Close your eyes for one moment and take one deep breath. Now pay attention. My friend Jeff was wrongfully arrested. While in custody they used a power drill on him and burned him in the face and eyes with acid before they shot him in the head. I have a hard time not crying every time I think about it.
The feelings in the deepest part of my face and in the pit of my stomach certainly don’t go away when I let myself remember that his name is really Mohammed. Can anyone explain to me the logical difference in having him called by a different conventional human label called a name? Or that it’s happening right now and every day as the U.S. hands more people over to Iraqi police knowing they will be tortured and killed. This is a fact that our own U.S. government documents prove. Government documents released by WikiLeaks also show “‘. . . how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents,’ (Guardian) ‘Incident by incident, the reports resemble a police blotter of the myriad ways Afghan civilians were killed — not just in airstrikes but in ones and twos — in shootings on the roads or in the villages, in misunderstandings or in a cross-fire, or in chaotic moments when Afghan drivers ventured too close to convoys and checkpoints’. (N.Y. Times) ‘The Nato coalition in Afghanistan has been using an undisclosed “black” unit of special forces, Task Force 373, to hunt down targets for death or detention without trial … The logs reveal that TF 373 has also killed civilian men, women and children and even Afghan police officers who have strayed into its path.’ (Guardian)” [Emphasis added] “A Canadian press report indicates that Kandahar’s main hospital is overflowing with civilian casualties, and that ‘on some days, the floor is red with blood’.”
But what about national security? Aren’t they trying to kill us? “McChrystal said that ‘for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.’ By so doing he made it clear that killing civilians is not only a moral and war crimes issue, but — in today’s interdependent world — also threatens U.S. national security.”
We’re limited human creatures that have trouble with large numbers. I know I can’t even picture 100 people being killed in one thought. But remember Jeff, what if he was your friend, your brother, your sister. Can you just try for a moment to hold in your mind the pain of that loss of that one person. Just for a moment. Now multiply that pain by 2. Do it another time. Take your time. Multiply it one more time. I guarantee you can’t keep going long enough to understand the amount of pain in suffering caused in your name and in my name in Afghanistan and Iraq right now. Literal war crimes. Stuff we killed Nazi’s for after World War II.
If you’re a person that cares about human suffering, that is, if you’re not a sociopath or a psychopath I highly recommend checking out the article below for starters. I hurt too much inside to keep going to work and spending time with my family just pretending that everything is ok.
I’ve started hanging out on the sidewalk in front of my local courthouse in observance with a few friends when I can. I’m tired of feeling alone and powerless. Let’s feel powerless together. At least it will be less lonely. I don’t get in the way. No one else needs to notice or care until they do. I work the weekends but feel free to go every Sunday or any other day you might choose to arbitrarily care about the rest of humanity. If you’re a candlemaker you can bring candles or whoever or whatever you want safely and in the context of peaceably assembling. Fuck War.