[Editor’s notes: This post is the first in an intermittent series of “stories of engagement,” case examples from the lives of those who are engaging peace. Readers may want to consider how these examples illustrate the forms of moral engagement that we are discussing. In addition, readers are encouraged to submit stories from their own or others’ personal experiences.]
[Today we welcome guest contributor, Ross Caputi, president of the Boston University Anti-War Coalition and an Iraq war veteran.]
During my deployment to Iraq I was in the 2nd siege of Fallujah in 2004, the assault that destroyed much of the city, killed over 1,000 civilians, and forced over 200,000 civilians to flee their homes.
Two months ago I read Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009 (Busby, Hamdan, & Ariabi 2010), which documents the extreme rates of birth defects, infant mortality, and cancer in Fallujah, and points to the depleted uranium weapons that we used in the 2004 sieges as the cause.
After reading about this health crisis that I played a role in creating, I immediately felt obligated to take action. Along with another Iraq veteran and a group of concerned citizens, I helped organized the Justice for Fallujah Project to raise public awareness about this health crisis, and to take actions to end the ongoing occupation of Iraq (which we feel is the best way to help the people of Fallujah).
We are planning a week of events in November to commemorate the 6th year anniversary of the 2nd siege of Fallujah. This will all be part of the first annual Remember Fallujah Week, which will take place in several U.S. cities and will be supported by several other antiwar organizations.
Independent journalist Dahr Jamail put it best when he wrote, “The second assault on Fallujah was a monument to brutality and atrocity made in the United States of America. Like the Spanish city of Guernica during the 1930s, and Grozny in the 1990s, Fallujah is our monument of excess and overkill.”
To join us, contact email@example.com.
Ross Caputi, President of the Boston University Anti-War Coalition