Artists, Iraq Veterans Against the War: Learn Why They Protest the Wars They Once Participated In
Voice of Art, the new documentary series on Pharrell Williams' I Am Other YouTube channel, is has released Part 1 of its new episode entitled “Iraq Veterans Against the War”. The episode features the historic march and returning of Global War on Terrorism service medals by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) in Chicago during the May 2012 NATO summit.
The Voice of Art team spent the month of May following members of the Chicago IVAW chapter as they planned and carried out their action, which echoed the throwing back of medals by anti-war Vietnam veterans in Washington DC in 1971. The four featured veterans - Aaron Hughes, Iris Feliciano, Greg Broseus and Alejandro Villatoro - in addition to being peace activists, are also artists who use their creativity to process their wartime experiences.
Also appearing in the episode are Rev. Jesse Jackson, Barry Romo (Vietnam Veterans Against the War member who helped organize the 1971 throwing back of service medals by veterans), and musician Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Nightwatchman).
The episode will be released in four parts, on the following schedule:
Part 1: 6/29, Part 2: 7/6, Part 3: 7/13, Part 4: 7/20
Voice of Art “Iraq Veterans Against the War” episode synopsis:
Every day 18 veterans commit suicide. One third of female active duty service members are sexually assaulted by their male peers. Millions of service members and veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries. While these warriors struggle to heal, the same military that welcomed them with open arms now neglects them as veterans.
After discharge from service, integrating back into civilian society often comes with crisis. In Chicago, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War are using art to process their experiences and to educate the public about the traumas of war.
As politicians and generals of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) descend on Chicago for a summit meeting, nearly 50 IVAW members lead a march of 20,000 protesters to the police barricades that separate the elite attendees from the public. Once there, the veterans and service members throw back their Global War on Terrorism medals in symbolic protest of the hypocrisy and failed military policies of the US and NATO.