PPLFF says no BDS of Israeli Apartheid

Crap. The Anti-Apartheid BDS campaign targeted Cannes because of it, Hollywood luminaries boycotted the Toronto Film Festival over the same principles in 2009, you’d think the Springs gay community might have paid heed. Instead the 2010 Pikes Peak Lavender Film Festival opted to screen the Israeli melodrama Eyes Wide Open, Zionists’ illegal appropriation of Jerusalem be damned. When Canadian gays made international news for allowing Queers Against Israeli Apartheid to march in their pride parade, in spite of Jewish philanthropists pressuring the City of Toronto to withdraw funding, I hoped that COS pride festivities might opt to climb aboard. Instead this weekend Colorado Springs gets a full-on endorsement of Israel’s ongoing illegal invasion of Palestine.

It was a false hope. The Pikes Peak area gay community has found itself so embattled since Amendment Two’s 1992 measure to legalize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, that common social causes are easily crowded out by Gay Marriage, DADT and brand recognition for LGBT. So much so that social justice activists can only participate in the pride parade on the condition that it be about solidarity, not antiwar. With gay issues being so politicized, should gays and lesbians get a pass on staying apolitical about war or racism? Whatever excuses we make, it’s a perfectly flamboyant example of silence equals consent. I count apolitical queens every bit as complicit with US military criminality as the above-it-all new-agers and NASCAR jackasses.

Set in an Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem, Eyes Wide Open doesn’t address the Israeli-Palestinian troubles, it ignores them, effectively normalizing an ethnically-cleansed Palestine. The film tells the story of an extramarital gay affair between Jewish scholars, blablabla, minus the evictions of Palestinians in the path of encroachment by Israeli settlers, and the hijacking of Muslim holy sites . “Beverly Hills 90210” was fine without scenes of the LAPD repression of Watts or East LA, but 90210 wasn’t pretending to be taped on non-Jewish land.

Eyes Wide Open was the title of the 2005 American Friends Service Committee antiwar boot-counting exercise to open American eyes to the enormity of casualties of the Iraq War — before the Eyes Wide Open slogan was adopted by a 2008 Israeli PR project to encourage American Jews to pay more attention to their birthright offer of Israeli citizenship. The death count of US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan (now that the AFSC has been cleared to consider both wars illegal) has long since outgrown the AFSC budget for buying boots or lugging them around in rented trucks, and now EWO (Einaym Pkuhot) is a miserable tale about infidelity and sin.

Frankly, Trembling Before G-d was an incredible documentary about gay Orthodox men struggling with the DADT policy of Orthodox Judaism. I remember seeing it at the 2003 PPLFF, or so. I remember Rabbinical experts expounded on both sides of the argument with authority and humor. But that was before the BDS movement to curb Israel’s racist apartheid system. You either support the picket or you scab.

Objective reviews of EWO are scarce in the Zionist-dominated press, and increasing numbers are honoring the cultural and academic boycott of Israeli Apartheid. Refusing to see EWO is by no means concluding it is bad. For all I know the film may be using the ostracism of homosexuals within the Orthodox community to represent the growing alienation Israelis are feeling in the face of the open revulsion expressing itself by the rest of the world. Maybe it’s brilliant.

But I’m not deliberating about whether to see it. BDS means no to Israel, to its statesmen, artists, scholars and products. And the American companies which support Israel’s policy of Apartheid, several dozen, and now that includes our own PPLFF.

Latest vote suppression from El Paso County Bob Balink should land him in jail

COLORADO SPRINGS- The Colorado Independent has reported a new salvo in El Paso County’s Clerk & Recorder Bob Balink’s usual anti-election measures. Balink is IN CHARGE of all local polling outlets, he’s partisan as GOP SHIT, he’s faced accusations before, and this latest move seems to betray what he thinks he can get away with. Though Balink’s election-year tradition of intimidating Colorado College students was this time rebuked, his comeback should land him in jail.

Every election year, Colorado College are warned by El Paso County administrators that if they try to register in the county, they might be breaking the law. When the same strategy was tried this year, the students struck back with a newspaper article dispelling the untruthful scare tactic. Bob Balink’s staff had to backpedal in public, but the CC journalists have received another salvo.

This letter was sent to CC on behalf of El Paso County, drafted by a Denver attorney. It explained that registering in El Paso County:
“can have cascading effects”
“could affect the students and their parents financially.”
have “ramifications that go far beyond where they cast their ballot.”
“could result in criminal penalties.”
“can jeopardize their parents’ ability to claim the student as a dependent”
“could end up costing the parents the $3,500 tax deduction.”
“could impact … health insurance plan or auto insurance policy.”
“could have a rough awakening”

Here is the full text of the letter:

The September 24th article [in the Colorado Springs Gazette], “Balink under fire for error on CC voter registration”, gives significant attention to whether Colorado College students are able to register to vote, yet little attention is given to the consequences of doing so.

Advocates, such as Senator John Morse, Martha Tierney, and Pat Waak, are correct in stating that there are no prohibitions on Colorado College students registering to vote. Nevertheless, out-of-state students should do so with their eyes wide open. Registering to vote in Colorado can have cascading effects that could affect the students and their parents financially.

