In 2003, to oppose the United States’ invasion of Iraq meant setting oneself up for anything from ridicule to threats. Having been called a traitor in no uncertain terms, I know this firsthand. Seeing the biased coverage of the anti-war movement was what compelled me to participate in Indymedia, as there was (and is) a great need for reporting on social justice from the perspective — or at least, with empathy — of those not in the dominant culture.
Too often, the stories are still told from those in positions of power. We can see this in the narratives created about the protests of police brutality in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Most mainstream news outlets attached the word “riot” to what had been happening, despite citizen journalists’ video footage showing that the majority of the protests were peaceful, if not in language, at least in action.
A press release does not a story make.
And in 2013, while we can say that it has been ten years since the war in Iraq began, we can not say that it is over, no matter what the officials say. It is not over for students who continue to work toward their degrees — long after their peers have graduated — because they have had to withdraw from classes at a moment’s notice when faced with deployment; some have faced multiple tours. It is not over for those who have lost limbs, organs, livelihoods, and even their lives. It’s not over for those who continue to experience PTSD.
As irresponsible as much of the media was at the onset of this and other wars, those journalists who were complicit at the time have the opportunity now to redeem themselves by showing the full spectrum of what it means when the ruling class decides to send troops abroad.