Learning to Walk Again
John Pitman Weber
The US Occupation of Afghanistan began as an irrational and vengeful “punitive expedition,” without clear goals, without strategy, tactics, logistics or intelligence, -a “bull-in-a-china shop” with high tech weaponry but with a 19th century colonial mentality. Afghan civilians have paid a terrible price for this aimless exercise in looking “strong” and “projecting power.” While the US elite experiments with unconstitutional executive powers beyond our borders and beyond all restraint in tortures, arbitrary detentions, and extra-judicial executions, US soldiers pay with lost limbs and massive head traumas. For every injured US soldier, dozens, if not hundreds of Afghan civilians lose limbs, mere collateral damage, invisible to our “embedded” press. The tens of thousands who must learn to live with their mutilations seem to me more dramatic than the mourning of the tens of thousands dead. The making of artificial limbs is both an urgent necessity and a growth industry. My painting is a small protest of this terrible waste of resources and human life. It renews my commitments in art begun during the Vietnam War.
Best known for public art, John Pitman Weber also paints, and prints. He has participated in major travelling exhibits including MOMA’s “Committed to Print,” the Jewish Museum’s “Bridges and Boundries” and recently “Collaborative Vision: the Poetic Dialogue Project”. He co-founded the Chicago Mural Group (now Chicago Public Art Group) with William Walker in 1970. With Eva and James Cockcroft, he co-authored Toward A People’s Art, the classic account of the early years of the contemporary mural movement. Mr. Weber has created public works in mosaic, paint and cement relief in New York City, Los Angeles, England, France and Nicragua as well as Chicago. He is professor emeritus at Elmhurst College.