Artists and Iraq – March 13, 2003


(RG note) Artists continue to participate in this venue. With the exception of the basics of grammar, spelling and clarity — the letters are as they have been sent to us. In some cases a few paragraphs on other subjects have been deleted and archived for another time. We have published everything that was large enough to constitute a letter, but have omitted one liners, a few brief insults, as well as encouragement such as “Go for it Bob.” A few artists continue to criticize me for offering this divergence from brush and paint. Of the writers during the last while, 5 appeared to be pro-war, 117 appeared to be anti-war. Please feel free to add your own voice.

Will seek asylum after the war

Iraq is a country where one may think certain things and not speak of them. Spies and government agents are everywhere — even in Jordan where I now am which has now several hundred thousand in refuge and avoiding military service. I do not want to die in a war of Saddam. It is my children and wife who survive for now in a small village in the path of war. I work here as a constructor and repairman, but it is to freely paint that I aspire. After it is over I would like to write again for asylum in any country that will take us. I am a good man. I can work hard.

Livable Earth

Disarmament is a good idea. Irresponsible and brutal dictators ought to be first up on the list. But as an example the US must begin to do the same. With the USA far and away the most technologically advanced and lethal-hardware enriched country, it has now become a source of fear among many states. Our current path is fraught with danger. We need to build a twenty-year plan to lower the perceived threat to other nations. We need to turn our attention and treasure to the preservation of life on this planet, to the conquering of poverty, sickness, power, greed, the encouraging of cultural diversity, the fostering of healthy invention and humane creativity. This is how we must evolve. This is our destiny. — “Livable Earth”

Regime change

Now that the itinerary has been changed to regime change, I’m thinking this war business is a good idea. Then, after we’ve introduced our democratic ideas to Iraq, we can do the same for Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have 5000 incredibly wealthy members of a feudal royal family who live off the oil and the labor of foreign workers. This is one of the reasons why people are so unhappy in Saudi Arabia — and why that country is the main supplier of terrorists. Then we should go for Iran. Iranians are transfixed by religious fanatics. They need to be liberated. Besides, they have the wrong god. This goes for practically all of the evil area — Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Pakistan, etc. — they all need our help.

Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed

So many of the world’s problems stem from the continued habit of the religious mentality. Furthermore, when conflicts are complicated by religion mixed with nationalism, the nations are soon in trouble. The men who framed the (US) Constitution separated church from state for a reason. The fact that “In God we trust” remains on our currency was thought at the time to be a harmless capitulation to a vocal minority. But its influence hangs on. As generations of combatants have found out, “an eye for an eye” leads to nothing but a lot of blind people. We must begin to take joy and comfort in the realization that we are now a country that does not any more trust in God. And this does not mean that we now trust in Might. We must trust in the plurality of mankind, decency, respect, understanding, and the resolution of our fears and conflicts through reason, intelligence, imagination and negotiation. There has been more than one example of tyrants being removed without the use of force. Why not try it now? As one of the writers pointed out in the last responses — this is the challenge of our current evolution. The way we are going about it right now, Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed in us.

Excuse me, I’m going to have to pray now

Excuse me, I’m going to have to pray now has got a few millions of people in trouble in the past. Looks like it will again. Who’s doing the praying — two misguided leaders. Prayer is a private thing — let’s not sully a power struggle with it.

Barbara Johnson

I am an Artist, and an American who, thanks to the misguided intentions of this second aggressive Bush Administration, have been awakened to the life threatening (often genocidal) conditions that have been affecting the beautiful and diverse cultures around the world in the name of Democracy. I have to thank this administration for this. And now I can only in good conscience proceed to do everything I can to prevent the further massive destruction of innocent lives, destruction of public and private irreplaceable art (Iraq occupies a cradle of civilization) and environmental devastation that will build on and expand the radiation laid down in the Persian Gulf War by depleted uranium weapons and materials used in the construction of tanks used by the American forces. About 35% of our own veterans from Desert Storm are on disability, about 9,650 have died and one out of two children born to them are likely to have birth defects (not unlike those of the children in Iraq). So much for a low-casualty conflict. This media hype for war as a Shock and Awe Spectacle Hollywood production delivered by the Popular News Media and the Bush Administration in a matter of minutes is not the whole truth. As an Artist I am concerned about posterity, I am hungry for the artistic visions of fellow artists around the world in every medium. As the late “Mr. Rogers” once said when asked about his idea of Utopia — It would be a place in which I would be able to see the world through another persons eyes and experience the world as they do. We must begin the use of new methods of conflict resolution, there can no longer be Just Wars now that we have this outrageous proliferation of nuclear weapons of every shape and size. It is madness.

