Tuesday :: Apr 25, 2006

The Time To Remember ... Is Now

by pessimist

There is a great deal of remembering tragedy going on right now. Just in the last week, the anniversaries of Colombine and Oklahoma City passed. Internationally, the Armenians are remembering 1.5 million dead from 1915 - a year also very important to the memory of thousands of Australian and New Zealander soldiers who followed charlatains and fools into Hell at Gallipoli. In addition, the world's Jews are commemorating the Holocaust at sites all over Europe, sites which should forever horrify at the very mention of their names.

This is all well and fine to remember those killed mercilessly, whether as combatants or not. But what lesson do we ever learn from such an exercise? Is such a ceremony merely - as one Australian columnist puts it - an act of national forgetting?

At Gallipoli, we confuse remembrance with entertainment, commemoration with spectacle. Every year the speeches run the gamut of patriotic cliches. No one, it seems, ever doubted the sanity of massed attacks on well-defended trench lines; no one shook with fear or died a long, painful, inglorious death from dysentery. Nothing of the massacre of conscripted Algerian troops, forced to fight for an empire that enslaved them; nothing of the 20,000 British troops whose lives were thrown away by ageing and incompetent generals.

Should we not doubt the sanity of those who ask us to go to war when there are other means by which to achieve the stated goals? Will we not in just over a month remember the almost 2400 American lives which have been thrown away in a war based on lies generated by greedy oilmen and prosecuted by incompetent power-mongers?

The time to learn the lesson is the same time to act to prevent the 'need' for future memorials. One person is attempting to do that very thing - and is being attacked for refusing to go silently along with King George's Crusade for Crude.

Animation Producer Gets Ugly Slurs
By Matthew Rothschild
April 24, 2006

Ava Lowery is a fifteen-year-old who lives in Alabama. She calls herself a peace activist, and for the past year, she’s been producing her own short animations on her website, peacetakescourage.com. All in all, she’s made about seventy of them, she says, and most of them oppose Bush and his Iraq War. "I was just so mad about it,” she explains. "And the media are not showing the real images of the war, so I did a lot research and started my own website."

She submitted one of her latest creations, "WWJD," to the monthly "contagious" contest that huffingtonpost.com is running. (It’s an open contest that ranks the number of viewers for each submission.)

"WWJD" ("What Would Jesus Do") is a powerful animation that features a soundtrack of a child singing "Jesus loves me, this I know" while one picture after another of a wounded, bloody, or screaming Iraqi child fills the screen.

"The object of the animation," says Lowery,
is "to get the following point across: Jesus loves Iraqis, too."
But she was unprepared for the viciousness of the negative feedback — especially the ugly sexual slurs similar to those that Cindy Sheehan has faced.
(If you can’t stand foul language, stop reading now.)

[I'm including this because I'm sure that all of these 'patriots' consider themselves good Christians. I want to display their hypocrisy - ed.]

"Are you a muslem [sic] terrorist?" asked [one message].

It’s people like you who need to fucking die and get raped while your corpse rots in the sun," said one e-mail Lowery shared with me.

"Fuck you, I would jack off on your parents if I could. If you don’t like the team, get out of the park. That means take ur small dick and get the fuck off of my homeland you faggot chocolate gulper."

"You are a TRAITOR to your country and should be executed for treason," another one said. "All you do is bitch about the US. If you hate it so much, why don’t you GET THE FUCK OUT."

"Why don’t you go masterbate [sic] to a pic of Sheehan and fuck off," said a third.

She says there was a threat against her that was circulating 'on the conservative underground', and she says she received one e-mail from someone who said, "Contact me ASAP. It concerns a danger to your life." When her mom called the number, the person who answered denied any knowledge of the threat, Lowery says. She adds: "I was really weirded out by it."

Luckily, there are still human beings here on this planet to let her know that she sin't alone. But, with wisdom more advanced than her years, she shows she already knows this - and more:

She says she’s received a lot of positive feedback in short messages back to her site.
But she understands that the fact that "people are on the web, and they just let loose."

As a lesson that a little child can lead them, these 'patriotic Christians' should remember the beliefs they claim to hold. She does:

Lowery ends the video with quotations from Beatitudes, including:
* "Blessed are they who mourn" *
* "Blessed are the meek" *
* "Blessed are the merciful" *
* "Blessed are the peacemakers."

But instead of learning that lesson, our war-mongering leaders intend for us to learn only that the 'valiant' dead of our wars should be remembered and honored, not the peace nor the lives they left behind to go get wastefully killed by the ill-considered mistakes of morons pretending to know how to win a war:

Even the youngest (and least well-read) travellers described Gallipoli as sacred, a place where hearts were broken as much as nations were made, one mass grave that consumed a generation. "Walking on the beach I felt a tingling up my spine," one scrawled across his survey, "history came alive, it spoke to me."

And like every traveller to Anzac Cove Priscilla, one of those surveyed, gazed in wonder at Ataturk's words carved in stone by the sea, words spoken to some of the first Australian pilgrims to stumble across the shingle:

You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries,
wipe away your tears;
your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on our land they have become our sons as well.
Ataturk's words remind us of the greatness of Gallipoli; here is a message of reconciliation we would now do well to remember.

The good news is that not everyone falls for this Male Bovine Excrement:

Yet for all the furious flag waving, one encounters something much deeper than nationalism. Within a day of arriving at Anzac, Priscilla ceased to see the fighting 'from an Australian point of view':
"On Gallipoli there are the graves of so many nations, the experience of these men transcended nationalities. I thought about human loss, human bravery, the loss their families would have felt.

"I felt despair at the wasted lives all around me."
These are not the words of some puerile nationalism.
They confront the common tragedy of war
and confirm our common humanity.

Now if only those 'patriotic Christians' in the 'conservative underground' could learn this lesson! Maybe then we could work out the other problems we all face on this planet, including some that threaten us all equally.

Please check out Ava Lowery's "WWJD" ("What Would Jesus Do") - Highest Possible Recommendation.

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