Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It Was Five Years Ago Today...

Approximately five years ago, while donning my bright tie-dyed hoodie that SCREAMS “idealistic liberal”, I, along with some of my high school teachers and peers walked out of school and stood alongside Kensington Road with signs protesting the war that President Bush had just proclaimed.

The whole thing felt so cool and retro to me at the time. After years of being inundated with stories, movies, songs and trends related to the sixties, I’d fallen in love with the decade (thanks much in part to being raised by Baby Boomers). I had a romantic idea about protesting. I imagined myself in a long, flowing (yet ill-fitting) sarong, swaying to the music, and flippantly proclaiming, “Give peace a chance…dude!”

Well, if you’ve met me, you know that I usually don’t proclaim things in opposition flippantly while swaying. It just doesn’t look all that great on me (kind of like that sarong). Plus, it’s not so effective.

When I was eighteen, I knew I was opposed to war and I knew that it didn’t make sense. I conscientiously object to violence, and as cliché as it may sound; I learned at an early age that it never is the answer.

Nowadays, I try as best I can to inundate myself with information about current events and the role I play in them. The more information I learn, the more I find that it would be much more painless to just turn away and not know…because it sucks. Sometimes the weight of the problems we humans have caused in the world is a big, disgusting pill to swallow.

Five years later and I still wear that hoodie sometimes (usually in the comfort of my own home), and I’m still an idealistic liberal, just a whole lot more informed- not only in terms of current events, but of myself as well. (Aww, shucks.)

It isn’t fun to protest a war. It has nothing to do with flippant proclamations and looking cool. It has everything to do with being disgusted and heartbroken at what one’s country has embarked on for reasons that are still unclear, and utilizing our rights to stand up and say “No!” and to vote accordingly.

For your reading displeasure, here are some stats:

- 3,989 US Soldiers Killed, 29,395 Seriously Wounded

- About $600 billion of US taxpayers' funds.

o President Bush has requested another $200 billion for 2008, which would bring the cumulative total to close to $800 billion.

o U.S. Monthly Spending in Iraq - $12 billion in 2008

- Journalists killed - 127, 84 by murder and 43 by acts of war

- Journalists killed by US Forces - 14

- Iraqi Police and Soldiers Killed - 8,009

- Iraqi Civilians Killed, Estimated - A UN issued report dated Sept 20, 2006 stating that Iraqi civilian casualities have been significantly under-reported. Casualties are reported at 50,000 to over 100,000, but may be much higher. Some informed estimates place Iraqi civilian casualities at over 600,000.

- Iraqi Insurgents Killed, Roughly Estimated - 55,000

- Non-Iraqi Contractors and Civilian Workers Killed - 548

- Non-Iraqi Kidnapped - 305, including 54 killed, 147 released, 4 escaped, 6 rescued and 94 status unknown.

Also- check out Gary Kamiya’s article, “Of War and Cancer”.

Never think that war, no
matter how necessary, nor how
justified, is not a crime.

Ernest Hemingway

Peace out. Literally.

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