A woman’s journey to — and across — the soul-destroying chasm between veterans and others.
“IS ANYBODY LISTENING?” TRAILER
What veterans say about the film: “Shows real understanding of veterans” – “Spectacular!” – “Powerful” – “Deeply moving” – “Important” – “Awesome”
“Is Anybody Listening?” is a powerful and moving film that gets the non-veteran world interacting with the Veteran as a human being and gives the Veteran the chance to speak and feel safe doing so, something which too rarely happens, Ultimately, both sides are helped to connect, which is essential for us all.
–Shad Meshad, Founder and Director, National Veterans Foundation
What nonveterans say about the film:
“Phenomenal!” – “Brilliant!” – “Impressive” – “Grounded in love” – “Powerful” – “A gem…heartfelt…moved me deeply. I learned something about myself and my relationship with vets – including my silent father… a healing tool for our divided nation.”
Sgt. Isaac Pope and Paula J. Caplan. Sgt. Pope was 1st Sgt. for Paula’s father during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
ABOUT THE FILM
Paula J. Caplan grew up listening to – but not remembering – stories her beloved father, Jerome Caplan, told yearly about being Captain of an all-Black battery in The Battle of the Bulge. Her bewilderment about her inability to remember those stories led her to listen to hundreds of veterans. Her alarm that veterans’ deeply human reactions to war and rape are diagnosed as mental illness drove her to set up free sessions nationwide for a nonveteran to listen in wholehearted, respectful silence to whatever a veteran wants to say, reducing veterans’ soul-crushing isolation and nonveterans’ illiteracy about war and rape. Paula takes us on her journey through interviews with veterans including Sgt. Isaac Pope — a 96-year-old, Black man who served with Captain Caplan, archival footage, and visual art.
Toward an honest commemoration of the American War in Vietnam
The Full Disclosure campaign is a Veterans For Peace effort to speak truth to power and keep alive the antiwar perspective on the American war in Viet Nam — which is being commemorated during this decade with a series of 50th anniversary events. Full Disclosure represents a clear alternative to the Pentagon’s current efforts to sanitize and mythologize that war, and to thereby legitimize further unnecessary and destructive wars.
An opinion poll indicates 71 percent of Americans approve of President Nixon’s Vietnam policy.
Nixon asserts: “I’m not going to be the first American president to lose a war.”
At the same time, 58% of Gallup respondents say U.S. entry into the war was a mistake.
CIA-trained secret army under Vang Pao seizes the Plain of Jars and Communist-controlled Xieng Khoang.
After a series of reports in The New York Times, a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Stuart Symington holds closed hearings on the United States’ “secret” war in Laos.
Oct 1 – Meade County Judge rules that Fort Knox coffee house landlord had right to evict coffeehouse for non-payment of rent, in spite of the fact that the coffee house staff had attempted to pay the rent.
Oct 9 – Fort Knox Coffeehouse is firebombed.
Oct 9 – Bad Kreuznach Base, West Germany, locked down to stop on-base demonstration.
Oct 11 – 100 soldiers from Fort Bragg, North Carolina (mostly returned combat veterans) march in a Moratorium against the War demonstration Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Oct 12 – Led by 100 women, close to 10,000 demonstrators march from the GI coffeehouse in Fort Dix in solidarity with the Fort Dix 38. See entry for June 5.
Oct 12 – 500 active-duty GIs march against the war in San Francisco.
Oct 13 – A group of GIs based around the Shelter Half use its facilities to produce the first issue of a new paper, Fed Up, followed a week later by a meeting on base to form a local chapter of the American Servicemen’s Union (ASU). When military police break up the meeting, the soldiers continue talking in the brig, and the ASU is born. The army eventually dropped all charges, and the newly formed ASU local, strengthened by its victory, grew to upwards of 75 members. The ASU and Fed Up organized not just around the war, but around radical issues that antiwar soldiers and the antiwar movement were drawn to: the ASU worked with the United Farm Workers to boycott non-union grapes and lettuce on base, and Fed Up featured articles on racism, imperialism, and capitalism.
Oct 15 – The “Moratorium” peace demonstration is held in Washington and several U.S. cities. The Moratorium developed from Jerome Grossman‘s April 20, 1969, call for a general strike if the war has not concluded by October. David Hawk and Sam Brown, who previously worked on the unsuccessful 1968 presidential campaign of Eugene McCarthy, assisted by the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, changed the concept to a moratorium and began to organize as the Vietnam Moratorium Committee with David Mixner, Marge Sklenkar, John Gage, and others.
The event is a clear success, with millions participating throughout the world. Boston is the site of the largest turnout; about 100,000 attend a speech by anti-war Senator George McGovern. An Oxford Rhodes Scholar named Bill Clinton organizes and participates in the demonstration in England (this will be an issue in his future presidential campaign). See video.
Demonstration organizers receive support from North Vietnam Prime Minister Phạm Văn Đồng, who wrote to them: “…may your fall offensive succeed splendidly,” the first public acknowledgement of the American anti-war movement to come from Hanoi. Dong’s comments infuriate American conservatives including Vice President Spiro Agnew who lambastes the protesters as Communist “dupes” comprised of “an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.”
Oct 27-30 – Called Giant Lance, the operation launches 18 B-52 bombers, each armed with nuclear weapons, toward the eastern border of the Soviet Union. The bombers even required mid-air refueling – a procedure that posed the risk of the aircraft colliding and dropping their nuclear bombs at the border, something hardly advisable in such tense times, even if they weren’t armed. Halting at the edge of Soviet airspace, the nuclear-laden bombers prowl the skies for three days, taunting Soviet aircraft that had been launched in response. On the diplomatic side, Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev sends the Soviet ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Dobrynin, to meet with Kissinger and Nixon. At this meeting, Nixon continues with his “madman” ploy – lashing out at and even threatening the ambassador, who reported to Moscow: “Nixon is unable to control himself even in a conversation with a foreign ambassador.” Believing they have achieved their goals, on October 30, 1969, Nixon recalls the bombers and ends Giant Lance.
Oct 30 – Fort Knox coffeehouse is firebombed again.
Organizers of Fort Knox coffeehouse are indicted by Grand Jury of “criminal activity” at the coffeehouse.
Rep. Bob Wilson, Republican of California and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, issues a press release saying that the Defense Department is warning military personnel “against associating themselves with the so-called ‘March Against Death’” (meaning the upcoming anti-war Moratorium demonstration on Nov 15.
2016 National Book Award Finalist, Viet Thanh Nguyen:
“All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory . . . . Memory is haunted, not just by ghostly others but by the horrors we have done, seen, and condoned, or by the unspeakable things from which we have profited.”