Friday, April 1, 2011

Khaled Mattawa on Democracy Now! and Dan Wilcox's "Chatham Peace Vigil": Two Sides on the U.S. Intervention in Libya

Just when it seems that the world could not get more confusing and more absurd, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Barack Obama has engaged the U.S. in a third "war" (not a war of course, but bombing and suchlike) in Libya. I find myself terribly torn about this engagement, since my dear friend the poet and Libyan-American Khaled Mattawa has spoken with such force and hope about the end of the dictatorship, and that is unlikely without U.S. military intervention. And yet how easily such intervention could turn ugly, imperial. Below, is a poem about protesting it.

Chatham Peace Vigil

The lunch counter TV is busy.
My sandwich is slow, but
sitting feels good after standing
the hour in the village square.
Freight trains going by, waves
& honks from cars for the graying crowd
at the peace vigil on the 8th
anniversary of the invasion of Iraq
the knit caps & scarves, even two dogs
(they put the "pee" in "peace").

But it didn't work: on TV
a fighter plane tumbles out of the sky
over Libya, "more war" the pundits say
(while we said "no more war").

I eat in peace, for now
while the killing is televised.
Tomorrow I will be back on the street.

-Dan Wilcox

Used by permission.

Dan Wilcox is a poet & peace activist who also hosts the Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center in Albany, NY. He is a member of the poetry performance group "3 Guys from Albany" & is an active member of Veterans for Peace. You can read his Blog at

Wilcox was on the panel The Public Role of Poetry: How to Build a Poetry Reading at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2010.

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