The Humbled Americans
The death of anyone is a cause of mourning and grief. When the death is of a child the pain is intensified to infinity. The nation is now focused on the death of Caylee Anthony, a 2 year-old Florida girl. One could feel the anguish of the Grandmother as she testified in Court. The pain of the Grandmother clearly had an affect on all who watched the Trial that day.
Media psychologists/psychiatrists announce a new psychiatric diagnosis of the accused every day. The pundits refer to the family as dysfunctional even though they have no inside information and have never talked directly to family members. That is clearly a violation of professional ethics… a cruel source of pain to a grieving family.
The intense interest in the case by the media is understandable. It is all about ratings. That means money. Of course there are more important reasons for the intense interest. Courtroom drama is seductive. Will justice prevail? What exactly would be justice in this case? A child is forever taken from us. A family will never completely recover. Can there be such a thing as ‘closure’ after such an enormous tragedy?
Now multiply the tragedy by 500,000. The 24/7 media coverage of the Casey Anthony trial is in sharp contrast to the almost total blackout of the 500,000 Iraqi deaths. On May 12, 1996, CBS 60 Minutes, Leslie Stahl asked about the 500,000 Iraqi children who died as the result of USA policies. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright answered: “…We think the deaths of 500,000 children was worth it…”. Since 1996 the world has been waiting for the Press to focus in on the US policy that led to those deaths. We are still waiting. ‘Worth it’ to whom? Certainly not worth it to many people I know. Why are these deaths trivialized? Is it because most of the Iraqi children had tan skin and black hair? Is it because these children were not, white, middle class ’Americans’. Is USA Foreign Policy just too hard for political pundits in the media? Sex, scandal, and trivia are easier.
To the family of Caylee Anthony, I send prayers for strength and resilience. In spite of misinformation from pundits, there are many ordinary people who feel compassion and empathy for you.
To the families of the 500,000 Iraqi children, I send prayers. I also apologize and want you to know that some Americans are very sorry that we allowed our country to kill so many of your children.
We know that our drone attacks continue to kill your children and other civilians. We are sorry - we just are not smart enough to figure out a way to control our government. First we need to ‘inform’ the voters and our fellow citizens. How can we make that happen? We are just not smart enough.
As the 4th of July approaches, many ‘Proud Americans’ will rally around the flag - celebrate with parades - explode fireworks that mimic ‘bombs bursting in air’.
There will be another group - the ‘Humbled Americans’ - those who know what the USA has done - and continues to do. We will not celebrate. We will spend the day in quiet reflection. We will be mourning the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children.
ROSEMARIE JACKOWSKI firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosemarie Jackowski is an Advocacy Journalist living in Vermont. She is Founder of Justice for Children, a Peace Activist, and author of ‘BANNED IN VERMONT’.
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Banned in Vermont
Interview with advocacy journalist and author Rosemarie Jackowski
I’ve known radical grandma Rosemarie Jackowski (RMJ) for several years now and even interviewed her in 2005 about her arrest and court case. In light of her unique story and her tireless commitment to justice, I (and others) have encouraged her to write a book for years. Well, I’m happy to say, RMJ has delivered as only she can with Banned in Vermont.
A wide ranging collection of essays, memoirs, and more, Banned in Vermont shines a light on topics the US justice (sic) system, wartime propaganda, feminism, capital punishment, GMOs, and so much more—all fulfilling the book’s cover promise: “unedited, uncensored, unpretentious, unabashed.”
The following is a conversation I recently had with Rosemarie Jackowski:
Mickey Z: Why did you write this book?
Rosemarie Jackowski: My main purpose was to chip away at some of the misinformation out there. Not only in Vermont, but across the US. For example, many people believe that protesting, or as I prefer to think about it, resistance to the government, is a fun filled, rowdy experience reminiscent of images of the ’60s. Protests now are different. Much more serious. Right now there are many peace advocates in prison. Recently those who protested at the US School of the Assassins at Fort Benning were convicted. Usually those who are prisoners because of acts of conscience get very little news coverage. They are in reality secret political prisoners. Bradley Manning is a political prisoner—one of the few who has attracted any media attention.
MZ: With all the ground you cover in Banned in Vermont, is there anything you left out?
RMJ: Thanks for that question. There are many little secrets hidden in the book. One of them I will leave to the reader’s imagination. It concerns testimony during the sentencing hearing. I refer to this statement on page 20: “…Seems like we were at an impasse.” Imagine being the judge who had to impose my sentence. By this time, the war had become very unpopular. I, on the other hand, was receiving a lot of public support. The press dubbed me ‘The Vermont Peace Grandma’. I had no prior record and even the prosecution admitted that my act of conscience had good intent. It was clear from testimony that my motivation was a love of children and an abhorrence to violence and war. It does appear that I had secured the moral high ground. I expressed my willingness to go to prison. It almost made me feel sorry for the judge who would have to impose a sentence. The undisclosed secret in the book that the reader will have to decide is: Was this checkmating of the system a result of my well thought out legal strategy, or was I just lucky in having the events unfold this way?
