After six years of America's mainstream media bowing to its corporate mandate to ignore all opposition to George W. Bush, a media miracle has happened. Thanks to the great camera work of AP photographer, Charles Dharapak, the American anti-war movement has been revealed to the world. In one flash of a magical millisecond, photographer Dharapak captured CODEPINK peacemaker Desiree Fairooz confronting George Bush warmaker Condoleeza Rice. It was the shot SEEN 'round the world:
A huge thank you to photographer Charles Dharapak and to the Associated Press for letting the truth be told - for passing the message to the world that within the boundaries of imperial America thrives a valiant peace movement that opposes George W. Bush, and works hard to overthrow him.
Every American who opposes the immoral wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, and fears an encore on Iran, owes a heart-felt thanks to Desiree Fairooz for placing herself in the cross hairs for peace. The responses to Fairooz' patriotism, and to the brazen women of CODEPINK, have been astounding. Across the nation, on blogs, on television, and on radio, there has been a steady stream of support. Fairooz has shown that the opposition to Bush from inside America equals the opposition of the outside world.
Until now, because mainstream media has abdicated its truth-teller role, the peace movement has largely been hidden. Independent media has been an honest herald, but media corporations, with their own blood soaked hands, have whited the peace movement out. There is no Myanmar-like coverage of anti-government protests filling the network news. There are no corporate broadcasters sympathetic to protesters on the air. How can they be - if they are ONE with the government?! How can they be - if consolidating media means dismantling any challenge to power? It's fine to broadcast from outside in - but not from inside out. Thus, orange-clad Burmese monks are boffo for the camera, but orange clad Americans are not. After all - in the American peace movement, orange signifies Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and the impeachment of George W. Bush.
If the media offered an extensive view of pro-peace/pro-impeachment America, there would be hours of passionate viewing. CODEPINK, for one, the women initiated grassroots peace and justice movement with which Desiree Fairooz is aligned, labors unceasingly for peace - devising creative methods to stop the war. It's members are routinely harassed for challenging the government. Although CODEPINK has chapters around the world, it concentrates much of its efforts in Washington. Its members are famous - some say infamous - for their well considered acts of peaceful disobedience. Even though the organization is only five years old, the women and men of CODEPINK are recognized leaders in the global peace and justice movement. (View CNN's Jeannie Moos' perspective on Desiree Fairooz and CODEPINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FafMiQa-6QA )
In a June 2005 essay for Palgrave MacMillan, I wrote the following of CODEPINK:
"As women in the U.S. move forward with their activism, they must appreciate the great advances brought about by the women pioneers who came before. Because of the noble and heroic work of their predecessors, the women of today are able to venture beyond issues of women's rights and gender inequality. Although there is still much to be accomplished on these fronts, the current injustices wrought by corporate globalization, U.S. imperialism, unjustifiable wars, and religious fanaticism, have redirected women activists from the national stage into the global arena. CODEPINK, as a key women's organization, collaborates closely with social justice organizations throughout the world. It has put a new face on women's activism with a fierceness and creativity that would make Susan B. Anthony grin, and blush, all at the same time."
That statement is even more accurate today.
On September 15th, 100,000 peace activists marched through the streets of Washington, DC to demand an end to war. The corporate media grossly under-reported their numbers. Because of the dereliction of Time Warner, News Corp, Fox, Disney and the rest of America's corporate media, the world believes there is minor opposition in America to George Bush and his immoral wars. Because of the media's failing as an agency of truth, and its betrayal of those who uphold it, America strays ever further from democracy.
On October 27th, another 100,000 peacemakers (cumulatively) marched in several locations across the nation. Mainstream media again distorted the facts. In Los Angeles, photos and videos of the event verify that thousands of patriots marched. Yet, on KNBC, the NBC affiliate, anchor Furnell Chapman reported that "hundreds" marched in L.A. Even with visual proof, he lied. They have no shame.
If only it were illegal to use the people's airwaves to purposely LIE TO THE PEOPLE!!
For the nation's peacemakers - the silenced heroes who defend the Constitution - there are no delusions of an honorable mainstream media. The lessons of deceit and deception have long been taught. Corporate media serves the President - not the people. Correspondents value face-time and air-time - not the truth - which is sad because when that rare moment of truth does finally get told, it carries incredible power.
In a split second, thanks to Charles Dharapak and the Associated Press, the entire world bore witness to the depth of anger and disdain millions of Americans feel for the architects of Bush's war. Desiree Fairooz' expression was the expression of millions. Her actions were the actions of millions. Her words were the words of millions - and they've been shouted again and again on the streets of America - unseen, unheard and unreported to the rest of the world.
And her hands...
Desiree's bloody hands are the bloody hands of millions of Americans who bear the pain of knowing, like the "good Germans" before them, that they, too, are held accountable for the deeds their leaders do.
On October 27th, a day for America to protest the war, patriots marched with RED stained hands in solidarity with the truth. Thank you, Desiree Fairooz, for shouting truth to power. Thank you for telling our story. Thank you for giving the media a rare moment to shine - and an incentive to shine even more.