Dead Civilian Day

(One last Memorial – promoted by buhdydharma )

I’m not really very impressed by arguments that one group of ‘warrior’ should be remembered, or another one –currently honored– should really not be.  

In fact the last thing I personally would want if I had died in some Smedly Butler-esq American war, is a politician tossing a wreath my way–along with say 100,000 other  dead and buried young men.   Especially not when the very same politician is ramping up one war, and paying lip service to ending another.  Better to stop creating more deaths.

More to the point though, and entirely — I mean entirely missing from the discussion is the dead civilians.  

Anyone remember those folks?  

You know–the one’s most likely cooking breakfast for their children at 8.15 one morning long ago:

Or the one’s that starved in the 1990’s in Iraq, during the embargo. Or the estimated 1,000,000 that died there in the last 8 years.

And certainly the Native Americans that Meteor Blades speaks about.  But for me not because they were soldiers, instead just the opposite, because mostly they weren’t: yes, they were defenders, but civilians most or all, in todays terms we’d call them collateral damage in other words they happened to be on something “we” wanted.  

And, if we honor only those that ‘fought’ , then do we not dis-honor those that died who were only cooking their children’s breakfast at 8.15, or in a tepee long before that day even ?  Or this very morning in Afghanistan?

I find cooking breakfast more honorable.

Our society — in instilling honor on those killed fighting wars is only attempting to create more fighters, to say to our young “yeah, you might die, but it’s for a higher purpose…and we will honor you for it…”

( yeah, I know big incentive– once a year you’ll get a wreath somewhere in the general vicinity of your grave, if we can find enough pieces of you to bury that is)

We have the capacity to do better.  And for me at least that starts with first honoring those just trying to live out their lives.

/ Peace out


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  2. It is most good to remember—

    those just trying to live out their lives.

    Sometime ago, I wrote a poem about folks just living their lives in Hiroshima.  I’ll put it in another comment.

    Thank you for this offering.  

  3.         Hibakusha

               Young mother, beautiful baby

               shadows burned in sidewalk

                              …nothing more…

               what is it to live in a land of death?

               tell, if you can


               i do not know which to honor more

               the Hibakusha who teaches me what i know

                              …or the blackbird…

               people who live in grass houses

               should not set fires

               a flock of meadowlarks

               flying at ground zero


               what kind of morning was it

               august 6th in hiroshima

               another summer’s day

               with kittens and flowers

                          …like wichita, kansas..

               did you kiss your husband goodbye

               in the morning


               leaving your mother to the flames

               pinned beneath the lintel

               what did you feel



        in this watermelon land

            i dream of your kiss and pray

                for the troubles of the land

                holding you

                i forget this blight

     and i live love… i live peace… i live light


    • rb137 on May 26, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Never doubt that a group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed that is the only thing that has…

    –Margaret Mead

    The truth is: that, and an army of tanks.

    Any time a person goes to war it is tragic. But we live in a world that is strong on bombs and short on ideas. Ideas are so much slower than bombs — and we are still waiting for those big ideas to dawn on the people in power. For me, Memorial Day is about honoring those who were lost to defending their own in the human failure of war, and renewing my hope to stop it.

    I am sure that if you could ask those veterans honored on Memorial Day, they would tell you that it is time that we end all wars.

    On Memorial Day every year, I renew the same promise to those dead veterans. I promise to spend each day aware — with a heart of compassion and a head that is filled with hope that we can bring peace to the world. I promise to keep the big ideas alive, and to act in this world so there will be a day when no one will die because of a large scale conflict between nations.

    I promise you that I will remember. Not just on Memorial Day, but afterward. Every day.

    And I will never forget how wonderful life can be.

  4. that the radio message sent by the crew of the Enola Gay informing their command that the bomb had detonated was this:

    “Condition normal.”

  5. And since you mention Smedley Butler:

  6. …diaries which one reads and appreciates the fact that there are at least a few kindred souls in the diversosphere.  

    The endless “poor dead soldier” diaries, the sole argument for peace being the death and maiming of Sparta’s sons and daughters, our supposedly liberal frame lauding the brave sacrifice of those who come home on their shields, protests featuring the boots of soldiers, when the shoes of dead civilians would look like that wall of shoes picture at Yad Vashem…all I gots in me is a rant.  It’s crap.  Not because the death of soldiers is anything but a tragedy, but because the story we end up telling privileges the young who we send to kill and our bloated, obscene priorities.  Those we kill are invisible and inhuman, in our horrible stories of heroism and nobility.

    /end rant.

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