It was no surprise to me to receive the IRS Audit regarding my 2006 expenses. I had journeyed three times to Israel Palestine in pursuit of the truth and with hope that when Americans knew it, they would stand up for justice which is the only way to peace and security for anyone.
I had the ways and means to travel on my own dime because my husband sold some property and although I am most content at home, I was compelled, impelled and propelled by a force greater than myself to leave my sanctuary and go, bear witness and report from occupied Palestine.
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What follows is my letter to the IRS and some thoughts from Dorothy Day which inspired it.
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October 7, 2008
Dear Ms. Bavaro:
I became a citizen journalist in 2005 after my first of five trips to Israel Palestine. A citizen journalist is an unpaid public servant.
In 2006 I traveled three more times to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to research and report in the best interests of we the people of America. I wrote my experiences every night in my room and the IRS can read all about it on my website:
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December 21, 2005-January 6, 2006,
March 19-30, 2006
October 30-November 15, 2006
Some of my best work was in March when I video interviewed Mordechai Vanunu regarding democracy and equal human rights for all people. The IRS can also hear Vanunu speak up for the indigenous Palestinian Christians whose Exodus has rendered their numbers from 20% of the total population in 1947 to 1.3% today and continues to shrink fast because good Americans do not know many facts.
Today I received a message from my credit card company that the archived statements the IRS requested will arrive in ten days. I hereby request an extension until I can forward them onto you.
With hope the IRS will also be interested in my work.
Most Sincerely,Eileen Fleming, Citizen Journalist and Founder WAWA:
Author "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory"
Producer "30 Minutes With Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu"
When I was a child, my dream was to grow up and become the Sunday comic's character, Brenda Starr, the red headed, ace investigative journalist, for the metropolitan daily, The Flash. Brenda intuitively knew when somebody was not telling the truth and fearlessly traveled the world searching for unusual and usually dangerous stories.
It was during my first trip to Israel Palestine in June 2005 that my childish dream matured and I desired to follow in the footsteps of Dorothy Day, who agitated church, state and media in her time through her publication, The Catholic Worker, which persists today.
When Dorothy Day was a child she dreamed of writing "such books that thousands upon thousands of readers would be convinced of the injustice of things as they were."
She never married, had one daughter and lived a full 83 years that culminated in 1980. The penny a paper she founded –and still all volunteer- The Catholic Worker continues to give voice for the poor and oppressed and is grounded in the gospel that Jesus actually preached, which is that to follow him required one to love and not fear ones enemies and to always care and share with the least of all; for all are Jesus.
Day lived a full youth amongst anarchists, bohemians, socialists and communists. She worked as a journalist and suffered through at least two unhappy love affairs. The days of her life are documented in an extensive FBI file and she herself left a paper trail that testifies that what she wrote, she believed, she did and she lived.
As an unwed mother she shocked her progressive friends when she entered the Roman Catholic Church, and from the inside, she began to challenge it. She called herself a journalist, but she was also another St. Francis of Assisi, who was the lone Christian voice against The Crusades. Day decried war on the morning after Pearl Harbor and confronted the hypocrisy of Christians who aligned with military might and trusted in weapons of mass destruction and not in doing as Jesus/The Prince of Peace taught and who promised it is the peacemakers who are God's children, not those that bomb, torture or occupy others.
In the pages of the all volunteer The Catholic Worker, Dorothy Day advocated nonpayment of federal income tax as a protest against war and nuclear weapons. She stood her ground against Big Brother and corporate interests girded by her love for the nonviolent Christ and under conviction that if the gospel that Jesus actually preached was practiced, it would transform the world.
In the 1950's an IRS employee asked Day to estimate her personal income tax for the previous ten years. She quipped, "You estimate my income for the past ten years, and you estimate what I owe. And how about, I won't pay that?"
Not until 1972 did the IRS bring another suit against Day's newspaper and also issued a threat to put it out of business. Dorothy wrote.
"One of the most costly protests against war, in terms of long-enduring personal sacrifice, is to refuse to pay federal income taxes which go for war…Wars will cease when we refuse to pay for them…Our lives are open books-our work is obvious…Christ commanded His followers to perform what Christians have come to call the works of Mercy: feeding the hungry…visiting prisoners…And how opposite that is to the works of war which starve people by embargoes, lay waste the land, destroy homes, wipe out populations, mutilate and condemn millions more to confinement…Here in the Western Hemisphere, we went for precision bombing [reference to Hiroshima and Nagasaki] we went for obliteration bombing.
The morning after Pearl Harbor Day announced, "There is now all this patriotic indignation about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Japanese expansionism in Asia. Yet not a word about American and European colonialism in this same area. We, the British, the French, and others set up spheres of influence…control national states-against the expressed will of these states-and represent imperialism…We dictate to [all] …to where they can expand economically and politically, and we declare what policy they must observe. From our nationalistic and imperialistic point of view, we have every right to concentrate American military forces [Everywhere we chose]…But I waste rhetoric on international politics-the breeding grounds of war over the centuries. The balance of power and other empty slogans inspired by a false and flamboyant nationalism have bred conflict throughout 'civilized' history.
"We are on the side of revolution…Jesus said that the worst enemies were those of our own households, and we are all apart of this country, citizens of the United States and we all share in its guilt…We disagree with all political parties dedicated to maintaining the status quo. We don’t think the present system is worth maintaining…something else is necessary, some other vision of society must be held up and worked toward…We must reach our brother…the bridge is love and compassion-the suffering together which goes with love."
My letter to the IRS may only be read by a bureaucrat without a sense of curiosity, humor or much love. But, I am enough like Dorothy Day, to have enough faith to hope and believe that "all things work for the good for those that love God and are called to his purpose." [Romans 8:28]
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