Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
Ava Lowery is a fifteen-year-old who lives in Alabama. She calls herself a peace activist, and for the past year, she’s been producing her own short animations on her website, peacetakescourage.com. All in all, she’s made about seventy of them, she says, and most of them oppose Bush and his Iraq War.
“I was just so mad about it,” she explains. “And the media are not showing the real images of the war, so I did a lot research and started my own website.”
She submitted one of her latest creations, “WWJD,” to the monthly “contagious” contest that huffingtonpost.com is running. (It’s an open contest that ranks the number of viewers for each submission.)
“WWJD” (“What Would Jesus Do”) is a powerful animation that features a soundtrack of a child singing “Jesus loves me, this I know” while one picture after another of a wounded, bloody, or screaming Iraqi child fills the screen.
“The object of the animation,” says Lowery, is “to get the following point across: Jesus loves Iraqis, too.”
Lowery ends the video with quotations from Beatitudes, including, “Blessed are they who mourn” and “Blessed are the meek” and “Blessed are the merciful” and “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
She says she’s received a lot of positive feedback in short messages back to her site. And she understands that the fact that “people are on the web, and they just let loose.” But she was unprepared for the viciousness of the negative feedback—especially the ugly sexual slurs similar to those that Cindy Sheehan has faced. (If you can’t stand foul language, stop reading now.)
“It’s people like you who need to fucking die and get raped while your corpse rots in the sun,” said one e-mail Lowery shared with me. “Fuck you, I would jack off on your parents if I could. If you don’t like the team, get out of the park. That means take ur small dick and get the fuck off of my homeland you faggot chocolate gulper.”
“You are a TRAITOR to your country and should be executed for treason,” another one said. “All you do is bitch about the US. If you hate it so much, why don’t you GET THE FUCK OUT.”
“Why don’t you go masterbate [sic] to a pic of Sheehan and fuck off,” said a third.
“Are you a muslem [sic] terrorist?” asked another.
She says there was a threat against her that was circulating “on the conservative underground.” And she says she received one e-mail from someone who said, “Contact me ASAP. It concerns a danger to your life.”
When her mom called the number, the person who answered denied any knowledge of the threat, Lowery says.
She adds: “I was really weirded out by it.”