When an individual registers to vote in Colorado, they make an affirmation that they are a resident of Colorado. The statement of residency exceeds merely being present in the state. The affirmation also includes abandoning prior residency in other states. Additionally, it makes departure from the student’s home permanent rather than temporary.

This distinction of a student living here temporarily or establishing a domicile has ramifications that go far beyond where they cast their ballot. Colorado law allows students who are here temporarily to maintain vehicle registration and drivers licenses in their home state. Once an out-of-state student registers to vote and declares Colorado as their state of residency, all the additional obligations of residency attach. These obligations include both vehicle registration and obtaining a Colorado drivers license. Failure to do either of these acts could result in criminal penalties. Are the students who are the targets of voter registration drives informed of these consequences? Are they aware of the big picture impact of signing the voter registration form?

Beyond the student’s new obligations related to Colorado state residency, there are other potential consequences to establishing residency as a student. Out-of-state students who are claimed as dependents by their parents can jeopardize their parents’ ability to claim the student as a dependent on their taxes. Establishing a new domicile outside of the parents’ home state could end up costing the parents the $3,500 tax deduction. The establishment of a new domicile could impact the student’s dependency status that is required for eligibility under the parents’ health insurance plan or auto insurance policy. Students who intend to return to a state school in their home state for graduate school could have a rough awakening when they find out that they have to pay out-of-state tuition because they have lost their previous in-state status. These are complex issues that must be addressed.

It is worth noting that an out-of-state student can still participate in the election by requesting an absentee ballot from their home state, if that is where they are registered. The voter registration drives that are targeting Colorado College students have a moral obligation to inform them of the impacts of their voter registration and to suggest that they consult with their parents prior to registering.

While groups that work to increase involvement in the electoral process should be applauded, blindly pushing students to register in Colorado, even when doing so could be to their detriment, is wrong. Registering out-of-state students in Colorado without fully disclosing the potential impacts of such registration borders on exploitation.

For further information contact:
Zakhem-Atherton LLC
Mr. Erik Groves
Denver, CO

Support Our Homeless Troops

COLORADO SPRINGS- I watched yesterday as a group of homeless men disbanded beneath an underpass. I remarked how their yet unbent frames and close-shaved heads made them appear more menacing than usual. Then I noticed one had a graphite prosthetic calf, and I thought about our vets who disappear themselves into being vagabonds. Homelessness is elective you could say, like despondency or suicide. If one in four of America’s homeless are veterans, why not tell us what that fraction amounts to? They must know.

Americans were just leaked the number of suicides among our soldiers and veterans. It’s more even than have died in the Iraq war. We hear about the seemingly haphazard suicides, self-destructive acts and reckless endangerments, but who puts it together? Did you imagine the tally as a result of the war would be so high?

Probably the incidence of PTSD, they say now 30%, is equally under-documented. Who will contravene with the VA, the DoD and the State Department to give us the real totals?

Americans recently honored the 4,000th US casualty in Iraq. What was THAT milestone for? The American Friends Service Committee had been circulating a collection of army boots –Eyes Wide Open, before the number became unmanageable– to correspond to the official US losses. It didn’t occur to me how some military families might feel left out by that count. What about the non-combat deaths, or the wounded who expire stateside? What about the suicides, or the brain-dead? What about the broken bodies who would be over-represented by a pair of boots, who would need a single boot, or none at all?

What is the real figure so far, of US lives sacrificed to the war? What fraction of a Vietnam wall memorial are they setting aside for the true casualty count? Enough for ten thousand? Is our tally of wasted-lives several times that?

I want to know where are the yokels who make a big deal about supporting the troops? Where are they while homeless vets look for heat and food? Where is the support for young men haunted to the point of committing suicide? Is that yellow sticker on your car the furthest extent to which you support the troops? Do you hope your sticker remains obscured in the garage until the homeless vets pass?

I hope the yellow ribbon Support the Troops sticker comes to mean you’re good for a meal, a ride, a place to sleep, or spare change for a drink. I didn’t support the troops, what they did and still do, or the trouble they find themselves in now that their killing duty is served. You encouraged them, you’re still welcoming them home and cheering their continued deployment. You broke these young men, now support them.

Memorial Day 3,500 x 100

This Memorial Day the number of US soldier casualties in Iraq nears 3,500.

At 1,000 we held a vigil in Acacia Park. We did the same at the 1,500 and 2,000 marks. The numbered-cross memorial we mounted at Camp Casey COS commemorated near 2,000 deaths. The “Eyes Wide Open” boot collection came to town as the number exceeded 2,500. Colorado Springs was its last stop because the figures began to require too many boots to unpack at each stop. We met again in the park for the 3,000th, but I’m not going to eulogize any more boots until the number reaches 50,000.

That’s well into Vietnam War casualty territory and that’s where we’re going. The war got its funding, the military has revealed its plans to double the troop levels, the President is warning us to expect US casualties to surge, and sure enough we’re seeing the body count rise. Eight, fifteen a day. Not counting mercenaries. And still no one’s tallying the Iraqi dead.

