This image by Suellen Semekoski 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)
The hurling words, calligrams as an homage to WWI veteran and Surrealist poet Appolinaire and to Jacob George, reflect the motion of thrown medals and exploding bombs. The words are from Saba Maher’s poem read at the concluding rally of the March for Justice and Reconciliation led by Afghans for Peace, Afghanistan Veterans Against the War, and Iraq Veterans Against the War. After her poem was read veterans of the Global War on Terror knelt in silence then hurled their Global War on Terrorism Medals toward the NATO Summit.
Poem by Saba Maher
Suellen Semekoski is an artist, art therapist, educator, non-violence facilitator, and IVAW civilian ally, living and working in Chicago.
A black and white line drawing of a man who kneels, one hand to his face. His outline, and more lines that leap high into the air, are made out of lines of text – a calligram. Some of the text states, “You wanna know? Huh? Do you? That even the wind has a color in Afghanistan. The color of soot-covered rose. Because the earth has no stomach to house casualties of war, ‘We are not ghosts. Our flesh will return to the earth to remind you of our mortality.’ She will spit back every martyred man, woman, and baby, To join us in an undying army commanded To sing live, resist, dance, chant, breathe, exist, and love you, even when 1,600 pound bombs are deployed to break our backs.”