Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want all to thrive in

Sunday, May 28, 2006

My son, my son

The action we’re doing this evening is brilliant! Dorothy & I are standing out in front of the security gates handing out our hot pink slips of paper with the stark number “2465” printed on the front & a safety pin. On the back we have typed one of the following messages with the source of the statistic in small print:

72% of U.S. soldiers in Iraq say troops should withdraw by 12/31/06
66% of Americans disapprove of Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq
8000 soldiers have deserted

The crowd appears to be at least 75% pro-war and with the huge soldier presence even closer to 90% “support our troops by not dissenting” crowd. As we have positioned ourselves so close to the entrance, about a third of the folks entering assume I’m standing here in an official capacity.

As I reach out to hand them the number, I ask them if they would like to wear the number of U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq so far in memory of those soldiers tonite? Some are shocked when they look at the number & ask incredulously this many soldiers have died? I say, no, only this many U.S. soldiers have died. If they tarry, I point to my other number that is pinned on the right side of my t-shirt – 1,249,683 – with the last 6 numbers jumbled with numbers overlaying each other as we are not counting the Iraqi dead – mentioning the dead Iraqis; sometimes I also get to slip in 18,000 to 30,000 injured U.S. soldiers, too many of them severely injured.

Others ask me “oh are we supposed to wear this?” Yes I reply firmly.

Still others take the number willingly & then I can see them hesitate as they walk down the path, debating whether to pin it on or not.

Then there’s the group that ‘get’s it’ immediately – they are either the staunchly pro-war folks who snarl disgustedly or the deeply pro-peace who reach out with profound gratitude. The latter take the number & pin it on immediately. The former sometimes stop to vent but most of the time throw some disparaging remark over their shoulders. No one has acted out too terribly tho thus far tonite.

One older white woman, maybe in her mid 60’s, took the number with shaking fingers & thanked me so much for being here. “My son, my son” she stumbles wildly, “my son is going soon.”

Then I see a very tall, maybe mid-thirties son following her into the crowd. He has a deeply troubled look on his disappearing face. Then suddenly he turns back and pleads with me to please stop this war.

I see the depth of his despair. And I see his shame. His helplessness and his faith render me speechless. I can only reach out and hug him silently as I slip a GI rights card into his jacket pocket.

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