FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Bradley Manning Survey

by MISSY BEATTIE

While driving through a March mix, I parallel processed—articles about Bradley Manning, reader comments, the tempo of the windshield wipers clearing slush, if I should turn around and postpone the appointment. Then, the word “snain” appeared—a reminiscence. Some weatherman’s use of “snain” years ago. H, so young with little-boy joy, laughed a melody, repeating the word, amusing himself and us—his parents and older brother. I smiled at the memory. Turn around? No. I was almost at my dentist’s office. Plus, the Lesbaru’s resolute.

I ran from the car to the building. After signing in, I sat, staring at fish that looked like Rothko paintings in the huge aquarium dividing the room into two areas, one for telly watching and the other for reading.

Then I shifted my focus to one of several articles I’d read about Bradley Manning. His trial testimony. That he attempted to interest the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Politico in his evidence of war crimes. They ignored.

Beneath this piece, a reader had entered in the comment section that most Americans wouldn’t know who Bradley Manning is.

I decided to conduct my own little survey.

Approaching two men seated in the reading side of the reception area, I said, “Excuse me, do you know who Bradley Manning is?” Neither did.

“He’s the 25-year-old Army soldier in prison over 1000 days for exposing war crimes. Was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

One of the men said, “Oh, yeah.”

I continued: “He disclosed a video of an Apache helicopter in Iraq whose crew killed more than 12 Iraqi civilians and two Reuters war correspondents.”

Blank stare from one. Faint smile from the other.

I waited. Soon a woman entered. “Excuse me. I’m taking a survey. Do you know who Bradley Manning is?” She shook her head no. I informed.

From the television, weather announcers reported the latest about the “fat snowflakes”. I moved to watch the storm tracking. A woman came in and sat nearby. Leaning towards her, I asked the question. She didn’t know. Again, I informed.

I went to the restroom. Came out to see someone removing her coat. Sitting next to her, I said, “Excuse me. Are you familiar with Bradley Manning?” She nodded yes. I waited.

“I don’t think he should be in prison.” She said this, cautiously, almost whispering.

“I’ve asked four others, and you’re the first person who’s known.”

We talked until she was summoned.

Are you wondering why I had time for this study? I was an hour early. Had entered 10:50 on my calendar instead of 11:50. The research subjects were called waaaayyyy before I was, probably relieved (with one exception) to escape my question and ensuing sermon.

Finally, “Beattie.”

Seated in the dental chair, I said to the hygienist, “Do you know who Bradley Manning is?” She didn’t. I informed.

She poked that pick in my mouth and began scraping. Then did the minty scrub with the rubber-tipped instrument. “You’re due X-Rays.”

“No thanks.”

She was shoving some party favors (that actually totaled $130.00) into a goody bag when the dentist appeared.

“I’m conducting a survey. Do you recognize the name Bradley Manning?”

He said, “Is he related to Eli? Or is he a porn star?”

“He exposed war porn.”

Told him about the Collateral Murder video and the Nobel Peace Prize nomination. “He’s 25-years-old,” I said. “And he’d been in a military prison over 1000 days.”

He changed the subject, commenting on my boots.

Another opportunity while I paid: As an employee printed my receipt, I asked the question. She said, “No.” When I told her, she said, “I’m only concerned with Maryland politics. This governor is killing us, sending jobs out of the state.”

I walked through big refreshing snowflakes to power on the Lesbaru, thinking only one among eight people knew. And here’s her story: When she said, “I don’t think he should be in prison,” I noticed an accent. Russian. She told me she immigrated 14 years ago, excited she was leaving a country that propagandized. Convinced she was moving to one that didn’t.

“It’s just as bad here. When I pick up my son at school, I sometimes hear an announcement: ‘This is the greatest country in the world.’”

She made a face and put her hands up to cover her ears.

Soooooo, I have a new plan. I’ll be the disseminator of real news. In reception areas. At the grocery. A restaurant. On a train. Wherever. Resolute, like the Lesbaru. Tenacious as a Jehovah’s Witness.

Missy Beattie preaches from Baltimore and any area she visits. Contact her at missybeat@gmail.com

 

 

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
Susan Babbitt
Don’t Raise Liberalism From the Dead (If It is Dead, Which It’s Not)
Uri Avnery
Palestine’s Nelson Mandela
Fred Nagel
It’s “Deep State” Time Again
John Feffer
The Hunger President
Stephen Cooper
Nothing is Fair About Alabama’s “Fair Justice Act”
Jack Swallow
Why Science Should Be Political
Chuck Collins
Congrats, Graduates! Here’s Your Diploma and Debt
Aidan O'Brien
While God Blesses America, Prometheus Protects Syria, Russia and North Korea 
Patrick Hiller
Get Real About Preventing War
David Rosen
Fiction, Fake News and Trump’s Sexual Politics
Evan Jones
Macron of France: Chauncey Gardiner for President!
David Macaray
Adventures in Labor Contract Language
Ron Jacobs
The Music Never Stopped
Kim Scipes
Black Subjugation in America
Sean Stinson
MOAB: More Obama and Bush
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail