Making “Illa-Noise” in Chicago Against NATO and the Afghanistan War
By Betty Yu, Reposted from centerformediajustice.org
“I am a daughter of an [Afghan] refugee, and my taxpayer dollars are being used to kill my family. The media is playing this [Afghanistan war] as a “good war” and that it is helping to liberate Afghan women. Bombing Afghanistan into oblivion is not going to help these women. NATO occupation out of Afghanistan!”
-Samira Sayed –Rahman, Afghans for Peace
On Sunday, May 20th, veterans of the Iraq, Afghanistan and the “Global War on Terror”, led by the Iraq Veterans Against the War, returned their war medals to NATO’s generals, denouncing and calling an end to these senseless wars.
This past weekend, President Barack Obama hosted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit in his hometown of Chicago. It’s the largest meeting in its 63-year history. The Chicago Police Department and Homeland Security declared Chicago, a “National Security Event”, and deployed thousands of federal, state and city law enforcement authorities to clamp down on a peaceful and non-violent display of protest and free speech. But long before NATO set its eyes on Chicago, the city has had a reputation as a “police state” with a history of encouraging violence against people of color and activists.
NATO’s theme this year was the 12-year war against Afghanistan, repeatedly called by the Bush (and now Obama) administration “Operation Enduring Freedom”. This weekend, as war generals and government officials met to discuss this continuation of war, the number of soldiers killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars climbed to 6428. According to a recent United Nations report,2011 was the deadliest on record for civilians in the Afghan war, with 3,021 killed.
An Anti-War Video Screens Inside the Walls of Official NATO Summit
A few days before the NATO Summit, the American Civil Liberties Union was able to negotiate 10 minutes in the official General Assembly schedule to present alternative anti-war views to NATO. I had the pleasure of editing a short 4-minute video, with guidance from IVAW and it that showed on two large 50-foot jumbotron screens during the two-day meeting. Creating videos like this in collaboration with movement-building groups like IVAW and screening in front of NATO officials, is also the embodiment of media justice.