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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/26/10

A Conversation with an Ordinary Activist Against US Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

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Tom Over
Message Tom Over
This is part of a series of articles to present the ideas of a few of the people who participated in the March 20 protest on Washington, D.C.

Before the march, at a rally in Lafayette Park, located directly across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, one protester, Paul D. Morosky from Uncasville, Connecticut carried a sign that read: " End These Racist Wars."

Speaking in person he said, "The wars probably were assisted in their creation because of the use of racial issues. It goes far deeper than that. The wars themselves are being fought against people who we are referring to as 'haji's', 'towel-heads,' and 'sand niggers.' These are all racial slurs that help to demean the 'other side' and allow our troops and Americans in general to look down upon people of the Middle East. This also is seen right here in America.

"Not only that but when you think about the poverty draft that we have going on in this country, because basically there are no jobs, you see this too as a level of racism. These kids are getting out of school and they got nothing else to do with no ability to obtain higher education. So they sign up for the military as it looks like a great way to move ahead, and get an education. They are not truly made aware of the intended use of them as killing machines. They're being used as cannon fodder for these wars."

When we spoke at the protest in D.C., Morosky said there are many reasons the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are bad, but that the racist aspects of it is something he wants to call people's attention to. By way of email I asked Morosky if he is referring to Black and Brown folk, from the inner city along with low-income White folk who may live in rural as well as urban and suburban parts of our country.

"Of course white as well," he wrote in the email. "Unfortunately our racist society here in America has kept our citizens who are of color in the lower classes of society, which are targeted by the military industrial complex. There is a high-tech military recruiting center that allows children as young as 14 to come play video warfare games for free. This is directly targeting a poorer segment of our society."

Shortly before posting this article, I emailed Morosky, asking for more information about that high-tech recruiting center. I will add that information when he responds.

I asked him if he is involved in efforts in his local community aimed at stopping the wars. I asked him that because a commenter on Democratic Underground suggested that local protesting is as good as, if not better than, going to D.C. It involves us being more likely to form relationships with people in our communities who see us protesting week after week.

Morosky responded by email. "My wife and I currently participate in a monthly vigil that we hold locally as the War Moratorium in Norwich, CT. We participate in other local events as well. We hold a monthly free DVD movie/documentary showing at our local library in an effort to build community based around information that doesn't otherwise play at 'a theater near you'. However, any media attention our national movement can gain seems to only happen when we gather in force and speak with one voice as was happening(during the protest on March 20 in D.C. )." Those are my words in parentheses.

Last week, as the time to take a chartered bus trip from Columbus Ohio to D.C. drew near, someone said to me that going to D.C. is a waste of time. I told Morosky about this when we spoke in person.

"Whether or not my fellow citizens want to come out and join us is completely up to them, but I can't bury my head in the sand." He said protesting in D.C. is a way to get our country to do a better job of living up to it's core principles. "Staying home isn't going to get it done."

At the time of writing this article, the Peace of the Action website, which has been a source of information for the March 20 protest, does not have under it's "Our Demands Are Simple" section the demand that the US end its support for Israel.

Perhaps it never did. I may have made a mistake and thought that was one of the demands associated with the March 20 protest. Whichever, when I spoke with Morosky in D.C., I asked him about the realism of demanding that our government end its support for Israel.

" I understand that the demands do seem a bit strong. I have mixed feelings about Israel. I have many Jewish friends, but I guess my biggest thing with Israel--especially with the houses being built on the settlements---We (the US) scold them for this but we don't try to make a difference by cutting some funding for them. They certainly get a lot of money from the United States. So, it would be good to try to use that as leverage to move forward with peace in the Middle East."

Later that day, as I bicycled through a part of downtown D.C. where the march had been, I saw signs along the side of the road, apparently left there by counter-demonstrators. One sign read "Build Bibi Build." This is a reference to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu aka 'Bibi' and the announcement earlier this month of Israeli plans to build 1,600 new settler homes in an area of the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Authority as well as the US State Department say those plans are damaging to peace negotiations.

Morosky said corporate interests motivate the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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My website is civicallyengaged.net. I chose that name because, so far, the term 'civic engagement' comes closest to describing the gist of my endeavors. Here is the Wikipedia definition for civic engagement: "individual and collective actions (more...)
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