We will soon be posting reviews of Dahr Jamail’s book, Beyond the Green Zone, Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq and the book Battlefield Without Borders written by today’s guest, poet, scholar and humanitarian, David Smith-Ferri.
Talk Nation Radio for October 24, 2007
Listen to this week’s broadcast in64 MP3
Poet David Smith-Ferri on Direct Aid for Iraqi War Victims
The poet reads from his book “Battlefield without Borders“
‘If Irony Were Justice’
(See poem below)
Download at Pacifica’s Audioport
Download in a variety of formats or link to your web site at Archive.org
We begin our two part series on the poetry of David Smith-Ferri with a discussion on the direct aid program he has been funding through profits from his book. David is just back from Jordan where he and Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Non Violence (vcnv.org) studied the dire needs of Iraqi refugees.
In part two we hear more poetry as both Kathy Kelly and David Smith-Ferri read about the Iraqis they have come to know. The proceeds from the book go to aid Iraq War victims and refugees.
David Smith-Ferri is author of the book, ‘Battlefield without Borders’ and the current Poet Laureate of Ukiah, CA. His poetry won the Janice Farrell Poetry Prize. He has been traveling across the country reading his poetry as a way to call attention to the damage being done to individual Iraqis. His poems have been published in Z magazine, Yes! Magazine, The Other Side Magazine, and the print edition of CounterPunch.
Battlefield without Borders is sold for fourteen dollars and twelve of those dollars go to programs set up to help Iraqi war victims. You can find the book online at David Smith Ferri’s web site: Battlefield Without Borders.org
We hear about Iraqis who need medical care such as surgery, prosthetic limbs or eyes, and medication for conditions like diabetes and seizures. And we discuss the inner struggles we may have when trying to absorb the truth about the devastation to human life in Iraq and elsewhere on this overheating planet. The poet helps us understand the root of his inspiration and success at staying active: It lies in our relationships with others and getting to know the Iraqis who need our help. ‘Tell the American people I love them,’ offers one Iraqi who was injured by a US bomb while standing on his roof to get better TV reception as the ‘shock and awe’ was beginning.
And we look at some of the recent shocking and ironic stories about armed and ready nuclear cruise missiles flown on a B-52 to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, ( Defense Secretary Gates as he admits that Blackwater may have ‘offended’ Iraqis, and the strange ideas of a US veteran of four wars who sees “us” as the ‘war criminals’…those of us who criticize the war. (his name is Buzz Patterson). In fact, one US soldier wrote home that the American people are becoming the enemy. He perished in the war. What is happening to our collective hearts and minds?
This audio is also available at Archive.org at http://www.archive.org/details/DavidSmith-ferryOnDirectAidForIraqiWarVictims in 128 and various other formats including ones suitable for podcasting.
I will place individual poems here soon too so that you can put them on your web site and link to David Smith-Ferri’s sites and others who are participating in this important effort to help the most needy Iraqi War victims.
Voices for Creative Non Violence http://www.vcnv.org
Our music is by Fritz Heede, composer and musician whose work has been featured in the film ‘The Oil Factor’
Read the article Roundtable debates energy issues, All-star panel calls for climate change research, market solutions October 15, 2007, By Gerry Shih and Susana Montes. ‘â€œOf course itâ€™s about oil, we canâ€™t really deny that,â€ Abizaid said of the Iraq campaign early on in the talk.
â€œWeâ€™ve treated the Arab world as a collection of big gas stations,â€ the retired general said. â€œOur message to them is: Guys, keep your pumps open, prices low, be nice to the Israelis and you can do whatever you want out back. Osama and 9/11 is the distilled essence that represents everything going on out back.â€’
…but we can also distill love and pour our energies into action to stop the war and take care of its victims! Learn more about what you can do to
End this unjust war!
We don’t generally share our personal opinions but those of us who are participating in the production of Talk Nation Radio on a regular basis must say that we do support the efforts of Kathy Kelly, David Smith-Ferri, and others who are working tireless to end the war. We are privileged to have had the opportunity to speak with them.
Please cross link your site to their web page, share their work with your local newspaper editors and journalists and bring them to your town for a poetry reading, slide show, or talk about the Iraqis living in dire circumstances in Jordan and other places. Some 750,000 Iraqis have arrived in Jordan alone and they must often continue to live in secret. If caught they are deported, and in such cases family members are often stuck having to survive without a spouse or parent. America is responsible for these refugees under international law and helping them with their medical needs is the least we can do.
Under pressure from the general public the US accepted a mere 7,000 Iraqi refugees. The Bush administration had to be shamed into doing it and were responding to public criticism after CNN report accepting only 466 Iraqi refugees between 2003 and February of 2007. This at least shows us that public outcry can provoke change.
When you purchase ‘Battlefield without Borders’ you are providing 12 dollars of the 14 dollar purchase price to pay for life saving medical care for Iraqi civilians living with terrible war wounds and devastating medical problems.
This is the poem David reads in part one. In part two we will hear Kathy Kelly read another poem from Battlefield without Borders, and the poet offers us another dramatic and compelling reading to help us understand how vital this effort is.
If Irony Were Justice
By David Smith-Ferri
Somewhere, Moustafa knows, he has a twin brother,
an American soldier with wheels for legs
a man who stands for nothing,
a man who is no longer a man
who urinates through a cannula into a bag,
an American digging into the bureaucratic rubble of his government
trying to unearth its humanity,
trying to locate a surgeonâ€™s fingers to reset the clock of his life
and point him forward.
If irony were iron,
Moustafaâ€™s back would have held
when four years ago today
the force of a US missile swept him like a branch from his roof
and dropped him two stories below in his garden.
If irony were bread,
a small round of dough, pounded, stretched, flattened
and thrown on a fire,
a bowl of hummus dribbled with olive oil,
a cool yogurt and cucumber salad,
Moustafa would never be hungry here in Amman.
For three years he rolled his chair through Baghdad â€“
one more broken body bent to its wheel â€“
and along concrete and barbed wire barriers that line the â€œGreen Zoneâ€
seeking reparation for his injuries.
I left no door unknocked, he says.
If irony were justice,
the U.S. military would have given him more than a letter:
Moustafa Samir Hassan was injured
when a missile exploded near his home
in the Karrada neighborhood of Baghdad on April 3rd, 2003 . . .
It would have given him instead:
anesthesia, scalpels, transfusions, trained fingers, aftercare.
Somewhere, Moustafa knows, there is a clinic
with doctors who can repair his back,
who can reorient his life toward the future.
But for now, he is still trying to learn about this war from his television,
still climbing a ladder to fix an antenna on his house in Baghdad,
like a long-stemmed glass
to hard ground.
From ‘Battlefield without borders’ by David Smith-Ferri