I’m okay not to count the mercenaries. But what of our volunteer army, signing ever-increasing re-enlistment bonuses? I don’t want to count them either. Our soldiers keep shipping themselves off to Iraq to serve well-enough-documented evil illegal deeds. What’s to commemorate, really? They’re not jumping off cliffs, they’re driving armored vehicles into Iraqi children on the way.

Our soldier’s souls are already lost to us. That’s 150,000 active in Iraq. 300,000 counting the mercenaries. Plus who ever’s being held back with PTSD. Cry about that.

On this date in 1973, the military had counted 44 deaths for El Paso County. It was not enough even then.

Neighborhood fox

Red fox chasing a mouseFox in the plural.
It seems almost overnight in Colorado Springs now whenever you cross the street you see red fox. As much downtown as in the foothills.
The first night at Camp Casey fox stole two pairs of sandals, actually the equivalent, one of each. But not before comingling everyone’s shoes in what must have been quite an indecisive dance. I woke and thought I’d missed a party.

When Eyes Wide Open visited Colorado College, it involved a geometric arrangement of nearly three thousand army boots and an equal number of civilian shoes on the green of Armstrong Quad. I was among those who stayed up to watch for vandals. But through the night the only activity we observed was that of several pairs of young red fox, making off with boots until the scent of another pair drew their interest. We’d go out every couple hours and rearrange the memorial footware, losing in the end not one.

The fox are getting rather friendly. Colorado College students report one which comes to watch the soccer games regularly. A friend of mine pet a fox, having mistaken it in the dark for something domestic until the feel of the coarse fur tempered the vigor of her stroke. Another friend thought a cat was poking its head out of a canopy and he gave it a friendly pat. They both looked at each other in surprise.

The fox are beautiful to behold running with a cadence like they are swimming on the wind, probably their fluffy tails cannot do but otherwise. If it runs like a dog, then you’ve spotted a coyote. Not even felines have such grace. To see two fox siblings running together multiplies the impression. They may be hunting along opposite sides of the street but you sense it’s the same stream. No doubt it’s a haunting sense too if you are a small rodent.

I particularly like to watch a fox negotiate traffic. He may wait for cars to pass, but more often he’ll weave through, skirting the cars, not the least bit panicked, more intent it seems on keeping in motion.

Permission to attack Iran Sir?

The moment of truth is here for the US antiwar movement. The Democratic Party liberals ignored all the signs, and put all their hopes on obtaining what they did in the recent elections. Their party chairman, Howard Dean, told them it wouldn’t make a difference, but DP anchored liberals don’t learn easily. Instead of organizing beforehand to build protest against this Bush plan for regionalizing further the Iraq war, they kept silent, held their noses, and voted for the Democratic Party candidates yet again. They have no plan for withdrawal from this pro-war political party. They appear mired there forever, always getting betrayed.
But can it really be called a betrayal, when the leadership announces ahead of time that they will ignore you and keep aligned with Bush in support of continual war? Well, this week the Israelis will come and get the go ahead to launch their attack on Iran. And they will get that approval not just from Cheney and Bush, but from Pelosi and Dean as well. Those that voted for change when they voted Democratic Party will weep and wail, but will they actually call the demonstrations, mobilize their constituency, and get into the streets to march and rally? Or will they once again sit it out like they did with the recent US-Israeli invasion of Lebanon?

Here is the news item about the Washington DC US-Israeli junta to be held within 24 hours of now. Will the antiwar forces in Colorado Springs get their ‘eyes wide open’ butts in gear and organize a protest rally of some sort? We will pray for them to do so. Olmert-Bush plan Iran attack start

Afghanistan, where cowardly US military is deliberately murdering children

Every week now, it seems that the US puppet president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is ‘investigating’ another tragic ‘accidental bombing of civilians. He demands that these ‘accidents’ stop. But these are not accidents, and Karzai knows this well, as every other Afghan must now know it well, too. An accident occurs once or twice, but an intentional strategy of targeting civilians becomes constant, as have become the US bombings of Afghan civilians in the more remote regions of that country.
The strategy is ‘to destroy the sea that the guerrilla fighter must swim in’, as it was once explained in the Vietnam War era, years ago. In short, the quickest, easiest way to combat the enemy, is simply to target his wife and family, including the kids. So the cowardly US-led NATO army of occupation in Afghanistan, is systematically doing that instead of engaging the enemy on the ground, where politically dangerous casualties might occur. Bomb the Afghan women and children in their homes from up high, if there is even the remotest military resistance to US forces in their general neighborhood.

