Pablo Ouziel: Running for Change

By Pablo Ouziel
Special to

In the 1994 drama film based on a novel by Winston Groom, the world was captivated by a simple man called Forrest Gump and his journey through life. In a famous scene, he starts running and he explains his reasons for running in the following way: " That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road… to the end of town… across Greenbow County… across Alabama… clear to the ocean. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going."

Forrest Gump was running because of a broken heart, and along the way thousands of people began to join him; one man with a broken heart and a whole march for hope was started. Those were the days, at least in the movies.

Back to reality, on July 25th the International Herald Tribune ran a piece titled; "Teens march across America in lonely opposition to war." The article talked about nineteen year old Ashley Casale and eighteen year old Michael Israel who started their 3,000-mile walk from San Francisco to Washington opposing the war in Iraq and hoping that others would join them. The pair did pick up a third marcher, nineteen year old Tom Garrett, but the masses were absent; What happened to them? What happened to all those Americans opposing the war?

If we follow the old saying of two’s company; three’s a crowd, it is evident that we have an anti-war movement growing on the ankles of these young courageous men. Granted that taking into account the US population numbers of 302,465,868 people according to the US census Bureau, three people is a tiny representation for opposition to the war, but at least there are three. After all, it was U.S president Lyndon B. Johnson who said; "Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time."

Who knows, Forrest’s mum did say that "life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you gonna get." Maybe peace loving people will understand the need for this run to continue, and just like Jennie yelled out to Forrest, "run Forrest run", we will all shout to Ashley, Michael and Tom, ‘run guys run’. Maybe then, funding will flow in order for this run to continue, people will take the streets and go from coast to coast until out of breath and with the war stopped, just like Forrest did, they will proclaim; We’re pretty tired… we think we’ll go home now.

Forrest’s run across the country took three and a half years, maybe a run to stop this war will take a lot longer, but then again, running is good for our health, and running for a good cause must be promoted. Who knows, maybe this is America’s chance to embark on an epic journey of healthy change, and prompt foreign runners to join their race, after all many people around the world are waiting to see signs of change to rally behind the American cause; three runners marching for peace, is inspiring, but is simply not enough to stop the war.

Hopefully those Americans looking for something bigger than a weekend rally will follow the footsteps of their three fellow patriots. When pro justice and peace groups chant in unison ‘run America run’, America will run and run and run. It will run so much and so hard that the braces will brake from its legs and it will never have to wear them again.

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-Pablo Ouziel is an activist and a free lance writer based in Spain. His work has appeared in many progressive media including Znet, Palestine Chronicle, Thomas Paine’s Corner and Atlantic Free Press.

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