Ye Shall Know the Truth
July 10, 2007 -- Master author James Baldwin (1924 – 1987) is described as the American Socrates by another
cultural prophet, Princeton Professor of Religion Cornel West. Here's a passage taken from Baldwin's essay entitled, The Creative
artist cannot and must not take anything for granted, but must drive to the heart of every answer and expose the question
the answer hides. We know, in the case of the person that whoever cannot tell
himself the truth about his past is trapped in it, is immobilized in the prison of his undiscovered self. This is also true of nations. "
Over the past two weeks, I was given an extraordinary opportunity to direct the Florida premiere
of Simon Levy's, What I Heard About Iraq, a play for five voices adapted from Eliot Weinberger's prose/poem of the same title.
This play tells the story of the Iraq war using verbatim quotes from a wide variety of individuals:
President Bush and his Vice, many administration officials, the military, Iraqi civilians and others. In other words, every
single syllable spoken in this production is true. All quotes are verifiable. Whatever
was said on the stage is a direct quote from the person the statement is ascribed to.
But there's a caveat.
In reality, the play is rampant with lies.
"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."
"There is overwhelming evidence there was a connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government. I
am very confident there was an established relationship there. "
"You can't distinguish between al-Qaeda and Saddam."
"No terrorist threat poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people."
"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
After a dear friend watched the play for the first time, he pointed out, “ I wonder why there
was no mention of Osama bin Laden?” It was an astute observation, considering
the propaganda used to connect bin Laden with Iraq. Yet in the fervor for oil
and geopolitical prowess, the President had long since forgotten about this former family business partner. Even today, the FBI does not have enough evidence to link bin Laden to 9/11. We should remember that the crime of 9/11 and the war of aggression against Iraq are two entirely separate
These blatant lies and manipulations have created mayhem, destruction and death unimaginable in Iraq, placed impossible burdens on our brave military and veterans, dismantled our system of justice, our privacy and civil liberties and threatens to bankrupt our coffers.
And even though millions of Americans have had enough,
the Congress, with the expectation of a few honest Patriots, are impotent in performing their oath, to defend and protect
the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. President Bush, in his
decision to commute Libby's sentence, merely shows his stripes as a self serving sociopath, so lost, so distant,
so filled with delusional thinking, so alienated, so marred with innocent blood, all I can do now - besides shouting truth from the rooftops - is to get down on my knees and pray for his deliverance and
for Congress to prevent another war by supporting H.R. 333, the Kucinich bill that calls for Cheney's impeachment.
As Mr. Baldwin's words proclaim; "We know, in the case
of the person, that whoever cannot tell himself the truth about his past is trapped in it, is immobilized in the prison of
his undiscovered self. This is also true of nations. "
It will take fifty years to repair the damage of this administration. Let's remove them by Constitutional
means and do it quickly - before they start another war. Then we, as a nation, can reckon with the sordid truth and history
of the United States. A history that has culminated in this AIPAC led neoconservative cabal.
Once we know the truth, we can be about the business of healing our lands, as well as those we have so viscerally offended.