This is the same strategy that the US government formerly used in SE Asia, some 35 to 45 years previously. It is the same strategy that the NAZIs used when they pushed into East Europe against the Russians during the Second World War. In their pathway, they razed to the ground villages, towns, and even entire cities. It is even the same strategy that Mafia gangsters use against their opponents. It is the same strategy that the US fed Colombian death squads use, too. They go into villages with chain saws, and cut people up before their own family members. Basically, this is government sponsored terrorism against civilians, and the US is committing internationally recognized war crimes by targeting civilians instead of the armed combatants they face. The strategy, is to target the families of combatants, and not those who might actually be able to inflict return casualties upon the invading and occupying, barbarian armed forces.

see Hamid Karzai orders investigation

We expect this cowardice from the cowardly US military commanders and chiefs, like Dubya and Dick Cheney, Donald and Alberto, who all get great glee out of torturing US-held POWs. And we expect it from the US grunts, too. They mainly just want to get out alive, and don’t much care who gets hurt, as long as it is not themselves. Innocent children bombed as they play, or as they sleep? Well who cares? Not the uniformed soldier cowards, nor their leaders. They are much like the Israeli troops, another cowardly group of soldiers, that distributed hundreds of thousands of cluster bombes in the last 3 days of their Lebanon vacation. Early Christmas for the children? Well the uniformed forces of occupying armies don’t care. They are simply cowards who want to get back home whole, and they will follow cowardly orders, from cowardly leaders.

But what of the press? The press barely even reports Afghanistan these days to US readers. And when they do, they cowardly hide away the nature of what they are reporting on. To the US press, the Afghanistan fighting is a NATO conflict, and they will report whole articles without even once using the letters, ‘US’ or ‘USA’! Let’s keep our jobs, and let’s keep the whole Afghanistan issue away from the American public, who are too cowardly to actually think about what they are doing to that poor country.

And what about the US peaceniks’? They are cowardly, too. 99% of them vote for the Democratic Party, and talking about Afghanistan is too embarrasing to the top party hacks. So, shhhhhh….. Keep quiet. The recent AFSC tour of their ‘Eyes Wide Open’ exhibit was basically a ‘Mouths Tightly Closed’ exhibit of their AFSC political cowardice when it comes to Afghanistan. They should remember and be ashamed of this, when the Quaker leaders are inside the voter booths pushing the levers for the Democratic Party candidates. They could have put boots out for the US soldiers killed in Afghanistan. But they didn’t. They could have placed out shoes of Afghani civilians killed by US and allied troops, but they didn’t.

But the other liberal peaceniks from the other liberal churches are equally as cowardly. When was the last time one saw a sign saying, Get Out of Afghanistan Now? All the talk is of Iraq instead. The liberal megawebsite, commondreams, carries bumperstickers calling for Get out of Iraq, No war with Iran, and even No War with Syria. But Get Out of Afghanistan? Not a chance! More political cowardness. It would push the Democratic Party hacks too hard. Yet our country is now deliberately bombing civilian children in that country, and doing it routinely, too.

It is political cowardice to bomb huts full of empoverished women and children noncombatants, rather than fight on the ground below against the men. But that’s what an imperialist army is full of. They are full of cowards who want to kill people like they are playing some video game back in the suburbs at home. But it, too, is cowardly for the US Peace Movement not to demand that our government get its troops out of Afghanistan with the same force we demand it get out of Iraq. We are betraying the children of that country, who are being slaughtered down like cattle. Yes, we have a cowardly antiwar movement in the US that wants only to concentrate on ‘Iraq’, and getting their cowardly Democratic Party leaders elected to office once again. Let’s hope that liberals can grow some backbone, and start opposing this war, too. Otherwise, the peace crowd is just as bad as ‘our troops’, who mainly want to kill from afar and from up high, with no possilbe repercussions to their cowardly, uniformed selves. Those that don’t mind killing innocent children, just so that they can claim a high ‘enemy’ body count.

Online ‘Eyes Wide Open’ exhibit Boothill

Eyes Wide Open, the price paid. Since it was just a week or so ago that the exhibit passed through our town, I thought that I would post this for all those who were unable to see it then. Unfortunately for Americans, there is no exhibit, that I know of, of the 1,400,000+ Iraqi shoes ‘paid.’ Boothill

Our city’s rejection of the EWO memorial, clarified

May I address City Staff Liaison Bob Stovall’s assertion in the Gazette that, contrary to what was reported, the City of Colorado Springs was willing to host the Eyes Wide Open 2,757 boot memorial? I represented the Justice and Peace Commission in asking the city for the use of Memorial Park. The Park and Recreation Department declined our request, telling us Memorial Park was unavailable because of previously scheduled football leagues. Since it was the PPJPC’s opinion that the first and only visit of the EWO traveling Iraq War memorial might merit relocating a couple days of regular football games, we approached the City Council to prevail upon the park supervisors on our behalf. This the City Council would not do.

In subsequent pronouncements Mayor Lionel Rivera tried to clarify that the city was not opposed to the memorial, only that its organizers needed to go through the proper channels like everyone else. This was bureaucratic doublespeak, like pretending to be accommodating while your subordinates keep the doors locked shut until it is too late. I found it also insulting that a national effort to highlight the sacrifices of America’s men and women in Iraq would be stonewalled and accorded no greater consideration than that given weekly football games.

