Leaders who do not act dialogically…

“Leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people – they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.” 

Paulo Freire from the Pedagogy of the Oppressed

* * *

From the Brooklyn Rail

Iraq
2003-2004

“Later that week this lieutenant showed up and ordered us to put up concertina wire everywhere. He discussed the possibility of booby traps and the need for all of us to dig in. Adopt fighting positions.

It made no sense at all unless the goal was to lose the hearts and minds of the people. To make them stop thinking of us as liberators and start thinking of us as occupiers….

The fortification of our site encouraged us to hole up, and it encouraged the locals to minimize their contact with us. We moved dutifully to establish fighting positions that would block potential fire coming at us and keep the enemy from seeing us clearly.

However, we didn’t have a lot of materials to make our fighting positions. We had rocks. Lots and lots of rocks. That was it. So out fighting positions involved piling rocks into a kind of enclosure where we might comfortably take cover.

The locals, who build their homes and their walls and everything else by stacking rocks on top of one another, saw us in our little rock-piling project.

They watched us, intrigued.

“No, no. Please. Let us help you.”

“This is a military precaution,” we explained. “To protect us. From attack.”

“Yes. Yes. But please. Let us assist. We know how to do this better.”

So we agreed. What  else were we going to do? And so the locals built our fighting positions for us. To help us protect ourselves. From them.”

(From “Love my rifle more than you:
Young and Female in the U.S. Army”
by Kayla Williams)

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