A Soldier's Peace, A Documentary Premiere in Second Life
To date 4,311 men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces have perished in a 6-year war on foreign soil in Iraq.
For many of us, the ever-increasing count of American and Iraqi dead has been a central fact driving our political lives since it became clear that Bush was intent against all reason on pursuing a preemptive misadventure in Iraq. It is what drove us to the blogs, to march and to protest, to speak out.
For those in Red States, where opportunities to voice opposition with any real effect have seemed too few and far between, few examples of principled dissent have been more inspiring than that of Sgt. Marshall Thompson, who--on his return to Utah from a year in Iraq as an Army journalist--undertook to walk the state's length to talk with everyday Utahns about war and peace. The award-winning 2007 documentary A Soldier's Peace by Kristen and Marshall Thompson chronicles his remarkable 500-mile journey into activism.
Netroots Nation in Second Life and Virtually Speaking are very proud to announce the Second Life premiere of this simple yet powerful film.
The image above is of the Iraq War Memorial the NNSL team have built on Netroots Island in Second Life, with one simple, unadorned marker for each fallen son or daughter. Although the virtual land, the markers, and the Arena exist only as binary digits in a database and pixels in phosphor, the effect of "walking" through the memorial display is powerful and sobering.
The memorial is right next to Netroots Nation Arena, where we will be showing A Soldier's Peace at 5:00 pm PDT on Saturday, June 20. So we invite you not only to see the film, but also to arrive early and walk through our memorial, a labor of love in its own right. Following the film, Daily Kos's own CS Kendrick (known to some of us CS Kappler, one of the hosts of the Second Life interview series Virtually Speaking), will interview Marshall Thompson, after which, in our usual Second Life style, we will retire to one of our favorite SL hangouts, the Lonely Yak, for live music and a DJ.
Yes, this is another Netroots Nation in Second Life diary, but not like the ones we've posted so far across Left Blogistan. We won't be gushing about all the cool things you can see and do in our favorite 3D virtual world. No joyous, exuberant cheerleading here--not, mind you, that we have any problem with joyous cheerleading. But these images, these thoughts, these themes, call for a more measured respect towards the silence of the grave. If you want to know more about our strange little world and how to join and navigate it, follow the links given in one ofthese terrific diaries.
Tonight, we're here to talk about Thompson's own solitary labor of love, which was met with official resistance before it even began. From Atkinson on Film's review of A Soldier's Peace:
Upon learning of Thompson’s plan, state officials initially insisted that he must obtain a permit for his walk, then not only did these same officials deny his application, but also told him that if he started on his roadside walk, he would be arrested "because his walk would have no purpose" (i.e., akin to a vagrancy charge). His attorney father-in-law, collaborating with ACLU lawyers, persuaded the Utah Attorney General to permit Thompson’s peace walk rather than face litigation on violation of his First Amendment rights. The AG capitulated, and Thompson set out, with one friend, early on a rainy morning, October 2, 2006, with his backpack and rain slicker.
For more information about the film, visit its official website at http://www.soldierspeace.com, and to find out more about the hosts, visit http://www.nninsl.org and http://virtuallyspeaking.ning.com.