Stay at Home

In Nigeria, when the price of gasoline goes up, people stay at home to protest and force a reversal.

In Guinea, they did the same thing for several weeks to force an authoritarian president, who spends most of his time smoking cigarettes under a tree in his home village, to name a new prime minister.

What if, in the United States, instead of honking when they drove by a “honk against the war” sign or holding the sign, instead of marching to Washington on a sunny day, and going to a Starbucks, instead of going to rallies where everyone agrees to what is being said, instead of being a human shield in Iraq and then leaving days before “shock and awe”, what if anti-war protesters did a stay at home?

What if these protesters refused to go to work, to school, to play for a few days, and thought about the war their government is conducting, and honored the dead? Why is this only done on certain holidays? Aren’t these holidays handy covers for avoiding the real questions of the present? And why only glorious days? Shouldn’t we remember horrors, like the massacre of native Americans to establish a system of land owning land-grabbers?

Who is currently sacrificing for this war and suffering besides the soldiers and families of the dead? Some of them cloak their suffering in patriotism, pride or fatality, but why are they or their loved ones dying?

Is it to bankroll American military industries with billions of taxpayer dollars? If not, what for?

Democratic elections that favor Islamic fundamentalists are being scraped throughout the Middle East. Is that democracy? Are terrorist attacks and threats diminishing around the world?

Why do we see so few bodies and coffins returning from Iraq?

I know a journalist whose Russian photographer friend was recently blown up on a common assignment. He said all the details of his friend’s death were wrong in what was being written. He knew. He was there when the photographer was totally dismembered.

Why are so many journalists embedded? Why did it take so long for media to start scrutinizing administration policies? How many whistle blowers were initially written up as goofy radicals?

Why was so much coverage given to military briefings? Every time, I go to the scene of something in Africa, I notice what the military, what the police, what the government say is only just barely accurate, they identify something that happened, but the details and facts are usually wholly different from their version. Their aim is security, not information. Isn’t media’s role to limit abuses?

What is this rule of law we have, that we can’t apply with our current actions, requiring detention and torture centers outside US borders?

Why does the US turn itself into a laboratory of security, making it more and more difficult for non-Americans to visit, study, work, enrich this country whose very strength is precisely its diversity?

What if our extremes cause extremes? Why do we vilify certain leaders of this world, when all they are trying to do is set up alternative systems? Aren’t their systems just as imperfect as our own? Who are we to judge? Who are we to wipe out their histories so that it conforms to ours?

Do you think Kurdistan will remain peaceful?

What if our outreached, across the globe military might causes people to become suicide bombers or enemy governments to seek nuclear weapons?

Why is our logic never questioned and that of others ridiculed?

What if that poster that read what if they had a war and nobody showed up turned into, what if we had a war and we all protested? Many of us just don’t care, just push it away, just say it’s not our problem. I am a winner in this world, so I don’t care about all the losers out there. When you think about it, is that really a good approach? In your own family, would that approach solve anything?

Can your core be happy if so many neighbors are being squashed around you?

We are all responsible, we are all laissez-faire, we are all in this together.

Maybe we should start doing something, and reverse once again, a nasty current sore of many of the misguided steps and deeds we undertake, thinking selfishly, in terms of instant gratification, instant stimulation, fame and fortune and comfort, and think of our earth, its resources as sacred and common, and all of its living beings as ourselves.

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