Sunday, April 29, 2007

This Wednesday, May 2nd, Cooper Union, Voices of a People's History

For awhile in talks before the invasion, I've been saying as we see the full-page pictures of the target on Saddam Hussein's forehead that it would be more accurate to show the target on the forehead of a little Iraqi girl, because that's who dies in war. The overwhelming majority of the people who die are innocent civilians. And then what happens on the first night of the invasion? Missile strikes a residential area in Baghdad. They say they think they've taken out Saddam Hussein. Independent reporter May Ying Welsh, who stayed there as the bombs fell, who you heard on Democracy Now! on a regular basis, went to the hospital right after that first attack, and there was a four-year-old girl critically injured from that missile attack and her mother critically injured and her mother's sisters. That's who dies, that's who gets injured in war . . .
-- Amy Goodman "Independent Media in a Time of War" (pp. 612 - 614)

The above is one of the voices collected in a book that features voices you know, voices you may not, and voices whose names were lost history and are only known today as "anonymous." What's the book?


What's happening Wednesday, May 2nd in NYC? At 6:30 pm, at Cooper Union Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove will present readings from their book Voices of a People's History of the United States -- the book referred to above which builds on Zinn's best seller (million-plus seller) A People's History of the United State. In Arnove and Zinn's book, they let the voices tell the story. The reading will feature live music from Allison Moorer and Steve Earle as well as readings by Ally Sheedy, Brian Jones, Danny Glover, Deepa Fernandes, Erin Cherry, Harris Yulin, Kathleen Chalfant, Kerry Washington, Opal Alladin, Staceyann Chin and Stanley Tucci.
You may hear them reading the words of Mother Jones, Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcom X among others.

Zinn and Arnove have taken the readings around the country and into workshop productions. Six of us were lucky enough to hear a reading featuring Alice Walker among others. It's an evening that will reach you and lift you. If you're in the NYC area, it's this Wednesday, May 2nd.

Again, from the book, this is a section of Larry Colburn's "They Were Butchering People," remembering time he served in Vietnam (pp. 437 - 439):

Around ten a.m. [Hugh] Thompson spotted a group of women and children running toward a bunker northeast of My Lai -- 4 followed by a group of U.S. soldiers. When we got overhead, [Glenn] Andreotta spotted some faces peeking out of an earthen bunker. Thompson knew that in a matter of seconds, they were going to die so he landed the aircraft in between the advancing American troops and the bunker. He went over and talked to a Lieutenant [Stephen] Brooks. Thompson said, "These are civilians. How do we get them out of the bunker?" Brooks said, "I'll get them out with hand grenades." The veins were sticking out on Thompson's neck and I thought they were actually going to fight. Thompson came back and said to Andreotta and me, "If they open up on these people when I'm getting them out of the bunker, shoot 'em." Then he walked away leaving us standing there looking at each other. Thompson went over to the bunker and motioned for the people to come out. There were nine or ten of them.
We had a staredown going with the American soldiers.
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