Sunday, 16 January 2011

Fighting talk at the Ladies' Library

Some time ago I wrote a book about how a World War changed the lives of people in a small English town in Northamptonshire. It revived painful memories for some of those whom I interviewed, even though the passing of a whole half century had helped to heal the wounds.

How much more difficult it must have been for an American author engaged in a similar task, but faced with people affected by today's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wars in which, as the author says, the public is "neither engaged in the issues of these two wars nor familiar with the troops’ experiences."

That's the challenge which Brewster people will learn about when they hear author Larry Minear in a panel discussion of his recently published book Through Veterans’ Eyes: The Iraq and Afghanistan Experience.

As Director of the Humanitarianism and War Project at Brown and then at Tufts universities, Cape Cod resident Larry Minear has worked for the past 20 years as a researcher on international and internal armed conflicts.

His interviews with aid workers, soldiers, and local populations in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean have resulted in the publication of more than 14 books. For more information click on

Joining Mr Minear on the panel to explore the various impacts of the wars will be a veteran from the area who has been deployed to these conflicts and Barry Donahue, staff photographer of the Cape Codder and father of a Marine Lance Corporal who completed two deployments to Afghanistan.

The discussion which is at Brewster Ladies’ Library on Tuesday 18 January 2011 from 7.00 - 8.00 pm is entitled 'The Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: Reflections by Veterans and Their Families.' It's part of a 'Beyond our Borders' programme of discussions presented by the Library, and admission is free.

A painful subject for discussion.

An appropriate time - it's ten years since the event which so many ex-servicemen blame for their mysterious Gulf War syndrome.

And a challenge for the organisers to wrap up neatly such a controversial subject in the space of an hour.

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