DO NOT GO - YOU DON'T HAVE TO!!!
I spread out a table of CodePINK wears and info and began talking with many of the young people who were coming to see the plays put on by the students from the drama department.
One young womon solemnly approached the table, listened to my spiel about CodePINK – hardly anyone here told me they’ve heard of CodePINK – and then pointed to one of the shirts that proclaimed “Troops Home NOW” and told me she didn’t know if she agreed with that.
I asked her how come? She told me one of her best friends was in the marines, went to Iraq and was happy to be there. She said he CHOSE to be there: he was even wounded once and he refused to be sent home; he wanted to stay in Iraq and go back to the battle field. He did. And he was killed.
She insisted, tears running down her face, this was his choosing. I took both her hands in mine, and told her how he didn’t really have a choice. I told her about the billions of dollars the government and the corporations that are running war have spent to figure out how to brainwash young people.
I told her how her friend didn’t have a chance – they have figured out how to make him more loyal to his buddies, his officers than to his own mother, friends, or even to himself.
I asked her did her friend tell her about the horrific things he had to do? She nodded slightly. I asked her does she know why we are there in Iraq? Another young person, wearing a t-shirt that declared “army”, came to stand behind her.
He said we’re in Iraq because they attacked us on 9/11. I said, no, there wasn’t one Iraqi on the planes that hit the twin towers. He then said we’re in Iraq to bring freedom to women. I said no, actually women have less rights, safety, jobs now than under Hussein – in fact, women in Iraq feel they have been thrown back into the dark ages.
I asked him if he’d ever spoken to an Iraq woman before. He said no. I told him I happened to speak with a woman from Iraq last week, whose family came here to escape Hussein. She spoke of her country in such loving term, her whole face glowed – like I speak of Yosemite or New York City (my fave city in the nation!).
She said she had free health care, free education, a really good job. She said her country was beautiful, the desert unbelievable; the cities, the country-side, the water – her face seemed etched with the beauty of Iraq.
She said even though her family fled Hussein, they NEVER wanted war, they NEVER wanted the U.S. to invade her country, they NEVER wanted bombs and planes and soldiers with boots and guns.
He listened carefully to me. He then said he knew we were in Iraq to protect our oil interests.
I asked him how did he feel killing civilians in order to protect oil for Exxon and Chevron? He said he didn’t feel good about that.
I told him not to go. DO NOT GO!
I didn’t have GI Rights hotline cards but I wrote down the info on a flyer.
I hope like hell he doesn’t go.