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"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Getting the body into shape - or the shape of four soldiers' bodies

I speak with another young man, white, college student, very short, excited, leaving the MRS after a few hours of brotherly working out! He is very new, as I can tell - no one has yet instructed him NOT to talk with us!

He tells me how excited he is to work out, how good it feels to stretch and challenge his body, he wants to be strong, shapely, manly - I add the later.

I tell him to enjoy how it feels now, if he's considering joining, for he will get sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, and he will probably return unable to work out at all.

He gets a smug look across his face, he is ready to contradict me. "Oh no," he says. "You are mistaken. We've withdrawn from Iraq." Then he smirks, superior with inside information and says "No U.S. soldiers will be dying there anymore. Obama has removed the forces."

I am able to smirk back and say to his shocked face "Tell that to the four young men who have been killed already this month in Iraq."

I can tell he struggles between believing me and believing what he must have been recently fed inside the MRS.

I urge him to join the y, join a gym, take phys ed at college, if he wants to strengthen his body. I remind him that he is young - strengthening his body should be life-long commitment and how will he be able to fulfill that commitment when in a few short years of his life he puts himself into a dangerous situation that is almost impossible to recover from.

I ask him if he ever notices homeless men. Of course he has. He is now cautious but still wanting to be dismissive. I ask him if he knows what percentage of the homeless are ex-soldiers.

He doesn't guess. He waits for me to tell him. 25% - ONE QUARTER of all homeless began their military careers much as he is contemplating. And look what shape their bodies are in. For example...

Defending our Country..... HOW?

It is always difficult to address those with the mentality “we gotta go kill them before they come kill us”. But when this comes spewing out of the mouth of a young, seemingly educated, seemingly ‘innocent’ white male, I just wonder what has made him accept such violence so early in his life.

I attempt to engage such a young man today at the MRS as he is leaving to go to his car. He claims he is late for work, so he doesn’t have time to talk. I walk with him the three blocks to the parking garage, asking him why he is joining the marines. He tells me he wants to defend his country.

When I ask him how is being the occupying military force of a foreign country “defending our country”, the only thing he can say – after acknowledging no one in Iraq attacked the U.S., Iraqi’s live in extreme poverty now, Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction and not even weapons capable of threatening us – the only thing he can say is we have to kill them before they kill us.

I tell him, if he joins the marines, HE is the one who is going to part of the military force doing to others that he is afraid they are going to do to us.

I tell him this is why we have to have this conversation. For he does not know the truth. If he spoke the truth, if he said “I’m joining the marines to protect our corporations’ and our rich peoples’ right to exploit every other country in the world” then I would not have to stand out in front of the MRS and engage in dialogue.

Before we part, he turns to me and tells me he is defending “free trade” and that’s the truth.

Well, yes, “free trade” as in we (our corporations) are “free” to go into any country and take their resources, at great harm to that country and great profit to our corporations – and great commodities for us!