Manuel Valenzuela: The Antiwar Movement Awakening
The Antiwar Movement Awakening
By Manuel Valenzuela
The Iraq war is this generation’s anti-war and peace movements’ Vietnam. To this reality we must awaken, for in tragedy can an enormous opportunity be seen. The awakening is already taking shape, yet for it to triumph it must continue growing, waking from the doldrums of decades of complacency, dusting off the cobwebs of resistance and evolving to new times and means. It is up to us, millions strong, some more vocal than others, some more courageous than most, each with different talents and abilities, each with one common purpose. We must become the patriots of old, those espoused by the Declaration of Independence, helping to end a war with no cause or purpose, helping to bring the troops home, away from death and maiming, back to normalcy and security. The anti-war, peace movement must begin where it left off, fierce and unrelenting, eager to triumph over corruption and malfeasance, knowing that dissent and protest is as American as apple pie, secure that the America of Bush and the elite is not the America of the majority.
Our government has been taken from us, given instead to the corporate world, transforming a land of beauty into a land of garbage, full of refuse, poison, toxins and pollution. The foods we digest kill tens of thousands each year, the air we breathe kills thousands more, the regulations of governance no longer serve the people, only the corporations that today control politicians and hence the most powerful government in the world. Our loved ones die for money and profit and the bottom line; we are being used, abused and exploited. Our jobs are taken abroad, our wages are suppressed, our minds are being brainwashed and our children are being dumbed down. The America our ancestors immigrated to and believed in , the America of dreams and happiness and vast potential, the place where no talent was left behind and opportunity never ceased is being gutted, transformed into the nightmares of times long gone by.
We are hated the world over, now considered a pariah state. The President is the most hated man in the world, seen as the number one terrorist. American citizens are, more and more, seen with disdain and scorn, unwelcome and unwanted. To the world we are a nation of warmongers, racists, colonizers and selfish greed addicts ruining the planet for our own voracious materialism. We allow a war to continue, even when it is based on nothing more than propaganda and lies. We fail to question authority or seek accountability, refusing to stand against the inherently evil actions and policies of our government. We allow ourselves to be manipulated and exploited as unconcerned we remain to what our government does in our name. To the world, we are all sadists, torturers, mass murderers and hypocrites, believing the bull manure our government spits out of bringing freedom, democracy and liberty to the world even as we are the greatest threat to each principle through our blatant support of coups and state terrorists, financing of tyrants and dehumanizing occupations and meddling into nations’ internal matters and elections.
Thousands of our loved ones are dying and suffering horrific mental and physical damage for a war based on lies and deceits, where the only justification is profit and control. Just like Vietnam, the elite have condemned over 100,000 innocent Iraqis and thousands of American soldiers to premature death. Their weapons of human wickedness have and continue to destroy the environment, poisoning air, land and water, razing cities, importing carnage and savagery. Their depleted uranium has already killed tens of thousands since 1991, including 11,000 American veterans of the first Gulf War. Millions are now living in radiation filled toxic lands, exposed to cancers, disease and fetal deformities. Tens of thousands of American soldiers will undoubtedly bring back pulverized uranium back home, dying in clandestine misery, covered up by the government, giving birth to cancers and disease and child deformities, radiation living inside their bodies until they cease to exist, dying prematurely and without reason.
Like Vietnam, moral and honorable young men, and now women, have been transformed into conduits for murder and hatred and human evil, forever to be condemned by the demons of a war of choice, not necessity, based on lies, not truth, protecting profit, not the population. History is once again repeating itself, as it always does in times of feeble and unwise leadership, helping send America down the black hole of barbarity, mass psychosis and regressive division, condemning those residing inside the belly of the beast.
History is indeed repeating itself, with one notable exception, however: the anti-war, peace movement. It is true that small manifestations can be seen around the nation. A hundred here, a thousand there, the brave among us have indeed taken to the street in sporadic manifestations of passive aggressiveness. Yet something is amiss in this great nation that once thundered through the plains and the mountains and the valleys, bringing to their knees presidents and elites, echoing in unison the dissatisfaction of governance and the wrongness of a war based on lies. The voice of the people shook foundations and crumbled power, helping to end a terrible and heinous war that had killed mercilessly and seemingly without purpose. The power of the people stood like a giant monolith, moving to the tunes of peace and love, helping restore sanity to a senseless nation. The beauty of protest and dissent and debate awoke a nation back to reality.
