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Indybay Feature

Keening At Berkeley's Marine Recruiting Station

by Bill Carpenter (wcarpent [at]

March 24, 2008: Two-minute QT movie. 30MB.
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by peachy
Keen, a prolonged wail for a deceased person (from Irish caoin).
by Brendan
I know what ''keening '' is . But it was a bad tactic for Monday at noon in Berkeley . I was walking with a group of Berkeley City Workers . All Union , all opposed to the war. They heard the keening and their collective reaction was '' What The hell is that ? '' Even after i explained their reaction was negative . '' It sounds like a typical Berkeley crazy .'' said a Filipino woman , who,by the way had talked her son out of enlisting in the Air Force . '' No wonder those pro-Bush Bikers wer able to get so much support .'' said a African-American Parks and Rec Worker , referring to the '' Eagles Up'' right wing demo that was held on 3/22 in Berkeley . (I did explain that those ''patriots ''came from all over the West Coast and were probably financed by Wel funded right wing groups .)
My point is that if a group of conscious working class folks who HATE Bush and the war were bewildered and turned off what about others ?
by octohorse (octohorse [at]
Many people are disturbed by the tactics of bringing home the blood and pain of war. In fact, the media has 'agreed' not to show disturbing photos of Iraqi civilians screaming as their children or family members die in agony, or flag-draped coffins.
This implies to me that Society has agreed that it isn't 'appropriate' for us not to manicure our natural responses to the horror of war for the public, because the public prefers to feel and discuss these things when (and if) they are good and ready, without (innocent?) passersby being forced to undergo the uncomfortableness of looking at blood or hearing wailing--in this case fake blood but real distress. I believe the intention is to get rid of messy things like feelings--that way we can continue to live in denial as we feed on the results. You know, oil from Iraq, sweatshops in China, kids enslaved by sellers ofcocoa to Hershey so we can have a cheaper chocolate bar, thirty thousand gallons of water permanently contaminated for each new computer, etc.
Who cares?
THe point is, even those wonderful folks who are against the war--what you want to give'em a medal for deigning to be a party to the truth?--aren't 'disturbed' enough. This kind of behavior --putting OTHER human life through hell for our own benefit--has to be nipped in the bud forever. Being uncomfortable is part of that. And none of what we sacrifice will make up for our failings as a people when you compare it to what the Iraqis and others have suffered directly due to our arrogance and inability to feel connected to the rest of the world. An inability to feel connected that stems directly from 'deciding' that WE shouldn't have to look at the horrors of war even as 'non-american' babies and children and mothers and sisters and fathers and brothers and grandparents suffer and die instead of just having to hear about it or see it. We should all boycott the TV's and stations that do NOT show it, and we should be ashamed of ourselves when we call others 'crazy' or 'non-american' so that we can disconnect and get on with our nintendo, our football, our meal, our job, or any other blooming thing.
I meant to say we should boycott tv stations and radio stations that do not portray a truthful visual and aural depiction of the horror of war which they currently fastidiously avoid, and we should do the same with periodicals and online news like comcast etc. We should be marching on these media stations,to bring attention to how severely they are failing the american people and subsequently the world. It is a form of racism and imperialism to take part in such a disastrous squelching of the truth,under any pretext. It is collaboration. And if you fear the blood and screaming might not be good for the children, imagine how less good a bomb dropping on their home is, which is what Iraqi children get. Why is your child better? In an honest world american parents will be even more motivated to help end the war, and all war, if the truth is all they see when they turn on the tv instead of having a fantasy land media help them pretend that they are 'good' people.
And the obsessive examination of celebrity's lives shows how desperate they are not to look elsewhere.
As is the current obsession with the meaningless changing of the corporate guard called a presidential election. This time, they are using race and gender to hold your attention. It is still a bag of meaningless lies. These people will betray the american people as deeply as Bush and co. Because they can. There is no change going to happen other than what we together painstakingly make.
by Brendan
I'm all for educating people about the horrors of war. But ''keening '' in Downtown doesn't do that. Fair or not you're likely to be dismissed as another mentally disturbed street person .
The thing is to make a contribution to ending that imperialist atrocity in Iraq and Afghanistan you need to use tactics that actually work, Not just another moral witness statement .
by BerkeleySprout
I completely agree with Brendan that this demonstration did little to further Code Pink's cause. It was the most obnoxious, too -- until the April Fool's debacle which completely undermined any credibility Code Pink had. Maybe if they hadn't been interview by local media lying "to keep the secret" it would have been better.

Code Pink should walk away from this particular protest, which is starting to turn against them.
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