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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

my WAR HAIR, and Winter Soldier screening 

When I first started telling people outside my group of close friends about waking on the morning of the third anniversary of our American invasion of the innocent people of Iraq and deciding to not cut my hair until our soldiers come home, people wanted to give me advice, or YELL at me about HOW I Should do it. But I chose to do this to remind me every morning about what we've done, and continue to do.

Steven Vincent from San Francisco, while I respect him and his poems, harped at me about how dangerous conditioners are to the environment. First of all, he was assuming for some reason that I was someone who was buying the worst possible things on the market, but I actually use safe, health food store products. And Second of all, my shampoo can't possibly be a bigger contaminant that war. Think of the endless waste caused by such destruction, mounds and mounds of toxic fluids and hardware of all kinds.

Some people said that I Should be shaving my head instead. They didn't get it at all. Some people said that I Should let it knot and dred, and they really didn't get it. What they didn't get was that my hair will get longer and longer and need more care the longer it gets. THIS WAR is getting longer and longer and needing more and more care. People are dying, and their families are suffering, while even more people are surviving blasts but will live with chronic pain until they die. And then of course there's the general, horrible condition for Iraq's people (and I especially think about the children in this) called post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD as it's called is no joke, and something I understand well from personal experience. This mental terror is crippling.

What the advice givers don't get is that I WANT VERY MUCH WANT to be taking good care of my hair. It is my metaphor that wakes me up and keeps me alert to the fact that I am living in a nation that has invaded another nation without just cause, and kills it's people, and robs and plunders its resources, and LIES about it every single day. I'm living in a nation with a finely tuned killing instinct, one that can show American Idol and other such nonsense at a nonstop pace while people in Iraq go without electricity, and fight for food.

There's no doubt that my War Hair gets me up in the morning to CONFRONT myself, to SHOW ME that I am complicit in this when I go to work, pay my taxes, which pay for bullets, pay for misery, an endless well of excruciating misery that I REALLY CAN'T fathom, but want to, on some level, understand. It's the least I can do, to want to understand.

And I feel anger towards a few Canadians I've met who want to point their fingers at the US invasion and occupation BUT YET were living in America and working in America at the time they pointed their fingers. When I mentioned that THEIR WAGES, their AMERICAN wages were taxed, and that those taxes DIRECTLY involved supporting the war, well, let's just say it was too much for them. It's been too easy for them, apparently, walking around pointing the finger, until they had to point it at themselves. But then it's always good to finally see how we're all involved, no matter how much we don't want to be.

And of course many of us do not want to be involved. The feeling of guilt is overwhelming, and sometimes when I talk with people who don't like talking about the war it's especially apparent with them, THEY who don't even want to look you in the eye when you talk about it. Am I blaming them? Maybe I am, and maybe that's wrong of me on some level. But I know that these people don't want to talk about it because they don't want it to be happening.

Then, THEN there are the people I overhear while working in the wealthiest neighborhood of Philadelphia who make my skin crawl. THE CONVERSATIONS I HAVE HEARD! Conversations about, LITERALLY ABOUT, how their Haliburton stock is DOING SO WELL! The glee of the rich in times of war makes me wonder how we're ever going to be able to get to a place in time where people actually care about everyone. Is that possible that we will come to that time? It seems impossible to me.

It seems impossible when I hear that America's wealthiest five percent have INCREASED their wealth in the last five years by forty percent! INCREASED their wealth by FORTY PERCENT! War is SO GOOD to the rich, in fact it's their favorite invention of Mother giving them long warm drinks and comfort.

Today is the 5th anniversary.

I'm not asking how long it's going to go on anymore because I don't like the answers.

CAConrad

THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 22ND, AT TABERNACLE UNITED CHURCH, 3701 CHESTNUT STREET, PHILADELPHIA, FROM 3 TO 6 PM THERE WILL BE A SCREENING OF FOOTAGE TAKEN DURING THE RECENT WINTER SOLDIER CONFERENCE IN DC SPONSORED BY IRAQ WAR VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR! THERE WILL ALSO BE REPORTS FROM SOLDIERS AND OTHERS WHO ATTENDED.

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