Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! For now, I’ve returned from my Joiyssey to participate in the "revolution":I’ve been at many Occupy sites across the country:1st in D.C. Freedom Plaza I faced & challenged racism/white supremacy, sexism/patriarchy, classism, heterosexism & eventually was kicked off the island; then I offered workshops as I drove to CA:“Anti-Racism Geared for White Occupiers”; “NO DRONES” "Successes and Pitfalls of OWS"

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

what If soldiers were not heroes

I’ve been hanging out at Tessie’s local independent coffee shop for the past few days. Yesterday a younger – late 20’s/early 30’s – white man, shaved head, wearing dessert-motiffed fatigues, came in for a cuppa. As he approached the counter to add milk to his coffee and came close to my table, I asked him if he was in the service.

Yes ma’am, he drawls. Have you been to Iraq? I ask with dread. No ma’am he drawls, I was injured in another war so I can’t go to Iraq.

So are you a recruiter? I ask. No ma’am, he replies. “I’m not ground troops & I don’t sit at a desk. My job is to jump out of airplanes and kill people. And I love my job.”

You love killing people? I ask. “Not people” he protests, “BAD people.”

“So which human beings that you kill are bad people?” I ask.

“Ma’am, those are the people who have rifles drawn & are trying to shoot me.” he mimes the rifle over the shoulder aimed at me.

“Like women and children” I ask, “and men?”

“Ma’am, we have strict rules and regulations in the military. We don’t go around shooting women and children – only bad people, terrorists, like I said – those people who are trying to shoot me.”

“Okay” I say, “let me understand this. You jump out of a plane, into someone else’s country – what country were you injured in?”

“Panama, ma’am” he replies.

“Ah, Panama… okay, so you drop into Panama with you rifle drawn and you face the bad people who have their rifles drawn, trying to shoot you?”

He is turning redder and redder as we speak. He has taken several steps closer to me – I was sitting but now I stand. I see his cheeks suddenly tremble.

“I am not going to do anything to you now” he throws at me. “but I’m a police officer when I’m not in this uniform and I am not going to say another word to you. I am going to leave now and this time I’m leaving peacefully.” he adds.

“Are you threatening me?” I ask.

“We’re doing a GREAT job in Iraq,” he continues as he doesn’t say another word – what he means, as usual, is that he is determined to not let ME say another word.

“We’re fighting a GREAT fight. The Iraqi people love us. We have liberated the Iraqi’s. We are NOT killing anyone but terrorists – if they’re women & children terrorists, they’re still terrorists and we’re getting them. We’re ridding that country of terrorists.”

He says more as he stalks backward toward the front door – he’s quite a ways away so he gets in a long spiel.

I walk in tandem with him “think of your humanity son, get in touch with your soul” and the like, as softly as I can so he has to stop shouting to hear me. I get to say “of course you have to believe all that in order to keep killing – don’t kill your humanity”

Today, I’m at the same coffee shop and another late 20’s, early 30’s white male starts talking w/me. He tells me he had a job yesterday, but doesn’t have it today.

Okay, I’m curious. White, male, young – and unemployed? I ask him what happened. He told me he was fired because he criticized the president.

Even though I’m on a time schedule today, I ask him to tell me everything.

Apparently, there was some kind of dinner last nite and KC was just supposed to introduce the honored guest, a civil rights worker. There were representatives from Home Depot, Costco, Kinko’s, etc., there – donors for the organization KC used to work for.

KC said he got up to speak and the words just tumbled out of him – he couldn’t help it. He was possessed. He said he looked around at all the opulence & arrogance, and he was compelled to speak. He told them “levees are broken” – he just had to say it, he said. He talked about the president & his men being the hurricane, destroying our country, not to mention the other unmentionable country (he was told not to mention) and New Orleans and the levees were just a metaphor for what is happening in the whole damn country.

They fired him that nite, when the event was over.

He talked about his wife and how upset she was – not at the injustice of being fired for telling the truth & exercising 1st amendment rights, but for his loosing his job without letting her know ahead of time.

KC defended his wife’s reaction & said she hadn’t signed on for this when she married him. I told him none of us have signed on for this – that’s another part of our tragedy. Peace, sam