The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers
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Omer Fast's film, 5000 Feet Is The Best, is first in a series of modern art ... - Metro

Omer Fast's film, 5000 Feet Is The Best, is first in a series of modern art ... - Metro | The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers | Scoop.it
Omer Fast's film, 5000 Feet Is The Best, is first in a series of modern art ...
Metro
He suffers from his wartime experiences in the same way a soldier engaged in more traditional warfare does.
Marti Seaton's insight:

This film brings to life the blogs, articles, images, interviews and stories on the Iraqi War.  Viewers will find many parallels to the experiences Kevin Powers describes in Yellow Birds.

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Iraq: Photographs by Sean Smith at Imperial War Museum North ...

Iraq: Photographs by Sean Smith at Imperial War Museum North ... | The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers | Scoop.it
Imperial War Museum North commemorates the tenth anniversary of the war in Iraq with images revealing the complex relationship between military and civilian communities. ...
Marti Seaton's insight:

These photographs could serve as illustrations for many of the scenes in Kevin Powers' The Yellow Birds.  Even though his text is rich with vivid imagery that easily transport the reader's mind's eye to the village of Al Tafar in Iraq, this collection of photographs checks the reality of that imagination.

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What the US invasion felt like to Iraqis (Kukis) | Informed Comment

What the US invasion felt like to Iraqis (Kukis) | Informed Comment | The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers | Scoop.it
Defining how Iraqis felt about the collapse is difficult, because the experience set loose so many conflicting emotions. Anger mingled with joy. Relief came with dread. Hopefulness ...
Marti Seaton's insight:

This text describes the Iraqi war from its citizens' perspective, based on interviews with a variety of sources.

In The Yellow Birds, Powers involves a number of Iraqis in the soldiers' experiences, as support "personnel" for their efforts to occupy (and reoccupy) Al Tafar.  This text would shed light on the lives behind the cast of very minor characters described by Powers.  Especially the cart driver who is shot after helping remove Murphy's bruised and broken body to the river.

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Kevin Sites Captures PTSD Soldiers War - Business Insider

Kevin Sites Captures PTSD Soldiers War - Business Insider | The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers | Scoop.it
On the streets of Fallujah, Iraq in 2004, veteran journalist Kevin Sites interviewed William Wold (Video link, starts at 23:00), a young Marine emotionally charged from combat, who had killed six insurgents just moments before relating his...
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This book presents an interview with an Iraqi Marine who suffered from PTSD after killing six insurgents.

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War and Healing Depicted in Silicon Valley Art Gallery - NYTimes.com

War and Healing Depicted in Silicon Valley Art Gallery - NYTimes.com | The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers | Scoop.it
The artists themselves may be veterans and civilians who have firsthand experience with war and other kinds of violence, but the goal is to reach the uninitiated, to explain and educate. Ehren Tool is a mountain of a man with short gray ...
Marti Seaton's insight:

This site presents in vivid images the experiences veterans depict after returning from war.  This is more than therapy for the artists; it is education for the viewers who can gain insights into the violence that shook their souls.

 

In The Yellow Birds, we surmise we see a thinly veiled autobiography of the author's tour in Iraq in the account his protagonist offers of his tour and its aftermath.  Like many other veterans throughout time, Powers turned to writing to sort out this traumatic experience.  With his MFA from the University of Texas he developed the skills to articulate this experience "with compassion and intelligence", claims Alice Sebold, author of Lovely Bones and Lucky, who also turned to writing to sort out her own traumatic attack.

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Prison Planet.com » 25 disturbing facts about psych drugs, soldiers ...

Prison Planet.com » 25 disturbing facts about psych drugs, soldiers ... | The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers | Scoop.it
16) In the years since the Iraq War began, twice as many soldiers of the Texas Army National Guard have died of suicide than in combat. 17) Defense Secretary Leon Panetta calls military suicides an “epidemic”.
Marti Seaton's insight:

This article lists many disturbing statistics about the effects of the Iraq War on America's soldiers.  More have died from suicide than from combat.  Not enough is being done to combat this "side effect" of our war on terror.

 

The narrator in Kevin Powers' The Yellow Birds, Johnny Bartel, reports similarly disturbing responses.  He struggles to readjust to civilian life after a tour in Iraq that ended with the death of his buddy, Murphy.  He had lied during the debriefing about his view of his war experiences so he hadn't received any treatment for his PTSD.  Within months Johnny tries to commit suicide by drowning in the river near his rural home in Virginia.  It's not even a conscious decision or intentional act, like throwing himself off a bridge.  He just knows he can't join his hometown friends who have invited him to join them for a good time at the river.  His subconscious takes over as he wades into the river to "be asleep forever" (Powers 144) because he is "drowning" in the memories of all the women and children and old men that he killed and saw killed in Al Tafar, including Murphy.  He is rescued only to face charges and jail time for the circumstances under which Murphy died.  We eventually learned that Murphy had wandered off from his platoon and been killed in a horrific way by the enemy; the implication is that he had detached himself from the war and wanted to die.  His death triggered a coverup by their commander, Sargeant Sterling, involving dumping Murphy's body in the river near Al Tafar and reporting him missing.  The novel closes with Bartel imagining Murph's body"finally break apart near the mouth of the gulf, where the shadows of the date palms fell in long, dark curtains on his bones, now scattered, and swept them out to sea, toward a line of waves that break forever as he enters them" (226).  Only when he imagines Murph at peace can he be more at peace about his failure to bring this buddy back home alive to his family.

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