EWO at Colorado CollegeNow of course it is safe for the city to claim the parks department had penciled us in. In fact we were told no and we had to proceed with our backup choice, Colorado College. Memorial Park was where I saw the traveling Vietnam Memorial and where I felt the Iraq memorial would have been most accessible and most appreciated. All along, Memorial Park was where we hoped the city would accommodate the memory of our soldiers.

Eyes Wide Open for friends only

Attire for a memorial to the cost of war?An Air Force soldier participated in our candlelight vigil tonight. A vigil held at the Colorado Springs Eyes Wide Open Exhibit, for the lives lost in the Iraq War. He spoke about losing a close friend, and about his friends who are deployed in Iraq for whom he fears. He read a poem he’d written about looking at the names of the casualties everyday and hoping, praying it would be no one he knows.
Did he miss the point of the 2,700 boots?

If I try to be charitable, I’d say the soldier added a human aspect to the ceremony, not just his grief, and his fear, but the self-centeredness of a soldier’s world view. It certainly made me irritated. The rest of us were here, apparently, to give him company in his fear.

I was not.

He introduced himself, Sam, an Air Force enlistee, and a student at the Colorado College. He’s gone to basic training but has yet to be deployed to the war. I’d seen him recite at a poetry gathering the year before. He goes around campus in his fatigues, often fresh from training. My guess is he’s among many college recruits who serve the military by living among students to project an air of normalcy about the military.

Tonight Sam wore a leather jacket with a skull insignia on the back, with the slogan “where do special forces go when they die? They go to hell to regroup.” (or so)

Enlistee Sam fish-out-of-water spoke tonight of dreading when he’d be sent to war, I was listening but didn’t hear that his disposition toward warfare had changed by developments since the last time I saw him. At the poetry reading he spoke of planning to bringing back his war experiences through the eyes of a poet. Most of the other student poets looked aside as he read. Too polite to roll their eyes. The eyes at the vigil were wiser than mine.

There are some attendees who are turned off by the religiosity of gatherings such as the vigil, I could not bear the banality of this foolish enlistee, worrying for himself and his friends, thinking not at all to question the work he was doing or the profound repercussions upon the lives of so many countless thousand innocents.

Two soldiers remembered

A sister writes to her brother a week before he was due homeWe traipsed up to Denver to see the RMPJC Eyes Wide Open display in advance. I’d like to describe two pairs of boots in particular.
One represented a young soldier from Oregon. Someone had added a snapshot, his smile drew my eye. There was also a letter from his sister, who’d been planning to greet him home only a week later.
Another pair of boots represented a Coloradan soldier whose parents had requested his name not be mentioned in the memorial. How sad. People come with flowers and gifts, pictures and flags to adorn the boots. Siblings come, and high school friends, and fellow soldiers.

For every soldier, particularly one who’d been stationed nearby, there are dozens of comrades who come to look for their buddy, to see that he was not overlooked, regardless the antiwar sentiment.

When parents have their child’s name removed, it doesn’t mean the boots. The boots are part of the statistic, the casualties. The number of American soldiers killed belongs to us. Bought and paid for by the US taxpayer. I like to think too, an entry into the accounts payable, for these bastards in charge.

And who are they, those ultra-patriot parents, to take their child’s name from the ranks of his friends? Who are they to presume that he doesn’t want to be visited, remembered fondly, missed, mourned, thanked.

I felt tears of loss for Sargeant Eyerly of Oregon with the million dollar smile, in his uniform, only 23 years old. And I feel sad for the unnamed Colorado boy whose parents don’t think his memory deserves a little more than the short life he got.

No one to remember these bootsTheir son was used by the military, his parents didn’t interfere then. Now he’s being used by the anti-military. But he’s still gone. He probably would not wish that his short life have passed into obscurity without so much refection.

As an organizer for the event, I of course do know the name, and the name of the parents. What immoral prigs to put politics above their son’s memory.

Eyes Wide Open Minus 279

Why don’t we reflect on the 279 US soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan, too? I think it simply because the AFSC/ Quakers almost universally vote Democratic Party. They don’t want the public to ‘reflect on the true costs of the Afghan war’ while most liberal Democratic Party voters continue to support such. And because of that, the Eyes Wide Open has its eyes sewed wide shut regarding Afghanistan. The AFSC, it seems, will have us only reflect on US troops who died in Iraq.

I have not been much of a backer of this top down AFSC bringing of Eyes Wide Open to Denver and Colorado Springs anyway. How top down? I would say that the main impetus for bringing this exibition to Colorado came from outside the state, and not from within. Discussion was very limited and completely shut off once the honchos had their thing going.

PLUS,this fetishist AFSC focus on the boots of US GIs is a reflection of the constant US nationalist fetishism that focuses on ‘supporting our troops’. They are not OUR troops and we should not be just focusing on the dead GIs’ boots and tags while relegating to the minimalist side the consideration of the deaths of the victims of these US troops. These troops were paid for by our taxes stolen and misused by the government, but they are not my troops. Nor yours, for that matter. So why do we memorialize them as if they were something so very much more special than their victims? Why, AFSC?

