Recollecting peaceful pages that have disappeared
Because search engines silently drop defunct sites from their databases, thousands of documents can disappear and it hardly commands our attention. Like a gigantic supermarket, the World Wide Web has an aura of totality about it that makes it easy to miss when something is absent. Distracted by perpetual media stimulation, it requires a good memory to notice when content disappears. Perceiving the decay and transformation of the online anti-war movement requires either living memory or scholarship and ingenuity.
This directory of dead sites memorializes the abundant online war resistance of recent decades. It's a tribute to effort put forth by people all over the world. It remains for us to decide what has been accomplished. Clearly some larger Internet-centric institutions have emerged in this same period, such as Move On, Code Pink, and United for Peace and Justice. The novelty of the World Wide Web led to an unprecedented variety of publications in opposition to war. The sudden accessibility of global audiences inspired many people to dedicate their spare time and money to establish web "presences." These have reflected many different causes, but the widespread discontent about the war in Iraq, and the politicians that made it happen, inspired a remarkable amount of "web development."
Although the war in Iraq continues (2009), opposition to it outside Iraq — as measured by public protests and opinion polls — has weakened. The mainstream media in the United States has dedicated very little news coverage to the war since 2007, so it is not surprising that attention has shifted to other concerns. It is perhaps a good time, then, to begin assessing the role of the independent media in the anti-war efforts, and ways that independent media could be more effective in future efforts to curtail militarist escapades. Clearly there are still many anti-war and pro-peace initiatives that are active and that use online media. But to what effect? Clearly many have abandoned their independent efforts because they did not appear to be having an effect. Despite the present malaise and the relative impotence of the anti-war movement, the narrative that emerges concerning this period should reflect the way that public awareness was affected by countless media interventions by individuals and groups. This project offers a new way of perceiving and evaluating both the achievements and failures of this abundant online activism.
Anti War 404 is a project of Andy Deck for GetPeaceful.org. It is closely related to two earlier projects, the Anti-War Directory and the Anti-War Web Ring, because many of the links featured in those information services have disappeared. Contributions to this collection from the general public are welcomed. It is unclear how collaborative the site's authorship will become. If some individuals contribute significantly to the collection, they will be credited here.