With All Due Respect...We Seek Peace
From Judith Moriarty
WITH ALL DUE RESPECT
The October March 25-03, against war etc., saw a great diminishment in the number of people and also speakers. Many times people's own agenda's take over the true intentions of a people's concerns. For example, last October's march saw a cross-section of people from all walks of life. Many such as True Majority were missing.
I personally--not that it matters, am against any and all strident, militant sounding, hateful, malignant language or signs. I also feel, that given the short attention spans of todays citizenry, it is very confusing when one has a mish-mash of several causes being spoken to, from Palestine, a man on death row, race issues, women's concerns etc.
A peace march should be just that, about Peace. Frankly, I feel that we sing-dance-drum-and march about the word Peace, with very little experience or self-knowledge as to what it really means. Peace is by no means the absence of war. The anger-rage-and signs in Oct 25-03 March showed this. Cursing and lewd language have no part of a televised march involving children and wishing to connect with greater America.How can a man/woman march for peace, who sells out his community to corporate interests, doesn't speak to his neighbor, or profits off the suffering-defrauding-or poisoning of others in their daily business lives? Not possible.
While nobody disputes the various causes, and mostly Muslim speakers etc., there should be a time when such a March is identified as "Our Collective Concerns". True, there were those present who spoke to the veterans and the plight of the Iraqi people, but I came away being no more enlightened about Peace on Earth, than when it first began. I felt only strident-anger.
How would I envision a true march for Peace, if I had the organization and money to do so? I would have no politicians nor persons such as a Jesse Jackson. Yesterday, was supposedly about bringing the troops home. My platform would first speak to what are the causes of war, who profits, and who pays? Who goes to war and who is protected by wealth and title?
I would speak to the war of past ages, and those discarded, kicked to the curb, left without medical attentions; and the lies of deformed children--unsafe vaccines--Agent Orange, Gulf War Disease, the number dead since Gulf War I and the number on disability. I would speak to the true numbers of those being injured in this newest fiasco--the suicides-the unknown respiratory deaths--the treatment or rather non-treatment, of those coming home being housed in concrete outhouses/no toilet facilities!
I would speak to the number of enlistees who are green-card carriers, the ghetto, farm and rural young off to war, and the promises upon recruitment of bonuses and education. I would tell of the reservists, middle-age and women dying in war. I would speak to the insanity of any women, let alone mothers being in combat.
I would have as my main speakers, those who've been to war and know full well its horrors. I would have homeless veterans as speakers. Those from WW II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I, tell of their living under bridges, in abandoned cars, in parks. Like so much litter--forgotten. I would ask what does "Support the Troops" really mean? I would speak of veterans benefits being cut while the wealthiest enjoy millions in tax breaks traveling exotic lands and building one more trophy home, and politicians voting themselves pay raise after pay raise and having the best of medical coverage.
I would have those who've worked with homeless veterans, and those from VA hospitals, tell of the travesty that is visited on those injured-traumatized--poisoned ones. I would show the conditions of VA hospitals, and tell of how reservists back from Gulf War I had to go on welfare to receive medical care. I would tell of veterans families in sub-standard housing, on food stamps, and receiving a pittance of 6,000 in death benefits.
No money to care adequately for those sent off in a parade of flags and yellow ribbons, no money for adequate food, water, or equipment, but plenty for the military industrial complex and the corporate contractors. I would speak of the 5,600 for one bunker buster bomb, the 6,00 for 1,000 M-16 rifles, 0 million for 7 unmanned Predator drones,0 million for 6 Trident II missiles, .1 billion for one Stealth bomber, billion for 1 year of nuclear weapons program, billion of U.S. current military spending etc. etc.
I would have the orphans of war speak. Those who can only visit a weeping black wall and finger a name; their father's name. A name that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamamara (of Vietnam era) now laments was "all a mistake". I would have signs with the photographs of what war does to children. The children shredded by our liberating-regime changing bombs/missiles, and the deformed children of foreign and U.S. soldier's children, from the insanity of using depleted uranium used in war.
I would have the children of Afghanistan-Iraq-and the United States speak to what they think of war. I would show war from a child's voiceless-powerless perspective. I would speak of the great poets, artists, musicians, and writers of those that are spoken of as "towel heads, rag heads, and sand niggers". I would have the song of children of all lands singing "Let There Be Peace On Earth". I would end with these words:
"Were it my choice I would have died among you. But, alas, that is beyond my reach. Give me one last drink from the Tigris: If I could, I would drink the whole river." Syrian/Iraqi poet, Adul-'Ala'-Ma'arri (11th century A.D.)
The Poets of Baghdad by Lisa Walsh Thomas
Again, onto the heaps of bodies and books, lie the spilled souls of a thousand poets, children broken over bridges, era to era, city to city, meter by meter, in search of a scribe, an elegy for the unknown lambs and dactyls of their brief lives, poems unwritten, love ungrown.
Where there were white storks in the sky, migrating northward, there are eighteen-million-dollar Apaches now, with thirty-second "kill" ability, in the name of "liberation". In the face of such power, a book of poems is small. In the face of such flames, a man's love of a woman is silent. In the absence of love, poetry eats itself in order to hide.
In this land of sand and oil and eternal conquest, the white storks may not return. Of them, Fox News says B-52 bombers are "beautiful birds". The rivers run again with blood, as they always have, and perhaps the white storks will find the skies too black with smoke. The poet Al-Nawwab says birds have homes while he wanders, jail to jail, and I the foreigner suspect his jails are built on the bones of child poets.
I long to record this nation of poets, would search for an unbroken bridge, kneel and steal for myself the heart of a hero, perhaps Al-Jawahiri, dissident poet against the British, whose brother died in his arms, a man with whom I would share sweet kahi and cardamom tea. We would line the killers up on a chessboard- the Mongols' Hulagu and Tamerlane, Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent, the British, Saddam, Bush.
What knew these crass madmen of poetry? What knew they of art? We would line them up and throw their plastic figures into the dead Tigris, and then together we would roam the broken bridges, scooping up the souls of the children, unborn poets whose metaphors were blasted, unheard, into a dark eternity.
This is what I would do and say and speak to if I could have a platform to speak on the insanity-mayhem-and madness of war. Peace? It is only the children in their innocence-who can lead us to Peace--never hate-strife-curses-anger-revenge. jm