Shrine calls attention to war deaths days before elections

by Amy Kingsley

Members of the World Can’t Wait commemorated the Latin American holiday Dia de los Muertos with a shrine devoted to those who have lost their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine.

The protesters spent the day before the Nov. 2 holiday constructing and painting the brightly colored structure. They transported the component parts to a grassy patch outside the Old County Courthouse at 3 p.m. and spent nearly an hour piecing them together. Candles, paper flowers and plaster skulls adorned the shrine alongside pictures and names of the deceased.

Kathy Clark, a freelance writer who has been active with the World Can’t Wait since early October, tied together lists of the dead – both Iraqi and American – with ribbon and placed them under the brightly painted skulls. The touch added political relevance to the tradition of communing with deceased loved ones.

“This is what the local chapter of the World Can’t Wait is all about,” she said. “We try to undertake each task with a little bit of joy and creativity.”

In addition to the war dead, the shrine memorialized victims of Hurricane Katrina. Clark was the mastermind behind the Dia de los Muertos monument; she spent most of last week making the skulls. A handful of volunteers helped her construct the shrine.

“Dia de las Muertos fascinates me and it has for a long time,” Clark said. “I thought it would be a good time to commemorate all of the people who have died in war and in Katrina.”

– Amy Kingsley