Also, left out of the book was an irrelevant bit of legal trivia. During part of this long process, I had two cases before the Vermont Supreme Court and no lawyer. I don’t think that happens very often, if ever.
MZ: What would you like readers to experience while reading your book?
RMJ: I hope that readers will experience humor, joy, and sometimes sadness—which can sometimes inspire one to action. One of the most important messages of the book is something that I sprinkled on every page that I could. That is the Madeleine Albright admission that the USA killed 500,000+ Iraqi children and she thought that the price was worth it. I remember seeing that interview with Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes way back in 1996. My immediate reaction was, ‘finally’. Now the sleeping US conscience would be awakened. I was wrong. The lack of empathy for victims of US foreign policy is mindboggling. How can that be explained?
One other important message in the book concerns the Black Budget. I pose the question: Has every election since 1947 been illegal? The Black Budget was authorized in 1947. How can those elections be legal if no informed votes were cast? If you can’t follow the money, you can’t know what your secret government is doing. Too many believe that if all uniformed members of the military were brought home, the killing would end. It is clear that more have died because of actions of the State Dept., CIA, private contractors, etc. etc, etc. In actuality, the uniformed military is only the tip of the iceberg. The real danger is with the secret US forces.
MZ: Should we expect another book from you soon?
RMJ: Not on my very old computer. Unfortunately, writing does not pay. Most authors that I know, even the really great ones, are struggling. I expect to make less than zero money on this book.
MZ: In light of the current rhetoric, do you feel there’s any “hope”?
RMJ: Not until US citizens change. That will require a change in almost everything—from the way US history is taught in schools, to the way information is disseminated to the general public. Just last night, I was talking with a friend who is a high-ranking administrator in the educational system. He has a copy of my book and said that there was a good chance that it would be banned in school libraries. On the other hand, I have already been invited to speak to a college class.
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On Monday, March 28th the city council of Hartford voted in favor of the resolution. The resolution goes on to urge residents to join thousands on April 9, 2011 for a national march in New York City that says Bring our troops home now, No to War, Cutbacks, Racism, Attacks on Muslims and Immigrants.
For info go to UNACPeace.org
With this historic vote Hartford is the first state capitol to pass such a resolution and joins city councils in Portland, Maine and Northampton, MA in saying not another penny for wars and occupations.
Below you can read the resolution:
A resolution of the city council of Hartford, CT calling upon the US government and President Obama to Bring Our War Dollars Home Now
Whereas, the economic collapse has exhausted the financial resources at the local, county, state and federal levels of the US; and
Whereas, the US government since 2001 has spent well over 1 trillion dollars nationally on the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Connecticut nearly 28 billion dollars has gone to war spending and more than $453 million has been taken from the city of Hartford to fund the wars and occupations, and
Whereas, more than 5,700 US troops have been killed, more than 40,000 wounded;
Whereas, hundred?s of thousands of civilians have been killed or wounded and the ongoing warfare poses great and unnecessary harm to the nation of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and elsewhere in the world; and
Whereas, billions of tax payer?s money is spent to prop up repressive regimes in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world; and
Whereas, educational services, medical care, housing, other essential public services, infrastructure repair, and family financing throughout Connecticut, especially in cities such as Hartford, have been diverted from a constructive economy to these wars and occupations, and
Whereas, budget deficits, largely due to war spending, have been used as a pretext to force concessions from public sector unions from California to Wisconsin to Connecticut; and
Whereas, 2010 census data shows that Hartford has the highest poverty rating in Connecticut at 31.9% (nationally, the poverty rating is 14.3%) and
Whereas, communities of color in Hartford have been hardest hit. Our city has a population that is 41% Latino and 38% African American/West Indian population. Unemployment for people of color is over 40%, and unemployment for people of color is nearly 20% and when employed, people of color make only 60 cents for every dollar made by white workers; and
Whereas, the above mentioned communities are heavily targeted for military recruitment,
Be it resolved that the city council of Hartford call upon the US government and President Obama to end the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring our war dollars home now.
Now be it further resolved, that the city council of Hartford support informational events regarding the cost of the wars and occupations to our community; and
Be it further resolved that the city council of Hartford support the right of public sector unions and all other unions to collectively bargain and defend the interests of their members; and
Be it further resolved, that the city council of Hartford urge residents to participate in the April 9, 2011 national march in New York City to end the wars and occupations and bring our war dollars home.
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