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Other Human Beings Living and Dying for Our “Freedom”

 Thirty-two years, and some months and days, have passed since the day of my birth. In that time, the U.S. has spread “freedom” in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Grenada, Haiti, Chile, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, the Sudan and on and on…    Amos Lee, one of Philly’s newest finest, sings:  I don’t want to be a martyr in this war/Don’t want to hear the same excuses anymore/That everything’s a threat/And it’s only gonna get worse if we let it



The latest study put out by John Hopkins and MIT on the total number of Iraqi deaths since the beginning of the war found that some 655,000 Iraqis have died.  The U.S. Government says it’s more like 30,000.  That’s a big difference. But ask yourselves the following:  3 years of daily bombings would result in how many deaths?  Also consider that a little more than 3000 coalition forces’ lives have been lost since 2003 from rudimentary armaments.  3000 is to 30,000…and who has the world’s most sophisticated, deadliest weapons?   Consider also that 4 independent teams of statistical experts reviewed the methodology of the Hopkins/MIT study and found that everything checked out.  That the methodology was the best available methodology for this kind of study.  Think about the fact that upwards of 80% of households were asked to show death certificates, and that of those 80%, greater than 90% had the death certificates to prove the death of their loved ones.  And lastly, let us remind ourselves that it is to be published in The Lancet, perhaps the world’s top medical journal.                                  


 Don’t blame the rich for what they got/or point a finger at the poor/for what they have not/To the politician and a priest/we’re in the belly of the beast/because we fed it—Amos Lee singing “Freedom”                                     


   What does our freedom mean to us?  Is it that we can sit on the couch and watch our favorite TV show and fall asleep knowing that we will crawl into a peaceful bed eventually?  Is our freedom the thought of our children living out their dreams, and having the opportunity to do so?  Is American freedom a bar on a Friday night and a credit card to pay the tab? Are we politically free when our leaders attempt to manipulate our minds for political power?  How does freedom ring across the land when the common American cannot hear it over the drone sound of keeping their head above water—feeding the family, paying the bills, taking care of family and friends… Amos sings on:  Freedom is seldom found/By beatin’ someone to the ground/Tellin’ them how everything is gonna be now                                                                   


 What is America’s freedom today?  How do we celebrate it?  How do we ensure that it will thrive?  If you struggle to get by in this world, are you being “beatin’…to the ground?”  Are you being told how things are “gonna be now?”   How would you define freedom?  Does it include others living in this world?  I am willing to give my life in the belief that each and everyone one of you reading this wants each and every one of our sisters and brothers in the world to know peace and freedom.  You and I believe it deeply.   But we need to ask ourselves, can peace and freedom ever come about from the bullet leaving the barrel of the gun?                              


 Now if the tables were turned/tell me how you would feel/Somebody busted up into your house/telling you to stay still/While the leaders will deny defeat/The innocent lay testifyin’, dyin’ in the street—Amos Lee     

(written 22 October 2006)

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