And this controlling top down organizing by the Quakers has me peeved. Who do they think they are to try to limit other points of view other than their own pacifist ones at these Fall antiwar events? If the Afghans and Iraqis try to kick the US out of their countries using armed force, then so be it. One gets a little tired of the constant US pacifist Christian messaging, pontificating to other people to non-violently resist their own US government’s violence. These sanctimonious people would have had the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto turning the other cheek to the Nazis even! Defintiely, nobody should feel obligated to not bring their own materials and posters to Eyes Wide Open just because the AFSC tells them not to. They have some damn nerve trying to censor off views other than those parallel with their own. Yes they do.

As an atheist, I will help set up this nominally antiwar exhibit. At least, it will be seen by the press as such. But we sure need a more secular antiwar movement in the future, with the ability to reach out to more than just the liberal church goers. The thing about liberal Christian pacifists, is that they demand that others not just reject the US warmaking but that they do it only for the same reasons that liberal pacifists do. They keep the antiwar movement small, by excluding the majority of people that actually might want to oppose US militarism for reasons other than religiosity.

Anyway, I remember the 279 US troops who have lost their lives in Afghanista. And what’s more, I remember the country of Afghanistan we have torn to shreds. Reflect on that, AFSC.

Denver not Colorado Springs

Neath the capitol stepsThe Eyes Wide Open exhibit is in Denver. The 2,700 boots span the green between City Hall and the State Capitol Building. The news reports that the memorial was not as welcomed in Colorado Springs.
A friend of mine reacted to the Colorado Springs City Council deciding to have nothing to do with the EWO Iraq War Memorial exhibit. She called it a “damn shame.” I related her words to the council today.
“It’s a damn shame, she said, that the city is unwilling to support our troops in a reverential fashion, it’s a shame the boys see only the city’s seedy tributes.”

“The city offers pawn shops to the troops, conveniently located across from the base on B-street, to prey on the financial plight of those young men. Check cashing services and furniture rental joints offer similar rip-offs. The city is happy to collect the sales tax from those activities.

“Likewise the city pays tribute with strip bars and sex shops along B-Street to prey on the soldier’s other vices. The city is pleased to collect those sales taxes.

“The soldiers are offered dealership lots filled with cars they cannot afford, but do purchase, on bad credit terms, with high insurance rates, to drive around the few months they are here between assignments.

“So it’s a damn shame the city can live off the soldiers, can tout the patriotic benefit even from their sacrifices overseas, but cannot see itself rising to the occasion of honoring the soldiers killed in the line of duty.”

I’ll admit it’s too bad that only the antiwar activists are coming forward with memorials to the fallen soldiers. I don’t see why it should be our responsibility at all. If we had our choice there would be no young men and women being sent to fight these dirty mercenary wars.

If you don’t like our memorial, do your own. But don’t sit back and pay lip service to the men and women dying in Iraq, meanwhile running a city off their government paychecks, disability checks and survivor benefits.

Oaxaca versus Colorado Springs

In the streetsWe are not supposed to follow these obscure current events in Colorado Springs. Oh sure, our local rag can write editorials advising the Mexican presidential candidate that got robbed of the presidency fraudently in that country to lay down the struggle and do an Al Gore, but….. us US plebians are really not to think about things in far away lands, unless they are more directly pointed out to us. Then of course we can all get up in arms to defend Tibetians, Kosovar Albanians, and all the other what not, while on the way to WalMart to buy Chinese goods.

But still I got to thinking about how all those thousands of Oaxacan rebels marched from the city of Oaxaca, 280 miles away until they arrived yesterday in Mexico City. It seems that they have a Governor who is an assassin and torturer. Kind of like our very own president of the United States. That’s right, thousands of outraged and concerned Mexican citizens marched 280 miles in protest there to show their national capital how they felt.

Here in Colorado Springs, we got our work cut out this week in trying to get tens of people to march 280 inches in reflections upon eyes wide open. No protest signs allowed by order of the Friends it shall be said. What a contrast! Do you think DC will quiver at our power and courage?

Iran will be next target and why does America’s Left continue to sleep?

Are we all asleep? The Bush Administration is planning to bomb Iran, and yet there is no effort to stop this. What in God’s name does it take to wake up an American Left? Let’s face it, most liberals have their thumbs stuck up their asses and their only plan is to just keep voting for the offal that runs under the Democratic Party banner, go to church, and pray. The Democratic Party supports Bush’s plans to attack Iran, therefore all the liberals once again have fallen into a trance behind their corporate misleadership on the question of stopping an attack on yet another country. It’s like Iran doesn’t even exist on their radar screens. Meanwhile, there are reports that the Pentagon is already moving into action once again.

Instead of moving with the times, the Colorado ‘peace movement’ contemplates its own navel this week. Are we to be out there mobilizing opposition to the planned bombing campaign against Iran? No, instead something called ‘Eyes Wide Open’ moves across the state this week. It involves a bunch of boots, and people both for the Iraq war and against it are encouraged to stare at these boots and what….? they will be encouraged to ‘reflect on the true cost of the Iraq war’! What a pile of crap! People should be encouraged to PROTEST the damn thing, but the good liberal church folk who come up with this sort of pseudo event impede the very organization of real protest events against the Pentagon, and substitute silliness instead. What next, an inaction to get us to ‘contemplate’ the evils of torture, instead of protesting the newly legalized and open use of it? Hey! Some people might not know that it hurts, I guess?

