Join KLRU and the Austin Public Library for the Indie Lens Pop-Up screening of the documentary National Bird. This free event takes place Tuesday, April 4th, at 7 pm at the Austin Public Library Windsor Park Branch 5833 Westminster Dr., Austin, TX, 78723.
National Bird follows whistleblowers who, despite possible consequences, are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. The film gives rare insight through the eyes of both survivors and veterans who suffer from PTSD while plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries.
We will have special guest Alan Pogue sharing his experiences after the film. Alan Pogue was drafted into the U.S. Army in the summer of 1966 and volunteered to be a medic. After medic training he was asked to be a chaplain’s assistant. He volunteered to go to Vietnam as a chaplain’s assistant. After a short time in Vietnam he volunteered to be a combat medic with the 198th Light Infantry, near Chu Lai. As a combat medic he witnessed not only the death and wounding of fellow soldiers but also the gratuitous murder and general harm done to the Vietnamese population by indiscriminate assault, napalm, bombs of all kinds and sizes, and the poisoning of the countryside with Agent Orange. Once back in the United States he soon joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. His interest in photography started in Vietnam and so the documentation of social injustice became central to my photography. In 1998 the American Friends Service Committee asked him to visit Iraq and document the sufering of the general Iraqi population due to the embargo basic food and medical supplies.Voices in the Wilderness, an anti-snactions group, asked him to return to Iraq for the missile strikes on Baghdad. He photographed the the effects of indiscriminate missile strikes on hospitals, neighborhoods and the resultant maiming and death. Veterans for Peace asked him to help in the rebuilding of a water treatment plant in southern Iraq which had fallen into disrepair because the parts need were embargoed. There he met Asraa, a ten year old girl whose arm had been blown off by a U.S. Navy jet that fired a missile near her middle school. He met Mustafa who was harmed and his brother Haider killed in a similar missile strike in Basra. Later he met Asraa, three years old, whose eyes were struck by tiny metal fragments from a tank round fired into her home by the U.S. Army. He helped bring these three children to the United States for medical care. He also saw hundreds die who were beyond help. Many of these children could have lived with proper medical care but neither the medicine nor the medical equipment was there because of the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Britain. Often groups he was with brought in medicine even though bringing the medicine was against U.S. law. Some of his friends were prosecuted for helping sick and dying children.
Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. Featuring documentaries seen on PBS’s Independent Lens, Indie Lens Pop-Up draws local residents, leaders and organizations to discuss what matters most, from newsworthy topics, to family and relationships. Make friends, share stories, and join the conversation.