Since the end of Vietnam, however, the voice of the people has been turned silent, clandestinely controlled by the system through years of conditioning. For decades we have witnessed on the margins at the evil committed in our name, unable to stand together, unable to demand change. A new challenge is upon us, however. A new war, a new quagmire, a new warmongering few infected with the virus of greed and apathy for their fellow human beings have been birthed. This group threatens our way of life, they threaten to turn this nation into a true corporatist state bereft of civil rights, infiltrated by mass psychosis and a police state. They threaten to make America a warmongering empire whose purpose is perpetual war. They threaten to enslave us to the dictates of the corporate world, dumbing us down further, using us as human energy producing and consuming. Without feeling they send our flesh and blood to war, sent to kill innocent human beings. Without care they attack defenseless nations through the instruments of war and American capitalism. They are destroying the fraternity of nations and the livability of the planet. They respect nothing but the Almighty Dollar and his sister greed, and today have embroiled us in a debacle spawning a hornet’s nest of hatred and vengeance.
It is time we say enough is enough, that the American people refuse to sit idly while a few miscreants destroy our nation and our world. It is time to show the world what we once were, and are capable of once again becoming. It is time we make our government accountable. It is time to end the madness of this illegal and immoral war. It is time to bring the troops home and leave Iraq to Iraqis. It is time to resurrect the anti-war, peace movement. It is time to stand together, marching shoulder to shoulder, rising in one united voice, bringing leaders to account and the system that shackles us to justice. Only we can help bring our loved ones back, for the government will surely let them die before admitting defeat. Only we can save countless more innocent Iraqis, for the government has made it policy to collectively punish and unilaterally destroy. Only we can stop the madness that is war. Only we can put the stop to the human wickedness done in our name.
Because there is no cause we need to rise up. Because we are continuously lied to we need to speak out. Because our loved ones are dying in vain we need to take to the streets. Because our instruments of death are mass murdering we need to raise our fists. Because we are moral, honorable human beings we must put a stop to an unjust and immoral war. Because there is no cause the anti-war, peace movement must rise once more, from coast to coast, inundating cities and streets. College campuses and students must awaken from their doldrums, becoming active in the Vietnam of their generation, participating to save the lives of countless souls. Twenty and thirty-somethings must escape the complacency and comfort of their existence, becoming strong voices of protest and dissent. Veterans of the 60’s need to impart wisdom and experience; academics need to inform. From high school kids to veterans of the 1960’s movements, the anti-war movement must be all-encompassing and omnipotent. It is our duty as patriots and freedom loving people to stop this war and the spread of human malice. It is our right to protest and dissent and debate, doing all we can, peacefully helping to put a stop to the death and the carnage and the human destruction.
It worked once before, helping to end the war in Vietnam. It will surely work again, yet it must begin to grow far and wide. The true extend of American dead and wounded is not being told to us, as with everything else in this war, and everyday more and more continue to fall. In us lies the salvation of tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of lives. In us lies the ability to stop the war in Iraq. This is our Vietnam, a new generation taking the torch from those previous, assigned to secure the wellbeing of the state and the welfare of the people. Bring the troops home, leave Iraq alone, bring warmongers to justice and let the truth prevail. Let the anti-war, peace movement restore balance to this great land. Let the world see that half of America still stands for truth, justice, honor, morality and love of humanity. This is our time to shine, for the sun of goodness refuses to surface. If not us, who? If not now, when?
Because there is no cause we fight. Because there is no cause we will rise. Because there is no cause we are in the right, and slowly, but patiently, in the warm embrace of hundreds of thousands, the goodness of the many will triumph over the malice of the few, and hopefully, in time, humanity will forgive us for the evil we allowed warmongers to do in our name. This is our Vietnam, this is our chance to fight the system, this is our opportunity to do good and help lead humanity away from the road of self-destruction.
What is being done in our name is not America. The president and his cabal of corruption do not speak for us. Aggressive war is anti-American. Mass murder and collective punishment is anti-American. Invasion and occupation are anti-American. George W. Bush, the neocons and the elite are anti-American. A corporatist government, a police state and corporate control over our lives is not America. Death, suffering, xenophobia, homophobia, war, maiming, apathy are not American values.
In a world usurped by corruption, in a land rotting in immorality, in a populace led by a plague of malfeasant parasites stand principles of humanity, justice, honor and togetherness. Those are American values; those are America. As such, it is our duty, our right and perhaps even our salvation to uphold these principles and return this most troubled nation back to what we once thought it to be. Our future and that of our children depend on it.
Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst, Internet columnist and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel now on sale by Authorhouse.com. A collection of essays, Beyond the Smoking Mirror: Reflections on America and Humanity, will be published in early 2005. His articles appear in alternative news websites and you can find him regularly on http://www.informationclearinghouse.info. His unique style and powerful writing is read internationally and seeks to expose truths and realities confronting humanity today. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. A diverse collection of many of his essays and articles can be found below:
Mr. Valenzuela´s new novel is now on sale. Almost 600 pages in trade paperback form on sale internationally through secure web page transaction. In one month this title will be available on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Also, if preferred, the novel can now be ordered at any local bookstore worldwide through its ISBN number (found on the sales webpage).