Thursday, October 16, 7:00 PM
University of Texas at Austin, Garrison 0.102
Camilo Mejía grew up in Nicaragua and Costa Rica before moving to the United States in 1994. He joined the military at the age of nineteen, serving as an infantryman in the active-duty army for three years before transferring to the Florida National Guard.
After fighting in Iraq for five months, Mejía became the first known Iraq veteran to refuse to fight the war in Iraq, citing moral concerns about the war and occupation.
He was eventually convicted of desertion by a military court and sentenced to a year in prison.
Mejía currently serves as the chair of the board of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and is the author of Road from ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia: An Iraq War Memoir (new edition, Haymarket Books 2008).
In Road from ar Ramadi, Mejía tells his own story, from his upbringing in Central America and his experience as a working-class immigrant in the United States to his service in Iraq - where he witnessed prisoner abuse and was deployed in the Sunni triangle - and time in prison. In this stirring book, he argues passionately for human rights and the end to an unjust war.
"The truth as I see it now is that in a war, the bad is often measured against what's worse, and that, in turn, makes a lot of deplorable things seem permissible. When that happens, the imaginary line between right and wrong starts to vanish in a heavy fog, until it disappears completely and decisions are weighed on a scale of values that is profoundly corrupt."
--Camilo Mejía, Road from ar Ramadi