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Monday, March 19, 2007

THE HUMAN COST OF THE IRAQ WAR

TUESDAY, MARCH 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Port o' Call, Cartwright Center, UW-L (corner of State Street and Campbell Road)

Read an account of the Eyes Wide Open exhibit in Viroqua at Kicktime.

Eyes Wide Open, the American Friends Service Committee’s widely-acclaimed exhibition on the human cost of the Iraq War, features a pair of boots honoring each U.S. military casualty, a field of shoes and a Wall of Remembrance to memorialize the Iraqis killed in the conflict, and a multimedia display exploring the history, cost and consequences of the war.

Since 1917, the American Friends Service Committee has championed the dignity and worth of every individual, the sanctity of human life and humanity's collective responsibility to promote peace. For almost 90 years of work in war zones on four continents, we have gained an intimate knowledge of the costs and horrors of war.

When this exhibit was unveiled by our Chicago office in January 2004, there were 504 pairs of boots symbolizing the lost lives of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. With each passing week, each stop in a new city, more pairs of boots are added to represent the newly fallen. Alongside the boots stands a wall of remembrance with the names of the more than 11,000 Iraqi civilians who have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion.

As the exhibit makes its appearances across the country, families and friends come to grieve for lost loved ones and strangers honor those who gave their lives to a cause far from home.

At each stop, person after person leaves notes of commemoration, photographs of lost soldiers, identification tags, flowers, and American flags to accompany the boots on their journey.

Although a majority of Americans now believe this war is a tragic misadventure, the human cost of the Iraq War grows every day. How many more boots will be standing at silent attention before this war ends, before Iraqis and American soldiers are out of harm's way?

This traveling exhibit is a memorial to those who have fallen and a witness to our belief that no war can justify its human cost.


Mary Ellen McNish,
General Secretary, AFSC

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