Friday, May 11, 2012


Since NATO is shutting down Chicago on Monday, May 21, anyway ... maybe the time has come for the whole country to take a day to pause and think about those impacted by the war-making ways of the U.S. [[ See the full details of the ceremony held in Chicago on Monday, May 21, 2012, to remember the victims of NATO violence. ]]

We already have a holiday where we reflect on the price that we, ourselves, have paid in wars both domestic and foreign - though one whose significance is "more often honored in the breach than in the observance," in all honesty.

But do Americans ever stop to think about the victims of our military might and our lack of accountability for our actions?

The Shape of Me by Tomie Arai
(read more)

When will we look and see the victims of U.S. drones killing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and a growing list of countries - rendered 100% INVISIBLE by this terrifying new technology?

When will we feel the cold and pain of displaced men, women, and children dying of hunger and exposure in refugee camps in Afghanistan and elsewhere?

When will we hear the cries of thousands of men picked up by U.S. and NATO forces and held without due process and tortured in dozens of hellholes across Afghanistan?

These are just a few of the current victims of U.S. war-making. The list goes on and on ... stretching back to the war in Iraq ... and U.S. sponsorship of Latin American oppression ... and on and on and on.

What will you do on Monday, May 21, to make it a true "Remembrance Day"? How will you draw others in to see the urgency of facing those we have injured? And to begin to see beyond ourselves?

The Shape of Me by Tomie Arai - Part of Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan, a project of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). A reproduction of this image, together with other reproductions from the Windows and Mirrors project, is currently on exhibition at St. Luke's Lutheran Church Logan Square, Chicago. Tomie Arai has written, "The Shape of Me is a silkscreen monoprint composed of dozens of images of Afghan men, women and children superimposed over images from the Vietnam War. I have printed them in camouflage colors to suggest that civilian casualties often go unreported and the lack of media coverage renders them tragically invisible. In spite of these deliberate crimes of omission, and as a result of watchdog organizations like the AFSC, the world has borne witness to the deaths of thousands of innocent war victims in both Asia and the Middle East. In response to the consequences of war, each of us is presented with the responsibility to say something and do something to prevent more killing. For better or for worse, how we respond to the moral challenges of our times defines who we are, as citizens, as parents, as neighbors, and as members of the global community. The Shape of Me is about this challenge."

Related posts

As the Obama administration expresses fury at Pakistani resistance to further NATO war operations and excludes Pakistan's president from the NATO Summit, members of the wider community will gather to memorialize people killed by U.S. airstrikes and drone attacks in Pakistan as well as in the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as U.S./NATO operations in Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere. Recognizing what veterans on Sunday called "the burden of blood that has stained these medals", Trinity Church has opened its lawn to expressions of grief and remembrance by the entire community.

(See #NATOvictims )

As we think about and discuss issues such as distancing ... authority, collateral damage, and pre-emptive violence ... surveillance ... and technology, does theology (e.g. the Creed) help us make choices about responsibility? Does it move us effectively from the "something oughta be done" stage ... through the "I can do something" stage ... up to and including the "I am doing something" stage?

(See Drones: Am I Responsible? on the Awake to Drones website)

I wonder if the outrage that many Muslims seem to feel at the suffering of other Muslims doesn't put us Christians to shame.

(See Fighting Back: It's alright as long as you're a Christian, right? )