Bush leagues
Theresa Bayer, Austin, TX, USA

I don’t think artists can avoid being political. Artists are the proverbial canaries in the coalmine. When we stop singing, it’s a sure sign of repressive times ahead.

Iraq attack means Mac attack
Joe Blodgett

The US needs a president who spends more time trying to develop an understanding of human nature. Apart from all of the idealism surrounding the official reasons for bombing Iraq, there is the negative perception of the USA by Muslims everywhere. It will take generations to overcome this negativity and distrust. Iraq is already training suicide bombers. As of today the status quo is not bad. Saddam is hemmed in. Even his casual disarmament is preferable to war. Forget about deadlines. Put UN inspectors in every town and village in Iraq and give them the resources to make them effective. Keep a force on Iraq’s borders and only go after the regime if Saddam kicks the UN out, and there is a UN resolution to give the US and its coalition of the willing a green light.

Peace begins with me
Anonymous, New England, USA

As an American I have been very interested in the Canadian view. I appreciated Joe Blodgett’s comments — which I think were right on. In fact, I have not been offended by any political viewpoints expressed except those of Jane Morgan! The reason people don’t like Americans is scattered throughout her defensive, self-righteous diatribe of martyrdom. Americans think they have a monopoly on what is right, disrespect other points of view, other countries, other cultures and the environment on a global level in the name of “Freedom.” I can’t think of another country who is more involved with the “almighty dollar” than the USA. We impose our destructive, consumptive habits globally to benefit American consumers.

Jane Morgan’s statement ” Liberals are real good with their mouths but when it comes down to actually doing something, like putting forth their energy and money, they aren’t there.” was shockingly offensive to this LIBERAL. My country is using my money and my energy in the form of my hard earned tax dollars in a manner I find utterly deplorable. War solves nothing. Hussein may be every bit as evil as she describes — but how does she know that? Certainly not from American media, which is riddled with propaganda. And, who are we to judge? Here’s one American who is embarrassed by her statement that the US does what is right for us and other nations. It is another reason why people dislike Americans — we behave as if we were God, and the moral arbiters as to what is right or wrong for the entire planet. Our historical involvement in various wars and skirmishes is complicated. Not to mention full of self-interest.

I am not an immigrant — my ancestors were some of the original Dutch settlers of this country. I wished to remain anonymous because I have no desire to start a war with the true patriot contingent. But I wanted the visitors of the Clickbacks to know that Ms. Morgan is not representative of all Americans. I am just another “closed minded liberal who can’t see the forest for the trees” who is quietly and peacefully working for a better environment and a better world for all people. Peace begins with me.

Sincere principle
Dave Thompson, Regina, SK, Canada

What most impresses me about your site, and what I tell others about, is how you are using the Net to build a base of shared interests. This involves your organization/re-publishing of visitor comments and your hosting of other people’s images and links.

For example, I read with interest your collection of emails received about the Iraq situation. Publishing these ideas was a very constructive thing to do. This goes way beyond simply promoting your own images, dealers and so on. This is hardly just self-promotion, but promotion of the concept of a community of artists. It is very clear to me that you are sincerely interested in the sharing of ideas and opinions. This underlying principle of your site is what makes it stand out for me.

Emergency Petition to the Security Council
Contributed by Warren Criswell

In the next week, the U.N. Security Council will likely meet to decide on authorizing a war against Iraq. If the Council votes to accept a second resolution, it’ll be very difficult to avert a war. But if the resolution doesn’t get enough votes, it’ll be a major setback for the Bush Administration’s plans to invade and occupy Iraq.

In the United States and around the world, millions of us oppose a war against Iraq. We believe that tough inspections can disarm Saddam Hussein without the loss of a single life. This week may represent our last chance to win without war.

The stakes couldn’t really be much higher. A war with Iraq could kill tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and inflame the Middle East. According to current plans, it would require an American occupation of the country for years to come. And it could escalate in ways that are horrifying to imagine.

We can stop this tragedy from unfolding. But we need to speak together, and we need to do so now. Let’s show the Security Council what world citizens think.

See also: Artists and politics (Feb 28, 2003)

You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2003.


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