Friday, March 26, 2010

Interview with Bobby Whittenberg - March 20th 2010 ANSWER Coalition Protest in D.C.

On Saturday, thousands of people converged at the White House for the March 20 March on Washingtonthe largest anti-war demonstration since the announcement of the escalation of the Afghanistan war. By the time the march started at 2 p.m., the crowd had swelled up to 10,000 protesters.
Transportation to Washington, D.C., was organized from over 50 cities in 20 states. Demonstrators rallied and marched shoulder to shoulder to demand U.S. Out of Iraq and Afghanistan Now, Free Palestine, Reparations for Haiti andNo sanctions against Iran as well as Money for jobs, education and health care!

Speakers at the Washington rally represented a broad cross section of the anti-war movement, including veterans and military families, labor, youth and students, immigrant right groups, and the Muslim and Arab American community.

Following the rally, a militant march led by veterans, active-duty service members and military families made its way through the streets of D.C. carrying coffins draped in Afghan, Iraqi, Pakistani, Somali, Yemeni, Haitian and U.S. flags, among those of other countries, as a symbol of the human cost of war and occupation. Coffins were dropped off along the way at Halliburton, the Washington Post, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and other institutions connected to the war profiteering, propaganda, and human suffering. The final coffin drop-off was at the White Housethe decision-making center of U.S. imperialism.

Read Bobby Whittenberg's Blog...
Burning Flags and Tearing Down Walls
On March 20, 2010, on the seventh anniversary of the United States invasion of Iraq, at a rally across the street from the White House, before an anti-war march, veterans Robyn Murray, Matthis Chiroux, and mother of a Marine Elaine Brower burned an American Flag in protest of the violent, aggressive United States Government. As a combat wounded veteran and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, I fully support, endorse, and encourage this symbolic protest. It is important for the general public to see veterans committing non-violent acts of dissent and I hope to see more of it in the future.

This has sparked a controversy among people with more fascistic sympathies. Matthis has received threats of violence, rape, and death. Such threats truly show the character of people loyal to the American flag and the American government. Very few things are more quintessentially American than "Fall in line or we will beat you, rape you, or kill you." Just ask native americans, or african americans, immigrants, women, or the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Haiti, etc. Violence, dominance, rape, and murder are the American way and when Matthis Chiroux, Robyn Murray, and Elaine Brower lit that flag, it is exactly that type of ethos that they were challenging. If people are more upset over the burning of a piece of cloth than the death and destruction of people, then certainly their priorities are out of order. With this type of repression of radicalism, it is no surprise that this movement has been only marginally successful thus far.

The image of two veterans and the mother of a Marine burning the flag of the American empire is a powerful and striking one. It causes people to ask questions. It causes people to look beyond the lies told by the media and the administration. It is a call to arms and needs to be heeded.

Some have called this action "divisive" or "alienating." This is a clear attempt to universalize their own misguided allegiances and to push their own agenda masked in the thin veil of "propriety." Fortunately most people are capable of deeper thought than these petulant patriots. It is not always in the moment that we see the results of an action. We do ourselves and others no justice if we posit that our knee jerk reaction is necessarily the best one, and the most accurate indication of the long term affects of an action. Most of us are capable of performing a deeper analysis of things that may initially shock us long after the fact. We turn things over in the heads and ponder and analyze them. People are less often changed and moved by things that are commonplace, or everyday, but are most moved and changed by things that jar them out of their comfort zone for a moment. It is impossible to know what will inspire and what will alienate different people, as not all people are the same. What repulses one may inspire many others.

One can not help but note how appropriate it is that those who support the burning of the flag are pushing for an illumination of consciousness, a stepping into the light, while those who favor repression and suppression would wish to extinguish the flames of burning flags and the fires that burn in our hearts, driving us to seek peace and justice. To anyone with a complete and accurate analysis, the burning of an American flag symbolizes the destruction of walls built between people. It symbolizes love for all people, regardless of national origin, and is indicative of international solidarity.

Patriotism and nationalism are no different in principle than racism and they need to be challenged and combated accordingly. Let us all step into the light of a million burning flags, putting behind childish allegiances that have kept us divided. Let us burn all flags, cross all borders, and take down all walls that divide us. Let us destroy that which destroys us. Let us unite for peace and justice. Let us create a new world.

Peace, Love, and (A)narchy,
Bobby Whittenberg

No comments:

Post a Comment