20 March 2007

bloggin' for peace tuesday


Think back four years ago, to when you first heard that the Iraq War had started.

Were you for or against the war at the time?

If you were for it, what has changed your mind over the last four years?

If you were against it, why were you against it?

i was working that night, march 20th of 2003. i'll never forget it. i looked up at the t.v. behind the bar and watched my government begin to "shock and awe" the people of iraq. i remember that i began crying immediately, for many reasons. i still do, to be honest. i remember feeling much like i did the morning of september 11th. i imagined what it must be like, to be down there, after reading about how many families were stocking up on drugs to take and give to their children to calm them when the bombing started. in that moment, there were no borders. we were all just people, drug into the battles of others that i've never even met. i was them, they were me. the newspaper people came in, they were looking for responses from people in the area as the bombing campaign began. i looked around the bar - it was surreal. many were still drinking, laughing, talking, as if nothing were happening. as if people weren't going to die a horribly painful death. i gave my cents to the reporters through my haze, which ended up being printed the next day. the guy they asked after me, a regular for the past 6 years, said he didn't care - so long as he could still "go to the gas station and get gas, go to the grocery store and get food, go to the gap and buy new clothes." my heart sank. i felt as if i'd been socked in the stomach. the tears came back with a vengance - and they didn't stop until i fell asleep that night.

i felt like a failure. i hoped with everything in me that the rest of the world knew that there were many of us that didn't want any of it to go down this way. i kept thinking, "i'm so sorry" over and over and over.

i had tried so hard in the months prior to raise awareness. i had gone to countless protests and made hundreds of copies of materials that i'd compiled and handed them out to anyone willing to take a look. i organized film showings at the bookstore. i rallied to make phone calls and write letters. i grew hoarse from speaking of such people as scott ritter, who knew there wasn't anything in iraq to be concerned about - who traveled endlessly trying to debunk bush's claims. i tried to encourage people to read the pnac's position paper, rebuilding america's defenses in the hopes that they would see the iraq invasion had been on the minds of many in the administration for over 10 years. i was invited to read a poem i'd written along with a few other poets for an npr segment about local artist's responses to the impending "war." if only enough people speak up, if only... i never gave up hope. i tried everything that i could think of.

and here were are 4 years later. in a war with no end. with blood on all of our hands that no amount of washing will ever erase.

i was also against the invasion of afghanistan, in all honesty. i'm a pacifist. i saw no point in taking aggressions out on a country of people that had little or nothing to do with 9/11. those who carried out the attacks died that day. and soon after, when talk turned to iraq, i was horrified. how dare they? then came the myriad of accusations. iraq has this! they are going to do that! blah! blah! blah! lies, lies and more lies. all i knew for sure is that war kills and destroys - that people like me, just trying to live and survive, were going to be killed brutally - on all sides of the debate. and as ani d. says, "those who call the shots are never in the line of fire."

i didn't believe the claims that iraq would be a "cakewalk" - not for one second. and i wasn't buying the idea that whatever was going to happen was even really a "war." maybe an occupation and invasion, but never a war. basically, i believed not a word coming from the mouths of those calling the above mentioned shots. but mostly? i remember the overwhelming feeling that we should, as a people, be evolved past the point of using violence to settle an international dispute. there is always another way. always. and i knew that the use of violence, whether "in return" (afghanistan) or enacted based in fiction (iraq), would only serve to validate and fuel those who "hate america" even more - those who have historically been victim to the military/economic actions of america.

i believe in words, not weapons. i believe in peace, not war.


p/s - there are 217 of us bloggers thus far - please join us!!!! and spread the word!

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