Film company launches online Iraq memorial
By LEO SHANE III | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 17, 2007
WASHINGTON — A California-based foundation critical of the U.S. war in Iraq launched an online memorial on Friday to the troops killed in that conflict.
Staff from Brave New Foundation say the virtual Iraq Veterans Memorial, online at http://iraqmemorial.org, is a nonpartisan project separate from their past efforts.
“This is not about politics,” said Robert Greenwald, founder of the group. “No matter what people think about the war, we want them to have a chance to participate.”
So far, the company has collected and posted 20 videos online; site staff said they have nearly 20 more they’ll post over the next few days. The one-minute clips feature friends and family talking about their fallen loved ones’ lives, relationships and call to service.
“I had one mother say to me, ‘Thank you for letting me talk about how my son lived rather than how he died,’” Greenwald said. “You see numbers in the news, but behind every number is a story.”
The Foundation is an outgrowth of Greenwald’s Brave New Films production company. Last year that venture released the documentary “Iraq for Sale” criticizing the use of contractors in the war. In the past, his films have taken aim at the buildup to the war, as well as conservative commentators.
Greenwald said he is not trying to hide his past work to promote the new project.
“We have been telling people that, yes, we do have strong feelings about the war, but this is not a forum for us to express them in,” he said.
The group has scheduled screenings this weekend in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., though Greenwald said staff is avoiding anti-war protests in the nation’s capital to avoid politicizing the project. The launch was scheduled to coincide with the four-year anniversary of the start of the war.
As part of this weekend’s launch, the company will be encouraging bloggers to include some of the clips on their sites and encouraging other families to submit more videos.
“It’s a new idea, and getting people to understand the concept of an online memorial is a challenge,” Greenwald said. “But I’m certain we will continue to get more.”