Sunday, February 04, 2007

Eyes Wide Open - Weep With Me

On Friday and Saturday, February 2 and 3, a partial exhibit of Eyes Wide Open, an Exhibition on the Human Cost of the Iraq War (National Guard Memorial), was displayed on the mall of the University of Arizona. Sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Arizona Presbyterian Campus Ministry, this exhibit has travelled around the country, sadly growing as it travels.The full exhibit currently has over 3000 pairs of boots. The February 2-3 exhibit displayed approximately 458 pairs of boots - 80 pairs in memory of Arizona soldiers (three of whom were Army National Guard) and the rest in memory of National Guard members from throughout the nation who lost their lives in the current Iraq war. Some of the boots were those worn by the fallen soldiers and were donated by their families. The majority were purchased from an army surplus store. The boots above are in memory of PFC Lori Piestewa, 23, of Tuba City, Arizona. She was the first American female soldier to die in Iraq. Piestewa, a single mother of two and a Hopi Indian, was one of the few American Indian women serving in the military.

In addition to the boots, there is an exhibit of 50 pairs of civilian shoes, memorializing the first five hundred Iraqi civilians who were killed in the war. ("A recent estimate from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health ascribed approximately 655,000 civilian Iraqi deaths to the war." See also Iraq Body Count which gives a current estimate of civilian Iraqi deaths.)

"The exhibit is designed to be a memorial to all those who lost their lives in the [Iraq] war. While the AFSC, a faith-based organization, has a historic position against all war, this event is not intended as a protest. ... AFSC champions the dignity and worth of every individual, the sanctity of human life, and humanity's collective responsibility to promote peace."

Quotes are from information provided by the exhibit sponsors. For more information about Eyes Wide Open, go to the American Friends Service Committee web site: www.afsc.org/eyes.

8 comments:

robin andrea said...

That is such a touching, heartbreaking tribute. Somehow empty boots and shoes really convey a lost life. They're a haunting images. I'm glad you went and recorded this for us. Thank you.

Endment said...

Touching, heartbreaking, overwhelming...

Peacechick Mary said...

I participated in the little shoes with Iraqi children's names on them and still make a few now and then to put around in special places. When I first made them, I got so low I thought I would fall apart with the sadness. It's not as hard to do now. You are lucky you could see the display and thank you for posting about it.

LauraHinNJ said...

I remember Lori's story and seeing her family on tv.

It's impossible, I tnink< to get your mind around the numbers of dead without some visual cue. All those empty shoes (just of portion of so many)is heartbreaking to see.

Cindy said...

and I often wonder why we can't treat wildlife with respect.. we can't even manage that within our own species.. haunting images and a very powerful post my friend.

jimmy said...

"YES" The cost of war is sad,but I keep in mind that someday soon we will be in heaven and no more wars....

chiefbiscuit said...

Somehow shoes convey the person so it is wrenching to see them like that - but it is a great way to remind people of the cost. Even if it makes us all feel very very sad. Thanks for posting this Pam.

Sarah McIntosh Puglisi said...

Thank you for posting this. I just visited here today and I'm going to link to you , if you will allow me. Your blog is inspirational. This exhibit brings me to tears. Art has such power.