norbert blei | red hands

19 03 2008


Standing on the right-hand side of Condoleezza Rice is “freedom fighter” Desiree Fairooz. No comments needed for this little episode that happened on Oct 24th. Fairooz was yelling out, “You have the blood of millions of Iraqis on your hands!” into Rice’s face. [source]


NOTES from the UNDERGROUND… No. 136 | March 19, 2008



Norbert Blei

On today, the 5th Anniversary of the War beyond reason or redemption in a faraway land called Iraq…I look at an old clipping on my desk from the New York Times, March 13, 2008, wondering why I saved it.

It’s the photo that caught my attention, not the story. I’m tired of the story.

The caption under the photo reads: Antiwar protesters raised red-painted hands during testimony by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before a House committee on Wednesday..

It’s the surreal in me, in works of art and literature, that I love. That I don’t address often enough in my own words and images. The surreal that is not celebrated enough in daily life, especially in these, our most surreal times.

A war without images of the dead, the maimed, the crazed, the innocent victims bombed out of their country, their homes, their minds… A war without images of grief on the evening news…which we are left to imagine on the faces of American families who have sacrificed their sons and daughters—so that we can keep shopping, as our leaders advises…while our country…no, our economy goes through “a rough patch,” according to the President.

Where are the dead? Show us the dead. Come clean. There is more grief in our hearts than the American debt, the real cost of war. Show us the truth.

In 2005 I published a limited edition broadside of a poem by the great American poet of spirit and protest, Robert Bly, “Call and Answer” The first two stanzas of that poem read:

Tell me why it is we don’t lift our voices these days
And cry over what is happening. Have you noticed
The plans are made for Iraq and the ice cap is melting?

I say to myself: “Go on, cry. What’s the sense
Of being an adult and having no voice? Cry out!
See who will answer! This is Call and Answer!

This is a day to remember the dead. Our tortuous trail of secrecy and blank pages of history. All that blood not appropriate for prime time news, the ghost-parade of flag-draped coffins quietly landing in the dark nights of American airports.

This is a day we should all paint our hands red. And shake the hand of our President.