The Silent Anniversary

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan, but you won’t hear much about it. The Los Angeles Times prefers to put the Standford upset of USC front and center on the front page while burying a tiny news story about a suicide attack in Afghanistan that killed one soldier and four Afghans in the middle of the paper. Where the mainstream media fails, we, at least, can hope for the alternative activist community to pick up the slack, right?

Whereas Los Angeles is gearing up for yet another protest demonstration against the War in Iraq later this month, the city had nothing to offer on the anniversary of the first war of the twentieth century; Afghanistan. Surprisingly, the city of Santa Ana in Orange County did hold an event to mark the eve of the war on Afghanistan calling for the removal of US troops in the Central Asian country. However, the demonstration had two factors working against the probability of a sizable turnout.

  1. 1) The fact that it was in Santa Ana (a peripheral sphere of the core that is Los Angeles)
  2. 2) The fact that the protest was against the war in Afghanistan (A cause that, admittedly, people tend to give less than a shit about)

Given those conditions, I was not surprised when I arrived to Delhi Park in Santa Ana to find that the Messicans playing futbol on a Saturday afternoon outnumbered the protesters! I can never guess turnout figures accurately, but I’d say that the demonstration was attended by thirty-five people max. The demonstration outside the military recruitment center was rendered mildly ineffectual by the fact that it was closed. There were no interactions between diametrically opposed social forces in the community. (Which the importance can’t be understated as prominent Democrats have called for an increase of troops in Afghanistan) Despite these issues, the protest was better to have taken place, than to have never taken place at all. It’s a start, which at the very least is something.

Why the silence? Is it perhaps due to the notion that everything is going swimmingly in the occupation of Afghanistan? Of course not. In the past two years, reports have told us otherwise. Last year, I cited a Senlis Council’s report on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan in my review of “Bleeding Afghanistan” for Zmagazine. This year, a new United Nations report indicates that Afghanistan is facing its bloodiest year since the US-led invasion in 2001. One-thousand more security-related deaths have occurred so far this year than in all of 2006.

Six years ago, I remember being a student at the University wondering which direction the history of the twenty-first century might take. With the weight of what the twentieth century had been to humanity on my mind’s ruminations, the attacks of September 11th took place. In the run up to the war in Afghanistan, the United States was caught up in a fervor of revenge. I felt so out of place. One way I dealt with the uber-patriotism of the times was to mockingly imitate wrestler “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan by crossing my eyes, sticking out my tongue, giving the thumbs up, all while screaming “Hoooooooo!” anytime the President said some jingoistic bullshit! More seriously, I also dipped my pen into the inkwell of my soul to try to lyrically capture the feelings I felt. On this sixth anniversary, I leave you with the poem I wrote six years ago in protest of the war on Afghanistan:

Murder

 

Children of suffering
What can my words do?
You, who had nothing
Absolutely nothing to do
With the mayhem of New York
I ask why it must be you
Whose journey of life
Will be cut short
By the swift sword of the empire
The unforgiving vengeance
of the black hearted power

 

They will gasp at the loss of souls
When it happens on their soil
Then they will clean their conscious
And claim “collateral damage”
When they act in “self-defense”

 

Children of Afghanistan
Innocent youth caught
In the crazed crossfire
Of men drive mad
By ideas and violence

 

I will grieve deeply
When dark nights over Kabul
Claim the lives of children
Who will soon cease to be…

 

If only it were up to me!
I would murder the undying hunger
I would murder the misery
I would murder the oppression
Not you…

 

If only it were up to me…

 

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