A really good piece I think all should read!
July 1, 2005
I am longing to reach you-crossing this river of indifference and
consumption and denial. I am trying to find you, reaching out through
the desperate limitations of words and descriptions, swimming through
the rhetoric of terror and God.
I need you to wake up. The house is on fire and you are still
sleeping, lulled by the intoxication of smoke and mirrors. I need you to
wake up and I know that shaking you, scaring you will only make you
cling to your sleep and sleep more.
How then do I tell you what's going on? How do I tell you about the one
hundred thousand dead Iraqi people that you and I are responsible for
murdering.(1) Each one of them valued their life, longed for their
morning, cherished their first cup of milk or coffee or tea. In what way
shall I deliver what I learned? The substance identical to illegal
napalm that melted tender five year old skin; the cluster bombs that
have left their murderous and disguised offspring, throngs of
bomblets set to explode, scattered on the Iraqi earth; the depleted
uraninum from the Bunker Busters we dropped that now lives in lungs and
livers and soil. (2)
How do I tell you about the strategic planning of such atrocities in the
boardrooms, the backrooms, the back seats of limos, the organized take
over and looting of Iraq right out from under the terrorized, hungry,
thirsty Iraqi people. (3) How do I get you to listen to the stories of
our solidiers who are trying to kill themselves now,
longing to escape the madness of murdering and maiming for no reason. (4)
Please don't go back to sleep. I know how hard it is to hear of the
massive black holes, called prisons we have dug to hold thousands
without charging them, without trials or the torture, the meanness, the
cruelty we are inflicting upon them. (5)
America, those who now control our country have! changed and ended law.
I do not believe you are so calloused or selfish that you do not
care. Your sleep is induced. You are distracted and derailed. The
corporations have concocted and perfected these sleeping potions for
years, developing ingredients to make you despise every bit of
yourself, to feel ugly and fat and stupid and poor and not enough. And
so you spend your time and every bit of the money you do not have
buying products that will make you better, skinnier, lighter, whiter,
tighter. And as you consume and consume, the corporations consume you.
They take your money and your time and your voice and your instincts and
your outrage and your sorrow and your anger and your grief. They consume
your courage and leave fear in its place. They devour your conscience
and and your memory and your compassion.
And how do I speak when they are sure to tie my tongue? When they will
say I do not love my country or support the troops or honor the dead or
believe in their God? How do I break through your sealed wrapping, your
self-obsession, your TVheadphonedDVDcell pod?
America I am getting desperate and I know this will not get me
published or heard. Those who control the information will say I'm
extreme, that I've gone mad. But I have heard the cries of childen in
the exploding houses of Falluja.(6) I have seen the agonized faces of
the sleepless Iraqi women who still clutch the outline of their
charred dead babies in their arms. I have watched as we as a nation grow
more isolated, despised and alone.
America, there is not much time left. The fire is spreading, consuming
the world. We are the arsonsists. We will need each other to find our
way out out through the lies and haze. It will take our greatest
imagination, courage and skill to subdue these flames.
This letter was written immediately after The World Tribunal on Iraq in
Istanbul where I served with thirteen others from around the world on
a jury chaired by Arundhati Roy. The Tribunal consisted of three days of
hearings investigating various issues related to the war on Iraq, such
as the legality of the war, the role of the United Nations, war crimes
and the role of the media, as well as the destruction of the cultural
sites and the environment. The session in Istanbul was the culminating
session of commissions of inquiry and hearings held around the world
over the past two years.
1. Iraq death toll soared 'post war'-
100,000 Iraqis dead (Lancet survey)
2. US admits to use of napalm -
Irregular Weapons Used Against Iraq -
WHO studies depleted uranium in Iraq -
3. Rumsfeld, Amnesty trade barbs over prisoner abuse -
4. Army probes soldier suicides -
Military Families Against the war-
5. Rumsfeld, Amnesty trade barbs over prisoner abuse -
Systematic Use of Psychological Torture by US Forces-
6. This Is Our Guernica-
Many reading this could have written the above letter. Please share with
others who are still sleepwalking...