An anniversary of activism by families of 9/11 victims was marked yesterday by a quiet dinner at the home of one of those arrested so long ago; so many lives and dollars ago.On March 17, 2003 Rita Lasar, Adele Welty and Bob McIlvaine of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows were among those arrested in Washington, D.C., for acts of civil disobedience against the proposed war in Iraq.They knew something then, and it has proven correct. The war was based on lies, and those lies would kill innocent people in great numbers.
The one Iraqi at the dinner knew nothing of these peace actions at the time. She was unaware of the 'good Americans' who tried to stop the devastation of her people and her nation. Now, knowing a bit more, she listened to stories of that day in a reflective silence broken occasionally by laughter at the antics of those first protesters. The trauma never fully dissappears, and once again the memories of smells and sounds, horrendous sights and fears rise up, loud noises startle, and a life changed forever by American hubris and greed struggles to regain a calm sense of security.
Iraq and its sad destruction are old news now. School children know little or nothing about it, and the trail of sadness, broken lives, and crippled society has become a minor historical note as Iraqis struggle to build a civil society and regain an old sense of safety.
Attention has shifted to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now, Lybia. The American responsibility toward Iraqis is barely felt, sparsely mentioned, and rarely acted upon. Such is the march of collective amnesia that masks compassion and protects the US population from feeling guilty about the consequences of that long ago decision to use violence to bring peace.
We can only hope that after you read this you will do one small thing today to steer the world around you to more peaceful tomorrows. Make a call, write a letter, speak to a child...donate, agitate, propagate the right path. Do something other than bury your true self in the news of the day.