Peace Prize Winner Chelsea Manning Doesn't Consider Herself a Pacifist
Chelsea Manning might have received the 2013 Sean MacBride Peace Award, but that doesn't mean she considers herself a pacifist.
The former Army intelligence specialist was sentenced to 35 years in military prison this summer for leaking thousands of classified government documents and diplomatic cables relating to the the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the website WikiLeaks in 2010. For her actions, Manning was awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Award last month, a project of the International Peace Bureau that aims to recognize individuals or organizations who have done outstanding work for peace, disarmament, and human rights, according to the bureau's website. Ann Wright, a retired U.S. Army colonel and outspoken Manning supporter, accepted the award on her behalf.
In a two-page letter published in the U.K.'s Guardian Wednesday, Manning writes that "it's not terribly clear to me that my actions were were explicitly done for 'peace.'"
"I don't consider myself a 'pacifist,' 'anti-war,' or (especially) a 'conscientious objector,'" wrote Manning. "I'm a 'transparency advocate.' I feel that the public cannot decide what actions and policies are or are not justified if they don't even know the most rudimentary details about them and their effects."
Manning's letter goes on to say that she did not know she'd received the award, nor was she even aware of its existence. But Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, wrote on his blog that after seeing Manning's letter, he reminded her that the two had spoken about the award on three separate occasions.
"After being reminded of these conversations, Chelsea indicated that she did, in fact, remember the award and our discussions about it," wrote Coombs. "She told me that she got confused when she recently received mail about the award, and assumed that people were writing to her about a new award. Chelsea told me that she has been feeling isolated and out of touch with the outside world during the indoctrination period at the United States Disciplinary Barracks, which is what led to her confusion over this issue."
Manning's letter to the Guardian closed by thanking her supporters, especially those who have "avoided misgendering me and switched to using my new name and feminine pronouns" since she came out as a transgender woman the day after her court-martial ended in August. In a statement issued at the time through her lawyer, Manning specifically requested that media outlets and individuals use her preferred name and female pronouns when reporting on her story.
But that hasn't stopped Fox News from continuing to misgender Manning, even while acknowledging that she identifies as a woman. Reporting on Manning's letter in the Guardian, a Fox News article Thursday used Manning's given male name, employing male pronouns to refer to her — despite a paragraph in its article that admits "the day after sentencing, Manning announced that he wished to live as a woman. Though the statement's letterhead gives his name as Bradley E. Manning, the statement is signed with Manning's preferred name, Chelsea." Of course, blatantly disrespecting someone's transgender identity is nothing new for Fox News, as Advocate managing editor Michelle Garcia reports in this timely op-ed.