Memorial Day 2008

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I just turned NPR off in outrage. It is Memorial Day during a war of aggression that has taken the lives of over four thousand US military, left hundreds of thousands maimed in mind and body, and a million dead in Iraq, millions of people refugees and homeless, and ancient treasures of human civilization destroyed. NPR, at one time an excellent source of news for people in the US, was covering a tennis tournament.

By sharp contrast, Agence France Presse recently told that country’s government that it is not a blog on which the French government can post what it chooses, that it has an editorial policy, and that the editors will decide what is published. In democracies, where there is regulation of the government and accountablilty, public news agencies are independent. In authoritarian regimes such as ours, they are propaganda organs of the repressive state. This regime wants its citizens ignorant and distracted. NPR is accommodating.

I should turn on NPR and hear the names of all those killed in this war and coverage of the atrocities being perpetrated with our tax money. But if that sort of news had been broadcast from the start, would this war still be going on?

Patrice reminded me lately that I should have a camera with me at all times because the media is completely in the pocket of the regime and we are all called on to report the truth of this period.

The truth now is so montrous and so obfuscated that I cannot really tell it. I can, however, lament the members of the US military service who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can lament the returning veterans who are neglected and mistreated by the policy and the incompetence of this regime. I mourn those who are so maimed in body that they will never recover, those so injured in mind that they take their own livers or live in desperation. I mourn those who have been tortured and those whose work in the service was to torture others.

On this Memorial Day, I remember. I remember democracy in this country. George and I were singing “My country ’tis of thee” last night, but I can no longer call it the sweet land of liberty. We are the bitter land of aggression and oppression. Never perfect in offering liberties to all, this country once aspired to do so. Its principles allowed reformers and patriots to challenge its failings. I remember that. I remember habeas corpus rights and the principle of presumption of innocence until guilt is proved. I remember elected officials who responded to constituents and who were not wholly owned by big corporations.

I don’t know what to do to restore this country. I have written, called, marched, protested, blogged, published articles. I will continue to do what I can to effect positive change.

But today, I will mourn. I will mourn those who have died serving their country, mine and others. I will mourn the death of freedom and liberty here. I will not turn away nor distract myself today.

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