Keith Morris Washington on Iraq
In 2005, landscape painter Keith Morris Washington was inspired to paint flowers in a war zone as a metaphor for peace.
Two years earlier, in March 2003, the United States had begun a military campaign in Iraq that Washington vehemently opposed. He attended several anti-war protests, but he felt that going to rallies in Boston, where he was never in any personal danger, was not doing enough to promote peace.
Ultimately he decided that he needed to visit Iraq. He was able to find an NGO that was still operating in the area, the Christian Peacemaker Teams. Their mission is “to devote the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war.” They agreed to let him join them on a ten-day trip to Baghdad and Kerbala.
In this interview he recounts his experiences in Iraq, shows the art that came out of his trip, and discusses individual Americans’ responsibility for the war.