So what we have is a sleepy, milktoast American Left led by nuns, Quakers, and the Clintons and the Gores amongst us. Iran lookout! We can only ‘reflect’ here after you have been strafed, not before. Not all American Christians support Bush though. Some wait till he’s been bad, and then go ‘tsk,tsk,tsk’. They’ll be encouraging you to non-violently resist the new generation atomic weaponry their country’s military forces will be using on you. And they will be encouraging multi-faith reunions with any moderate Muslim clerics available, if not taken out already by Christian soldiers ahead of time. Let’s hold hands and pray together now. We will light the candles for you, as the troops put out your’s.

Wouldn’t it just be nice to actually have a more secular, and less Democratic Party controlled ‘peace movement’? Hey, let’s rename it an antiwar movement, too, while we’re at it. How about…whisper, whisper, whisper…. naming it ‘The Movement to Stop the US Military and to Dismantle the Damn Thing? 100%’. Take the idea to your church and/or atheist group. The idea is to protest a coming attack on another people ahead of time, and not just sit around with thumbs up the bum.

Here’s the response of the Christian pacifist to such a proposal as to confront head on the Right Wing militarist. whine…..”Oh, that’s not reaching out to others. They can change.”

To the Iranian Muslim, I apologize for the stupidity of the liberal Christians of America. They’re ready to turn their cheeks, even as you get yours slapped. Instead of an actual movement against the constant war, they just want a movement of the prayerful. They will get around to ‘defending’ you eventually. But first, you have to be crucified. Please don’t respond with a gun. They’ll be ‘reflecting’ on your behalf.

Support your local war memorial

I’m working on an address to our city council. I only have three minutes:

MemorialMr. Mayor, distinguished members of the City Council: as a member of the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, I’ve come once again on their behalf to ask the City Council for your support of the traveling Iraq War Memorial, known as Eyes Wide Open, which is coming to Colorado Springs on October 12 and 13.
Two weeks ago, at the previous opportunity to address the council, the Justice and Peace Commission asked for the use of Memorial Park as a fitting site for a memorial. We also asked the City of Colorado Springs to adopt a resolution similar to that of the City of Baltimore, proclaiming the two day visit as “Days of Reflection on the Human Cost of War.” To this day we’ve received no formal response from the council. I’m here today to repeat our requests.

Actually we did hear one reply from Councilman Bernie Herpin, a resounding no, because he considers any such memorial to be a blatant anti-war statement. I’d like to ask Mr. Herpin: do you have such little faith in the patriotism of the general public, in the wisdom of your constituents, that were they to reflect -on the many lives the war in Iraq has cost us- that you think they would automatically be against the war?

Do you consider it patriotic, and showing support for our troops, Mr. Herpin, to hide the Iraq War casualties from the sight and memory of their friends, neighbors and community? If the war in Iraq, or as you call it, the War on Terror, is indeed worth fighting, why do you want to conceal its cost from the people of Colorado Springs, the people who more than nearly any other community in the country, must bear the cost of this war? The cost being measured, in their lives, the lives of their loved ones, the lives of their friends and coworkers. This is to say nothing of the many more who are injured and maimed.

Are you afraid to let the people of Colorado Springs gaze upon the boots of 2,700 soldiers -only the official count of the US casualties in Iraq- boots that stretch across vast green fields, nearly to the horizon? One hundred and seventy pairs of those boots will correspond to the Fort Carson soldiers who’ve died in Iraq.

The latest count of soldiers wounded in Iraq according to the V.A. hospital system is over 40,000. If the ratio of US soldiers wounded to US soldiers killed in Iraq holds for Colorado Springs, by a terrible coincidence, the 2,700 pairs of boots that Colorado Springs residents will see on October 12 and 13 will also correspond to the number of Colorado Springs residents -Iraq War veterans- who now move about in wheelchairs and on prosthetic limbs.

Is this your way to show support for the troops? To keep their sacrifices unseen from their countrymen and their city? Why are you so quick to send them off, to fight a war on foreign soil, and so quick to hide the cost they’ve paid or will pay? The media networks aren’t even allowed to show their coffins on television! Why are you conspiring to keep a soldier’s most ultimate sacrifice a secret? -because you think the American people would not support your war?

If you are so gung-ho to have someone fight this war on terror, why don’t you do it yourself? You go over there and do it! And reflect, please, whether you want your effort to go seen or unseen. Otherwise please know that you can count on us, that if you pay the ultimate price to defend our freedom, that we intend to make sure the people of this country and this city see it and show their thanks. Good luck and bon voyage.

Please accord the people of Colorado Springs the respect of honoring their sacrifice. I’d like to see the proclamation we ask for in writing as soon as possible, or I’d like to see each of you fill out the Defense Department paperwork to enlist to go to Iraq yourself. Thank you.

