Left Justified: Gun flicks and relief money

Left Justified: Gun flicks and relief money

By Stanley Campbell

Well, gang, the war is winding down, we got the second largest underground lake of oil in the world, so maybe we won’t have to dig up Alaska. Too bad about the Baghdad Museum, 5,000 years of history will soon be appearing on eBay—and I bet a few items may have the White House listed as seller.

Our little peace group has raised more than $6,000 for war relief. It’s amazing how many pro-war folks think the oil would be used to rebuild Iraq. And they said I was naive! Haliburton has its tentacles all over that pool, and already a long straw leading to U.S. SUVs will suck that black gold here. Just what was our oil doing under their sand? Our money will go to groups there in Iraq who’ve been working with the poorest of the poor. I host a weekly discussion group called Coffee Talks. It meets almost every Monday night, 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church (we used to meet at the Irish Rose, but Mike took the doors off the back room). We get anywhere from 20 to 40 folks who listen to speakers and help discuss.

This week’s topic will be comments from local media personalities on the coverage of the Iraqi war. Susan Stephens, news director for Northern Ill. Public Radio (WNIJ) will lead the discussion, but I invite you, the reader, to bring examples of outlandish or outstanding reportage, local or national. I think the most jaw-dropping example was Fox News putting the “shock and awe” bombing campaign video to music. I also saw some late-night video of Iraqi civilians hurt in the war, but rarely saw anything during prime time.

The meeting this Monday is, as always, free and open to the public.

If you missed the Academy Award-winning documentary film, Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore’s biting commentary on violence in America, you’ll have another chance! Rockford Peace & Justice Action Committee is cosponsoring a return engagement for this weekend, May 2-4, at Storefront Cinema, 711 No. Main St., (that’s Highway 2), just north of downtown Rockford, Ill. Show times are 7 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, 4:30 and 7 p.m. Sunday; a discussion will follow the Friday showing, and the peace group will host a reception on Saturday.

When Michael went up to receive the award, he took along the five other nominees, who all stood with him as he received a standing ovation. The cheers turned to jeers when he said our president was “fictionally elected” and the war was being fought on “fictional charges.” Mr. Moore has guts. His film is a hard look at violence in America, never really answering why the U.S.A. is so gun crazy. But the scenes are all well edited, quick and to the point, and the 10 minute cartoon history of America is hilarious (put together by the folks who do “South Park”).

Cosponsored by Rockford Peace & Justice Action Committee, with an assist by (please allow me to thank them): Paul Harvey Oswald, U.A.W. Local 592, David Black, Ron Holm, Skip and Kathleen Mattison, Greg Luna, Wanda Hoover, Leah Timberlake, Lynn Liston & Pat Littlejohn, Jim & Theresa Parrish, Cathleen Stark, Mike Fisher, Helen Parnaby, Janet Magnuson and YOUR NAME HERE! (send donations to Rockford Peace & Justice, 623 Seventh Street, Rockford Ill. 61104, or Storefront Cinema) Call 815-962-FILM (3456) for more info.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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