, Riggs, Fazio, Bono, Kim, Lewis, Rogan, Rohrbacher,
Royce.”

Tomorrow (Friday 24th – UN Day) the Ban bus will be in Davis, CA at events organized by Mary Ellen Dolcini, United Nations Association Northern California Chapter, tel. 916-753-3451. Then on Saturday in Chico, CA at events organized by Sandi Williams, Soroptimist International of Chico, CA, tel. 916-343-4632. Then on to Nevada and 20 other states before arriving in Ottawa, Canada on 1 December 1997.

Ban bus drivers Petter Quande and George Wilson collected over $300.00 throughout the day through donations and t-shirt sales. We are grateful to our financial supporters which include: NPA, VVAF, SCF USA, Women’s Division of the United Methodist Church, Save the Children Sweden, Forum Syd, Handicap International and the Landmines Project of the Open Society Institute. We are still, however, short of funds and any donations are warmly welcome – please contact Mary Wareham or Jill Greenberg of the US Campaign to Ban Landmines at 202-483-9222. Send messages of SUPPORT to the Ban bus by emailing banbus@vi.org or calling our mobile tel. 202-288-6504.

Thank you to our helpers in Berkeley: Paul Piatti of VVAF, Tripp Mikich, Eric Moon of AFSC, Alan Senauke of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Laura Keresty of the Presidio Project, Jerry Saunders of Berkely’s Peace & Conflict Studies, Heidi Kuhn of “From Mines to Vines”, Wendy Wank, Joelle, Barbara McDonald, Erica Harold and Peace Action California and the many other supporters! Apologies if we have forgotten anyone!

Ban Bus heads through the buckeye state

(Youngstown, OH: November 15,1997) The ban bus began two days of activities through Ohio in Cleveland, where they attended a luncheon at the Cleveland City Club. Bobby Muller President of Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation was the key note speaker.

Bobby gave an inspiring and passionate speech covering the problems of living in a landmined area to disassembling the administrations landmine policy. A press conference followed the luncheon. Campaigners, as well as Bobby Muller spoke with the media. The event was well covered by local network affiliates ABC, CBS, NBC. The event was well covered in The Cleveland Plain Dealer having a full quarter of a page detailing Bobby’s speech and the global landmine problem. The team then split into groups and spoke at high schools and colleges in the area. The Campaigners trip to Cleveland ended with a presentation at the Quaker Meeting House.

The next day, the ban bus headed to Youngstown, Ohio and the Southern Park Mall. Campaigners set-up a day long exhibit of photos by John Rodsted, Afghan Children’s Postcards from Mette, and displays assembled by Dalma. Everyone was available to answer questions from the general public on a myriad of landmine related issues. Ohioians were reminded to thanks Represenatives Hall, Strickland, Kaptur, Kucinich, Stokes, Brown, Sawyer, Pryce, and LaTourette for co-sponsoring H2459 (Landmine Elimination Act) and ask Senators Glenn and Dewine, Representatives Chabot, Portman, Oxley, Gillmor, Hobson, Boehner, Regula, Traficant, and Ney to get on board the ban. All three network affiliates
covered campaigners at the mall, including, WKBN a CBS affiliate, WYTV an ABC affiliate and WFMJ an NBC affiliate.

In Cleveland, special thanks to Tracy Movaro of Peace Action, Mary Sutphin of the Cleveland Campaign and Denise and Jim Brown for opening their beautiful home to the team and making us feel like part of the family. In Youngstown, thanks to Gloria Jones, The Youngstown Coalition to Ban Landmines, UNA-USA, the Peace Action Council, and anyone else we forgot!

The Ban Bus origin

Like all great tales it starts with “Along time ago, in a land far far away”.

In fact the long time ago was 1997 and the land far far away was Mozambique. The world had descended on Maputo to begin rounds of treaty talks that would ultimately develop into the Landmine Ban Treaty. At this stage of the process it seemed a successful treaty and ban on landmines was along way away and the chance of success was very fragile. There was much work to do and pressure and engagement had to occur with governments on many levels. There had to be strong political lobbying and good strong grass roots movements. The clock was ticking and in under one year we would succeed with a ban or fall to abject failure.

Two of the NGO participants at the Mozambique meeting were Mette Eliseussen from Norway and John Rodsted from Australia. Both had many years of field experience behind them, Mette as a Program Manager for Save the Children working in Afghanistan and John as a photojournalist who had worked the worlds trouble spots for many years. One of Mette’s projects with war traumatised children involved drawing postcards to express their experiences in war. She had over 20,000 cards and she wanted to deliver these to the United States government to push them towards signing the treaty. These were the words and messages from people affected by war who had no voice of their own in the international arena.

Many plans were hatched between Mette and John as to how best to impact on the US government till finally they hit upon the idea of doing an advocacy bus trip across America talking to any people or communities who would listen. This was the birth of The Ban Bus.

Repeated efforts to plan and fund this trip collapsed till two months prior to the treaty signing. A handful of NGO’s gave a few funds to get this bus on the road and in a matter of days Mette and John were in San Francisco joined by Michael Hands and Mary Wareham.

Ahead was the whole of America. The great civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson set us on our way in front of a crowd of thousands of students from the steps of the University of Berkley. The journey had begun.