A group of artists and writers in New York City calling themselves the "Baghdad Snapshot Action Team" are making waves with a very simple public statement. They have taken snapshots of average Iraqis and began posting them around the city to remind Americans just exactly who it is that will die in an attack in Iraq. For their cleverness, two of them were arrested last week.
But the idea is taking off. The Baghdad Snapshot Action Team is now asking for activists around the world to print out the photographs -- which are provided freely on their website -- and to post them around their own cities. Already activists in several American cities have taken up the cause. Now it's time for Europe to take up the cause!
The photos were taken by Paul Chan, an artist who recently returned from a mission to Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team, a nonprofit project of the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Voices in the Wilderness. The two activists arrested in New York were reportedly charged with criminal misdemeanors related to vandalism, and held in the city jail for several hours. They both reported that police officers used the time to attempt to dissuade them from attending the peace rally last Saturday in New York.
Emilie Clark, one of the artists arrested, said, "They kept saying how mace was going to be used on all the protesters," Clark said. "And then they said they had heard suicide bombers might attack the rally."
The march in New York, of course, was remarkably peaceful.
I love this action because there is something so enchanting and poetic -- and powerful -- in putting such beautiful, human faces on the "enemy." It makes it more difficult for the hawks to convince us all that killing these people will somehow make the world safer.