“Finding Our Voices: Stories of American Dissent” premieres at the Roxy, Wed March 18

“Tell me what you need. What you really want,” cried out anti-war protestors in NYC, 2008. Their answer: “Justice.”

Nothing selfish about that.

Providing the most accurate portrayal of American dissenters against the Iraq-war, “Finding Our Voices: Stories of American Dissent” does ultimate justice to this nation’s foundational ideology – civil protest.

This political documentary, which premieres exclusively this Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Merrill’s Roxy Theater, is the most refreshing and patriotic lens into American public opinion.

Passionate, creative, and empowered, the protestors of this documentary are not the hand-cuffed hooligans we’ve come to expect – but grandmothers, Iraq veterans, women, men, blacks, and whites who were never silent, but strategically ignored for their political opposition to the Iraq war.

It is popular today to be anti-war; politicians have run their candidacy on the claim that they were one of the few, from the beginning who disapproved of the war – Obama included. “Finding our Voices” proves that it wasn’t always so popular to be anti-government.  Nor was it easy.

“It’s a shame that a government of the people, for the people, and by the people, will not talk to the people or listen to the people,” spoke a member of CODEPINK: Women for Peace at a Capitol Hill protest.

The irony is unassailable, said producer Holly Stadler. We are a country built on the right and need to have civil protestation, and yet any acts of political dissent are discouraged and criminalized on a daily basis.

Narrated by Martin Sheen, the documentary secures the link between civil protestation and democracy; “Dissent is a cornerstone of the American dream, from the Declaration of Independence to civil rights, to the enfranchisement of women,” the press release said.

The film does an excellent job of haranguing the mainstream media for its complicity in supporting the Iraq War. “People are tired of digesting the lies of mainstream media,” said a protestor at Capitol Hill, directly into the camera. A poster behind him read, “Fox News is Fear.”

The film editors were sure to include both their own footage and that night’s televised re-cap of the same event – cleverly exposing the media’s continuous manipulation of footage for dramatic appeal. Dissenters somehow became criminals: loud, angry and uncontrollable on a major network’s Nightly News coverage. “Finding our voices” shows the real story: women and men chanting, singing, and holding signs in peaceful protest.

The documentary reigns in the opinions of eight distinctly different political dissenters – including Iraq veterans, mothers of deceased 9/11 firefighters, political organizers, and US Congressmen Jim Moran (D-VA).

Emotionally stirring and informative, this documentary shows us exactly what the mass media forgets to showcase: Americans are not as apathetic and cynical of their government as they are fed up. Calling for peace, accountability, and humanity, they ask for the right to protest, the coverage to be heard, and the factual justification to send American soldiers, men and women willing to risk their lives, into fierce battle.

The film affirms; ask both what you can do for your country and what your country can do for you?

There will be two showings in Vermont:
Wed, 3/18 Merrill’s Roxy, 222 College St., Burlington
$10 ($8 students)

Thurs, 3/19 Big Picture Theater, 48 Carroll Rd (just off Rt. 100), Waitsfield
$8 (discount for students)