Fireworks and Combat Trauma Politiku

Fireworks and Combat Trauma Politiku
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Fireworks & Combat Trauma Politiku

Craig Newmark's recent blogpost about National PTSD Awareness Day inspired me to draft a proposal for a series of Politiku workshops for U.S. Military Veterans dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to combat trauma. Craig referred me to Lily Casura, author of the website for additional info on the topic.

4th of July Fireworks can be stressful, isolating, alienating and outright exhausting for vets suffering from PTSD. Moreover, they may not necessarily be in the mood to discuss the political issues behind their most recent tours of duty with their civilian families who only know what the media tells them and, in all fairness, why should they? Why should one individual be singlehandedly responsible for setting the record straight, given how polarized the issue has become? Given the diversity of perspectives on this issue, how accurate would one individual's perspective be, anyway?

Most of us -- myself included -- grew up associating Fourth of July fireworks with excitement. In Washington, DC, Dad, Mom my brother and me would all go to the Ellipse early to place a picnic blanket by the Reflecting Pool and twirl sparklers as the sun set while waiting till 9:30 when it was dark enough for rose shaped streaks to rip open the sky as we cheered. We would then ooo and ah as the twinklies descended on parachutes and then head home in a blissful fume of post grand finale haze. Though each and every family has their variation upon the theme, it seems to me most Americans still honor the 4th in some way involving family and fireworks. It's an altogether awesome holiday -- one of the few in this country that truly everyone can be a part of!
For soldiers dealing with combat trauma, however, the explosive blasts can trigger a more visceral fight/flight response because of their similarities to the blasts and explosions experienced in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Being surrounded by explicit and implicit displays of patriotism and anti-patriotism can further augment a shell shocked combat vet's sense of displacement.

I want to be clear that Politiku is not therapy. A Politiku writing workshop for vets dealing with combat trauma might be of value to some because it is a journalistic and literary based technique would enable these individuals to condense their complicated, timely and multifaceted experiences into simple and accessible piece of poetry for them to choose to share with others or not.

This Politiku proposal is 21 slides; mostly images. Assuming you're on vaca and don't wanna be bothered with anything too long and complicated, I assure you that the proposal (embedded below) is a fast, readable and generally un-confusing read and so check it out, okay?

A project like this would benefit the readers as much --if not more-- than it would benefit the writers. Politiku written by combat Vets suffering from PTSD has the potential of helping those who might not otherwise be comfortable with this issue due to its complexity and seeming inpenetrability.

The samples in the Power Point proposal -- provided by Yours Truly -- are my attempt to give a reader a better sense of what a Politiku written by a vet might look like. Here is where the next request comes in:

Submission Call

If you would like to Politiku about vets with PTSD on July 4th and fireworks please post your Politiku in the comment section.

If you are a vet with PTSD and would still like to Politiku but prefer to remain anonymous, you can email your Politiku to to susanna (at) susannaspeier (dot) com and I will feature it anonymously. I will assume that any politiku received in my inbox is mean for anonymous posting.

Need more specifics on how to write Politiku or want to follow for updates and info on future posts? My Facebook fanpage has an FAQ. You can also go to my Huffpo column to read other Politiku posts if you want to get a better sense.

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