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Nine of Thousands

Ehren Tool & Tamar Beja

This image is from Celebrate People’s History/Iraq Veterans Against the War: Ten Years of Fighting for Peace and Justice, a portfolio that celebrated IVAW’s first ten years and was produced by Justseeds, IVAW, Booklyn, Repetitive Press, and the Civilian Soldier Alliance.

(IVAW is now known as About Face: Veterans Against the War)

Addressing issues of war and violence, these cups—just nine of more than 15,000 made by Ehren Tool—are meant to be conversation starters about difficult subjects. From left to right, top to bottom:

1) Major General Smedley Butler, decorated Marine and author of War is a Racket.

2) Drones and skulls.

3) The gas mask Ehren wore in Desert Storm, thinking the air was poison, now a toy for “ages 6 and up.” A Tarot card (The Hermit) Ehren made with illustrations from Marine Corps manuals. Ehren’s Gulf War self-portrait. A boy playing cowboy in the sand under the oil fires.

4) The gas mask Ehren wore in the Gulf War now being worn by police protecting money from people.

5) Cup made for IVAW. Ehren writes, “I can’t express my disappointment enough that there are new generations of veterans.” 6) Reaction to chemical attack illustration from Marine Corps manual. Biohazard symbol to represent the chemicals being sprayed on our food.

7) Arabic patterns and bombs. After the Gulf War Ehren studied Art. He remembers seeing images in his art history books “courtesy of the Baghdad Museum” and wondering if the objects had been destroyed.

8) Great Seal of The United States, olive branch and arrows replaced by fascist symbols. The Mark Twain United States flag.

9) Broken Purple Heart.

Ehren Tool is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in the Gulf War, artist, activist, and educator living and working in Berkeley, CA. He has made and given away over 15,000 cups since 2001.

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