Mark your calendars and organize a screening in your community. Let this Winter Soldier gathering March 13-16 in Washington D.C. be the most observed and talked about event this year.
The four-day event will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan – and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans’ health benefits and support.
The first Winter Soldier investigation was held in Detroit in 1971 marking the first time Vietnam vets gathered to inform the public of the atrocities and war crimes they witnessed or were ordered to commit. The event was well attended by mainstream media, but they chose to almost completely ignore it. The documentary film Winter Soldier was first released in 1972 but was only screened at two venues. It took over 30 years for the film to resurface and make it’s way around independent cinemas in the U.S.
With participatory media on the rise, the testimonies given at this gathering should not suffer the same prescribed censorship. Though the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are headed into their fifth year, a full-scale national mobilization and cultural upheaval seems unlikely, especially since soldiers today haven’t been drafted. However, one has to maintain hope that gatherings such as this will fuel the public’s fire to hold politicians and generals accountable for destroying countries, cultures, and lives.
For those interested in watching or organizing around the proceedings at Winter Soldier, there will be a number of ways to watch and listen to the event.
* Live television broadcast via satellite TV, accessible through Dish Network as well as public access stations that choose to carry our broadcast – Friday and Saturday only
* Live video stream on the web – Thursday through Sunday
* Live radio broadcast via KPFA in Berkley California and other Pacifica member stations – Friday through Sunday
* Live audio stream via KPFA’s website – Friday through Sunday
Though the event is closed (invitations are only for testifiers, members, their families, and some media outlets), independent journalists and bloggers can apply to cover the event by filling out this media registration form.