Eyes Wide Open exhibit coming October 12-13

Coming to Colorado College Armstrong QuadWe’ve asked the Colorado Springs City Council for the use of Memorial Park for this memorial. We’ve also asked for a formal city proclamation, that October 12 and 13 be officially declared “days of reflection on the human cost of war.” Regardless of their answer, it’s coming.

At the ceremony, we’ll read the names of the 2,700 Americans who have been killed in Iraq, among them 170 from Fort Carson. CSAction put together a list: 1st Lt. Michael R. Adams, Spc. Ronald D. Allen, Pfc. Elden D. Arcand, Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Bader, Staff Sgt. Stephen A. Bertolino, Spc. Hoby F. Bradfield, Spc. Joshua T. Brazee, Staff Sgt. Scottie L. Bright, Sgt. Thomas F. Broomhead, Staff Sgt. Jeremy a. Brown, Sgt. Ernest G. Bucklew, Spc. Brock L. Bucklin, Capt. Joshua T. Byers, Cpl. Lyle J. Cambridge, Cpl. Richard P. Carl, Sgt. Tyrone L. Chisolm, Cpl. Gary B. Coleman, Spc. Ernest W. Dallas, Pfc. Grant A. Dampier, 1st Lt. Joseph D. deMoors, Spc. Michael A. Diraimondo, Sgt. Micheal E. Dooley, Sgt. 1st Class Donald W. Eacho, Spc. Phillip C. Edmundson, Capt. Brian Faunce, Spc. Rian C. Ferguson, Master Sgt. Richard L. Ferguson, Staff Sgt. Marion J. Flint, Pvt. Benjamin L. Freeman, Staff Sgt. Brian L. Freeman, Sgt. Denis J. Gallardo, Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, Spc. Christopher A. Golby, Spc. David J. Goldberg, Capt. Sean Grimes, Chief Warrant Officer Hans N. Gukeisen, Chief Warrant Officer Dennis P. Hay, Master Sgt. Kelly L. Hornbeck, Spc. Christopher L. Hoskins, Staff Sgt. Curtis T. Howard, Spc. Walter B. Howard, Spc. Nicholas R. Idalski, Spc. Darius T. Jennings, CWO Philip A. Johnson, Kendall, Cpl. Dustin L. Johnson, Spc. Anthony D. Kinslow, Pvt. Joseph L. Knott, Spc. Jared W. Kubasak, Sgt. Larry R. Kuhns, Maj Douglas A. La Bouff, CWO Matthew C. Laskowski, Staff Sgt. William T. Latham, Pfc. Vorn J. Mack, Pfc. Nicholas A. Madaras, CWO Ian D. Manuel, Spc. Joseph L. Martinez, Capt. Michael R. Martinez, Cpl. Stephen M. McGowan, Staff Sgt. Frederick L. Miller, Sgt. Gordon F. Misner, Sgt. Keman L. Mitchell, Staff Sgt. Jason W. Montefering, Sgt. Milton M. Monzon, Spc. Jose L. Mora, Staff Sgt. Brian L. Morris, Sgt. James P. Muldoon, Pfc. Robert W. Murray, Sgt. Dimitri Muscat, Sgt. Julio E. Negron, Spc. Louis E. Niedermeier, Capt. Eric T. Paliwoda, Staff Sgt. Dale A. Panchot, Sgt. 1st Class Eric P. Pearrow, Spc. Brian H. Penisten, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher W. Phelps, Spc. Eric J. Poelman, Staff Sgt. Andrew R. Pokorny, Spc. Justin W. Pollard, Spc. Robert C. Pope, Sgt. 1st Class Neil A. Prince, Staff Sgt. Michael B. Quinn, Spc. Tamarra Ramos, Pfc. Mario A. Reyes, Spc. Lizbeth Robles, Spc. Ricky W. Rockholt, 2nd Lt. Charles R. Rubado, Staff Sgt. Alberto V. Sanchez, Spc. Luis D. Santos, Sgt. Stephen P. Saxton, Maj. Mathew E. Schram, Spc. Stephen M. Scott, Sgt. Jacob M. Simpson, 1st. Lt. Justin S. Smith, Spc. Michael J. Smith, Pfc. Armando Soriano, Sgt. Timothy J. Sutton, Pfc. Robert A. Swaney, Spc. Wade Michael Twyman, Pfc. Brian S. Ulbrich, Sgt. Melissa Valles, Chief Warrant Officer Brian K. Van Dusen, Staff Sgt. Justin L. Vasquez, Spc. Brian A. Vaughn, Pfc. Ramon A. Villatoro, Sgt. Antwan L. Walker, CWO Stephen M. Wells, Sgt. Charles T. Wilkerson, Cpl. Jeffrey A. Williams, Spc. Ronnie D. Williams, Sgt. Taft V. Williams, Spc. Thomas J. Wilwerth, Spc. James R. Wolf, Pfc. Eric P. Woods, and Sgt. James R. Worster