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Friday, June 15, 2007

Shoes are not just shoes: Stop the War!

In January 2004, The Eyes Wide Open was housed at the Chicago's Federal Plaza with 504 pairs of shoes on display. Since then, the exhibit has brought more than 3,400 pairs of boots to more than 100 cities in 40 states. Eyes Wide Open is now part of a travelling exhibition supported by American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The organisation was founded by Quakers in 1917 dedicated to promote peace and social justice. The exhibit made a second visit to Jersey City recently as a stoic reminder of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians killed in the Iraq War. Outside City Hall, Jersey, 57 pairs of black leather boots and 50 pairs of shoes were exhibited in quiet protest. Each boot had the name, age, and hometown of New Jersey soldiers who died in the Iraq War. The shoes represented Iraqis who perished as a result of the conflict. The boots were placed in lines and the shoes formed a circle with pictures of Iraqi citizens positioned nearby. A small contingent of local volunteers from the American Service Committee were on hand to describe the exhibit. Freelance cameraman, Brian Palmer spoke on his experiences in warfare during both days of the exhibit. Palmer was with the Marine Battalions, on three different occasions and spoke on his experiences in warfare. The speaker was deeply moved after recognising the boots belonging to fallen colleagues. The human cost war and needless loss of life.

According to the Web site Iraq Body Count 3,714 American soldiers have died and over 51,000 are either severely wounded or injured. The estimates just for Iraqis who have died since 2003 have run between 64,000 and 70,000.

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