If you get a chance in the coming weeks and months, please make an effort to see the theatrical documentary Body of War. The flick has been touring across the States the last few months, and has dates lined up until the start of the Summer. A trailer to the doc is listed below.
The film chronicles the experiences and day-to-day life of one Tomas Young, an Iraq War veteran paralyzed due to a bullet to the spine he received six days after entering Iraq. The film shows his political activism as Tomas returns to the States and becomes an anti-war protester. As historian Howard Zinn wrote, "In wars, there is always a difference between the motives of the soldiers and the motives of the political leaders who send them into battle." Tomas learns this the hard way as he joins the military after seeing George W. Bush speak at Ground Zero shortly after 9/11 only to learn during training that the planned Iraq invasion has little to do with toppling the structures responsible for the attack.
It is all wonderfully produced, thought provoking, and sure to make you value the ways that you can cause change in your day to day interactions and work. But, "how" you may ask, "does this relate to wiggers, white privilege, "white folks in black spaces", blackface, pop culture, hip hop, or any of the other topics mentioned here on this blog?" Well:
- The film features extensive archive footage of Senator Robert "There are White Niggers" Byrd, as he argues against the War on the Senate floor shortly before the invasion. In actual interaction with Tomas, Byrd says that the "no" vote on the Iraq war was "the most important of his life. Young helps him read the names of the 23 senators who voted against the war resolution. Byrd reflects: “The immortal 23. Our founders would be so proud.” Turning to Young, he says: “Thank you for your service. Man, you’ve made a great sacrifice. You served your country well.” Young replies, “As have you, sir.”
- Michael Franti's "Light Up Your Lighter" is featured extensively in a scene where Young puts a government received Purple Heart and American flag in his closet. On the companion double disc CD album are tracks from hip hop heavyweights Lupe Fiasco ("American Terrorist"), Rage Against the Machine ("Guerrilla Radio"), Public Enemy ("Son of a Bush"), Dilated Peoples ("War"), Talib Kweli & Cornel West ("Bushonomics"), and Immortal Technique ("The 4th Branch"). All proceeds from the album go to Iraq Veterans Against the War.
- The film is co-produced and co-directed by Phil Donahue--a man known for over 25 years for bringing "angry" black men (such as Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson, and Dr. Khallid Muhammad) into the homes of suburban white folks through television, and letting them speak eloquently and at length on any subject. For God's sake, the man had 2 LIVE CREW on and performing for a suburban white audience outside of Chicago: