Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Light a path for our troops' speedy return

Please join me in an effort to show support for our troops while calling them home. For Memorial Day, my upcoming My Free Country column will focus on multiple agricultural efforts to promote global peace and healing for veterans. At the end of the column I announce that I will begin putting a candle / light out in a front window at night to symbolically light a path home for our troops' speedy return. This is meant as a gesture of utmost respect, while I clearly state my position, were I given the chance to vote on these matters: I want to bring the troops home now, and I want to make sure they come home to a welcoming, grateful, supportive and understanding country. I am asking anyone who thinks this is a good idea to join me and help publicize this effort.

My intent is to let people express their desire to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to express that desire in a way that is not at all offensive or difficult (does not require them stepping far outside their comfort zone to attend a protest, for example). I want this expression to be something people do and think about on a daily basis, (as opposed to simply displaying a bumper sticker), so that there is at least some minimal day to day involvement and "sacrifice" amongst the civilian population associated with being part of a country at war, in the hopes that the citizens of America won't allow these wars to continue for years to come.

My intent also is to help focus our energies on the healing processes that will be needed. Too many soldiers return to Iraq and Afghanistan for multiple tours by choice because they have a hard time coming home. And too many veterans find that years after their return, they still haven't fully come home. I want to express to our troops that we are keeping something good alive for them to come home to.

This campaign to light a path for our troops' to find their way home is inspired by the agricultural efforts referenced above -- Farms Not Arms, the Farmer Veteran Coalition and Veterans Village -- and the idea that healing can happen when one is immersed in the fulfilling day to day work of cultivating land, growing plants, animal husbandry and feeding one's community, while surrounded by supportive and understanding people. Thus, the light is meant as a symbol of life. More broadly, as this effort is tied to food production, the light also symbolizes agricultural efforts to reduce the causes of war by promoting plentiful, locally-produced food and other vital supplies.

This campaign is also inspired by an event that occurred during Poland's Solidarity Revolution. The brave dissidents who operated the illegal Underground Radio Solidarity didn't know whether their broadcasts were being heard, and asked those who were listening and who wanted freedom for Poland to flash their lights. That night, all of Warsaw was flickering, as the story goes. It was a simple way that people living under extreme censorship could register their wishes and find that they were not alone.

I hope you will therefore join me in putting a light or candle in your window each night to call for our troops' return and to help our soldiers find their ways back home. Please help spread this message far and wide. I want our troops and our politicians to begin seeing lights in our windows by Memorial Day, Monday, May 26.

Thank you,

Angela Black

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