The 90s

Mission of Peace. Andrew Jones documents his experience with the Gulf Peace Team, a group of activists assembled from fourteen different countries that set out to prevent war between forces in Iraq.

00:00Copy video clip URL Start Tape

01:19Copy video clip URL Start video. Image of woman in bikini walking along Jamaican beach. Videographer Andrew Jones comments, “I started my trip to the Middle East in January, in Jamaica of all places. I had gone there to interview two Jamaican rappers”

1:35Copy video clip URL Two Jamaican rappers say they love to reggae and begin to sing.

01:59Copy video clip URL B-roll of a group of the Gulf Peace Team in a Boston apartment preparing for a protest in Iraq. Jones voice-over, “I came back to Boston and noticed an article in the local newspaper about a group of people who were looking for volunteers from around the world to place themselves between the opposing forces in the Persian Gulf.” Jones explains their goal is to try and prevent war. Over the phone, a female team member notes that they are doing this to help save lives.

2:34Copy video clip URL Jones notes that he joined the team in Cambridge Massachusetts two days before they were supposed to leave for the Middle East. Members of the Gulf Peace Team discuss their various reasons for joining the cause. One woman notes that she is in the process of giving birth to peace and it’s painful. Tony Lawrence declares that he is here for three people: John Brown, Rosa Parks, and his son. He adds that collective action can change the world. Dorothy declares her support to the group. Another man adds the the team is not concerned with which side is right or wrong, what matters is saving the victims and the victim in this conflict is the world.

4:28Copy video clip URL Jones voice-over, “we left Boston on January 12, 1991; the same day congress gave the Bush administration permission to go to war.” B-roll in Amman of various Gulf Peace teams from around the world.

4:55Copy video clip URL B-roll of the Gulf Peace Team meeting to discuss the possibility of being caught in the middle of military conflict. “If the war starts, the best thing to do is stay in place and don’t start moving around.” On the subject of how many troops and tanks the team could encounter, the discussion leader notes that Iraqi troops will be about ten miles behind their camp, but they don’t know how many are on the American side.

7:15Copy video clip URL  Various B-roll of the camp. Jones voice-over, “I arrived in the peace camp the morning of January 15, 1991.” He adds that no one thought the war would start.

8:00Copy video clip URL Interview with a catholic priest who says he was motivated by Dan Barrigan’s words that people who want peace are not willing to pay the same price as people who want war.

8:20Copy video clip URL Members of the Gulf Peace Team discuss their motivations and objectives: to avert war by putting themselves between the two armies. Another members tells of how a peace group put itself between two waring Algerian groups years ago and successfully averted civil war. A woman says she felt compelled to join the Peace Team for the sake of Peace. A group leader addresses the team and tells them if war does break out no one  know what he or she will do. Another individual says he’s not worried what happens to himself, he’s worried about what will happen to the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who might be caught up in the war. Continued b-roll of camp activity, building shelters. Someone plays a percussion instrument and sings.

11:32Copy video clip URL B-roll of planes high above as Jones says: “the morning after the bombing started, things were quiet in the camp. Most people stayed up all night listening to plains go over; others were listening to the news. None of us knew what would happen now that war was real.”

11:46Copy video clip URL Activists give their reactions to the United States bombing of Iraq the morning after the bombings. One man notes the awakening of the reality of being in between two warring armies. A woman says that Saddam has acknowledged the presence of the American and British citizens in the Peace Camp and that he promises nothing will happen to them. “They wanted us to know so that we wouldn’t worry.”

12:42Copy video clip URL B-roll of a group meeting. Jones voice-over: “some of us attended meetings, planning the affairs of the camp, debating the issue of evacuation, discussing food and water supplies.” He adds others spent time learning Arabic, fixing bicycles, working in the kitchen, painting peace signs. B-roll of Iraqi soldiers fraternizing in the Peace Camp. Jones notes they weren’t sure if the soldiers would do harm to them.

13:27Copy video clip URL Jones records himself saying he thought of hiding in a water tank, but didn’t want to leave the others. “I didn’t come here to die, I came here to live.”

14:03Copy video clip URL Various playful sound bites from team members. One says he lost his horse in Australia trying to find Texas. Another man jokingly says he came here to have a look, as though hunting for real estate. They saw the peace camp and thought it was a prison.

15:04Copy video clip URL B-roll of camp activity: hair cuts, jogging, cooking. Jones voice-over, “eventually we settled into our routines in this peace camp in the dessert and most of us decided it was just enough to be there. By now the planes flying overhead were a common occurrence.

15:22Copy video clip URL Japanese citizen and Gulf Peace Team member renounces the cost of war. Various b-roll of chilly night activity, members around a cooking fire. Jones describes the days as sunny and dry.

17:00Copy video clip URL B-roll of a team member announcing to a group that a commanding officer of nearby forces now has authority to evacuate the peace team because the Army will be retaliating from the peace camp’s location.

17:41Copy video clip URL B-roll of Jones celebrating his 39th birthday. He notes on this day two buses arrived to take them away. B-roll of chaos. One man notes that if they stay they put themselves in position of being retaliated against by Iraqi forces.

18:26Copy video clip URL Some members of the Gulf Peace Team protest being removed from their peace camp. A man notes they still have a role to play, but that they may have no alternative but to return to Baghdad. B-roll of those who defiantly plan to stay. But Jones laments he and others are leaving.

19:18Copy video clip URL Jones puts his arms around fellow Gulf Peace Team members as he summarizes his time in the peace camp. Jones, “Most likely future generations will have to pay the cost for our failures but they will also learn from our successes. We came here in peace we leave in peace on this day, January 27, 1991.”

20:19Copy video clip URL B-roll of planes high above.

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