This is patfromlogan. l have no clue about signing in on the new thing, hopefully this is whrre to post? but l am pasting a post from my son (and he never told us about bullies, though we were brought in when he violated his non-violence don’t hit back beliefs when he [a ma] Seoi-naged some bully and got detention).
Henry Chung Easterling
"My son is 11 years old. When the US invaded Afganistan, I was 12.
If 9/11 was a fulcrum, the occupations of Afganistan and Iraq were the defining political realities of my late childhood, teenage years, and early adulthood. Being anti-war was written on my T-shirts and tattooed into my body, the glue that held together my family and perhaps the one universal commonality amongst my friends.
In my small town, peace rallies and anti-war marches were met with studied indifference or open hostility, with driver-bys hurling epithets and garbage. At school I was often taunted, occasionally chased down and beaten. Patches torn off my backpack and sneakers stomped into my back by groups of snarling white boys chanting “USA” and “go back to China.”
At 14 I had nothing but contempt those kids. I saw the army recruiters lining the halls of our high school, trading candy and T-shirts for push ups and contact info, the Navy commercials with Marines fighting video game demons, the rising number of dead troops, the horrors and massacres inflicted on civilians, and thought anyone who could support that was a fucking idiot.
Later, my friends, my old old friends from kindergarten and playgrounds, started coming back from war. Missing limbs, or drinking hard, but mostly just turning around and being sent back in. Now, I realize that for every soldier I knew, my hallway assailants knew ten. Their brothers, their cousins, their parents. We were children, and they were victims too, of a system that demanded both human sacrifice and cheering adulation from the crowd.
It’s good this war is ending. It was not won, and will not end well. Our soldiers, for the most part, killed and died for nothing. The taliban outlasted us, ISIS was born from the insurgency, a generation was raised under foreign military occupation, and we leave behind leave a mess of shattered economies, authoritarian governments, and religious violence.
I’d like to end this on a message of hope. But honestly, I think that would be a disservice to the hundreds of thousands who died. So I’ll end it like I started it, with furtive glances in an empty middle school hallway, a sharpie pulled from my pocket and big sloppy letters written on the wall: Fuck war."