When I was 25, I moved to Chicago. The first year I lived out there, I worked at a very well known vegan restaurant. I wasn't vegan when I got hired. Eventually, after about 6 months of working there, I went vegan. Cold turkey, no pun intended. I had been an avid meat and cheese eater.
I owe my ex a thank you, for the help in my conversion to veganism. He was vegan and he was my coworker. He was also a political activist. He didn't have much time for me back then, and believe me, I was needy. I didn't have that many/any friends and I didn't understand why he didn't make more time for meeeee.
Now I understand. He worked for the IVAW - Iraq Vets Against the War (also Food Not Bombs and some shit about boycotting Boeing). He was doing things bigger than him, bigger than me, bigger than our relationship. I have the utmost respect for him now, I've actually had it the whole time, but unfortunately, our relationship disintegrated under the pressure of his passion for his activism.
He's met Scott Olsen. His facebook status two days ago* was the reason I looked into who Scott Olsen is and what happened in Oakland.
The Afghanistan/Iraq war started when I was 19, maybe barley 20. And it's still going on. 10 fucking years. I've been desensitized, by this war. At 22, I could (morbid curiosity, what can I say?) watch beheadings on youtube (Did youtube exist back then? Maybe just on shitty modem dial up internet pages that hosted videos). How does one recover from that? How do you trust humans after that? I don't watch PETA videos, because I have seen what humans are capable of doing to each other, let alone defenseless animals.
On that note, obviously I am no advocate of war.Young men and women join the military for a variety of reasons. My own father was in the military, though at a time when there was no war he was called in to fight for. There are many horror stories I have heard second hand, via IVAW members, and I hugely respect the young men that come back from Iraq to stand up to fight against the war. I am 30 now, and it was so painful to me as a 22, 23, 24 year old, to see on the news, pictures of soldiers younger than I, who had died in combat.
On that note - I am sick and horrified that Scott Olsen is 24 years old and now lies in critical condition after police brutality at Occupy Oakland. . He almost died and he may be brain damaged thanks to our domestic police force, while participating in what was to be a peaceful protest against the crooks at Wall Street. After surviving two tours of duty in Iraq. You have got to be fucking kidding me.
I want to believe that people are good at heart. I want to believe that somehow, someway, I am doing something bigger than myself by going vegan. That if I can't stop this war, I can stop some kind of slaughter, in some way.
I am angry and I feel helpless to the horrors of humanity.
*RJ's status - The indignation I feel is hard to express. A member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, someone I have personally met, was shot in the head for peacefully protesting. People have not idea what it means to be a Veteran. My thoughts are with Scott Olsen, IVAW and the entire occupy movement. Thank you to the many I know who have worked and sacrificed to make this movement happen. Let the struggle continue!