By Jill McLaughlin
As a child I would always wonder what it be would be like to see a monster rising out of the waters of Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. My head was filled with stories about the Loch Ness Monster and sea monsters that ships encountered on the open waters of the worlds seas.
I could see myself wide eyed, heart pounding, sucking in my breath in a gigantic gasp and frozen. I remember also seeing ancient maps in books which would show the land masses discovered and mapped by explorers. In the areas of open waters there would be an image of a sea dragon with the words “here there be monsters”. There was no evidence that there were actually monsters in those parts, but it was more a matter that those waters had not yet been explored.
Both memories serve to remind me of where America is at right now. On the one hand with the release of the torture memos, you have people who are almost frozen and gasping with outrage and shock. They don’t know what to do about the fact there is going to be no prosecutions for those responsible. Then on other hand you have people (and some of the same people) who are unaware that the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are no where near over and that Afghanistan is not the “good war” where we catch the bad guys and liberate those poor women.
In reality we’ve made it worse for those same said poor women. Hamid Karzai , the U.S. puppet in Afghanistan, recently signed a piece of legislation that essentially says a man has a right to rape his wife Read Here. But some American people are only too happy to believe what Obama has said about Afghanistan being the “good war” to fight terrorism. They seem unaware that unmanned drones authorized by Obama have bombed Pakistan killing hundreds of civilians and displacing hundreds of thousands. You can almost here them thinking “No, I don’t want to go there. He’s doing a good job and he’ll make good on his promises. He’s our hope. And he has said we will not torture. We must stay on course” They hold onto this even when he has said there will be no habeas corpus for those detained at Bagram detention center and signed an executive order which allows rendition.
The thing is, and I’ve said this before in a previous essay, the “war on terror” and torture are inextricably linked Previous Essay .With out one you can’t have the other. And it’s past time that the people of this country to explore the unchartered waters of why Obama is carrying out the very policies, so hated by many under the Bush Regime. And for those whose conscience is awake it’s time that you explore the unchartered waters of a mass movement of resistance that does not confine itself to politics as usual and the politics of the possible. Let’s not kid ourselves here folks these occupations and torture for empire and we better start acting like we hate what’s all being done in our name. It’s not enough to say you hate it.
Just this past Thursday, Debra Sweet, the national director of World Can’t Wait joined with Witness Against Torture in front of the Capital to demand a close to Guantanamo. She and 60 others dressed in orange jump suits to represent the 200 some detainees still being held at Guantanamo. Each person in the action bore the name of a detainee. They then marched to Lafayette Park in front of the White House. When they were told to disperse they refused and were arrested. The most beautiful part of this action is the fact that the detainees were told by their lawyers that this action was going to take place Read Debra’s Message.
Right now as I write this, Elaine Brower, national steering committee member of World Can’t Wait and member of Military Families Speak Out, is sitting in a jail near Philadelphia with 6 others. They went to the Army Experience Center (AEC) that sits inside a mall in suburban Philadelphia. The AEC lures young people into the military, by allowing them to play video games that simulate war. The activists were attempting to serve a criminal complaint on the AEC as well as the owners, Simon Property Group. The complaint reads in part that the AEC is involved in the solicitation of minors by soliciting them to act in violent manner therefore supporting criminal behavior. WCW believes strongly that there must be strong opposition to the militarization of our youth who are government uses and throws away to maintain these criminal occupations.
Here in Chicago tomorrow I will have the honor of speaking on a panel with Cindy Sheehan, an Iraq vet, a youth activist, and a counter-military recruitment activist to discuss on opposing military recruitment, protesting escalating wars: creating resistance in the age of Obama. More on Event
It is these types of actions and these kinds of forums of resistance, done by everyone that hates what is being done in our name, that challenge the conscience and that awake the conscious that will result in the movement to stop the crimes of government. The only monsters there will be is ourselves and those who perpetrated crimes in our names if we ignore and refuse to charter these waters.