I believe it would do us all a bit of good (and by all, I mean the entire world) if we were to wake up every morning and take five minutes to think about what’s going on over seas. I’m not just talking about Iraq – you can pick any place in the world where our government, in our name, is murdering and pillaging – but that is the country that I choose. Forget the fact that we are being led to believe that the surge is working when all that is happening is bribery by our military and patience by the militias of Iraq; forget the fact that more than half of the Iraqis did not want us over there in the first place and now (even knowing that things would get worse) want us out; forget the fact that if you ask three USians why there are troops over there, you are likely to get three different answers; look at the human aspect. If we take a conservative view of how many Iraqi people (and I think that’s the key word- people) have died by means that would not have otherwise occurred had the US not sent troops to invade their country, it is approaching one million. I know I have said this before, but one million is a lot of dead people; add to that the families and friends affected by these losses and the number probably triples or quadruples. If we sat with this every day – go online, find a picture of a dead person, and think about him or her – it might start changing the way we think. If we realized that these are living, breathing, human beings who just want a happy, non-suffering life maybe we wouldn’t be able to accept what is going on over there (and don’t get confused into thinking that being against the war but doing nothing to help end it, isn’t accepting it). If – upon having the realization that human beings are dying en masse because the people we put in office (or did nothing about when they stole the office) are killing them – we each helped one other person also become conscious of this, maybe it would end. If we all taught our children (and by our children I mean all children) that someone on the other side of the world is no different then us, even if they speak a different language or eat different food, maybe the next generation won’t be so eager to drop bombs on villages from a mile in the air. Maybe nothing will change, but it’s at least worth a try.
It seems that anti-war groups are for the most part giving up on trying to stop funding for the war. Instead – apparently accepting the fact that there is no way to make Democrats start listening to their base rather than the military industrial complex – they will be focusing on measures to prevent George Bush from entering into any long term agreements with the Iraqi government for things like bases that would keep troops there for – as John McCain wishes – 100 years. Obviously, I and the majority of the world agrees that there should not be any long term contracts that would lead to Iraq becoming some kind of US colony or protectorate, but does that mean that the fight to stop funding has to end? The leaders of various anti-war groups (I wish I could call them movements) have said that there is no way to get the Democrats to change their minds, so they are focusing on other things. If someone were coming into my house every day and punching me in the face, I would do everything I could to get them to stop. If I tried and tried to stop them – I got new locks for my door, I called the police, I hired a private security firm – and none of them worked, I would not just give up and try to get them to promise they won’t still be punching me in the face in 10 years. Just because nothing has worked so far does not mean anyone should give up and accept the fact that Iraqis will continue to die for the time being. I don’t know what could make the need for a third (fourth, fifth…) party more obvious.
Just because fighting for something seems like it might be hopeless does not mean that it is not necessary. I’m sure some blacks and women thought that trying to end repression would never work, but enough people overcame that, tried anyway, and eventually (sort of) succeeded. Sometimes – after years of asking for the war to end, for more money to go to schools, for the president and his administration to be held accountable for what they have done – it seems like asking congress for something is just a waste of breath, but we have to do it anyway. The criminal leading our country right now is pressing for another war; Afghanistan and Iraq did not go how he planned, but maybe the third time (Iran) is the charm. The attempt – before his Middle East trip last week –to drum up anger at Iran by faking an incident did not work out, but that doesn’t mean he will not try again. It is important that congress do an investigation into who exactly was in charge of splicing in the ‘Iranian’ voices that were threatening the US Navy ships, who lied about the ships almost firing on the speedboats, and who ensured that the media reported the story without question. Don’t be swayed by the right-wingers who claim that congress is just trying to win elections by committing themselves to pointless investigations; if people are not held accountable for this, it could happen again. We all need to realize how bad the average USian’s memory is and how easily we are fooled. Tell congress.
It is pretty unclear what exactly is going on with the protests in Kenya by the Raila Odinga and the Orange Democratic Movement. It appears that, in the protests themselves, only the protestors are dying; as police have been firing indiscriminately into the crowds with both tear gas and live bullets. However, nonviolence has not been put into practice in other areas; members of Mwai Kibaki’s (the president) tribe have been getting killed (with one person getting shot with a poisonous arrow) by people who are angry over the alleged stolen election by Kibaki. These things never make sense to me; when poor people who live in huts are discouraged at the results of something and take it out on other poor people who live in huts just because the second group of poor people supports the thing that the first group is against. When George W Bush stole the elections here in the United States my first reaction was to join nonviolent protests and write letters; if there was any violence going through my head it was directed at Bush himself or the people who helped him do what he did. The thought of finding out which of my neighbors actually voted for him, and killing them never even seemed like an option. Kibaki –if he really did fix the election – is probably sitting at home (perfectly safe) laughing right now. Odinga needs to step up and start making impassioned speeches, begging his people to use their anger in other ways. We’ll see what happens after the planned three days of protests end tonight.
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