"No more Memorials" Memorial Day
This weekend has been the most intense, most challenging of our entire time here in D.C. As we conclude our 2nd week of Mother's Day MONTH protests, we find ourselves suddenly submerged in pro-war, testosterone-laden energy that now envelops D.C. This incredibly hostile energy is attempting to silence our voices for peace - yet we are womanaging to have our voices heard & our protests witnessed this entire weekend.
Last night at the PBS Memorial Day Concert, we stood outside the gates of the West Lawn of the Capitol and handed out hot pink paper protest slips & pins, with the number of dead U.S. soldiers starkly printed on one side, & 3 different facts of protest printed on the back. Once we were inside, scanning the crowd, we saw many, many people wearing these slips over their hearts. (See 5/28 for details).
Today at the most war-glorifying, soldier-heroing ceremony ever - the ceremony that repeatedly bellowed the lies of this war of spreading freedom & democracy while protecting our freedom & democracy - we stand in the middle of the parade route and represent the voice of peace. We (including our 77 yr. old elder) are spit on, screamed at, threatened, materials snatched from our hands & ripped up, as we stand on the grounds of peace.
Up until this weekend, D.C. has been a fertile ground for growing peace, ending war. We have been reaching 10's of 1000's of people: sometimes 30 to 50 folk at a time, getting off buses or gathering with a tour guide; sometimes one or two individuals sightseeing. Sometimes elementary school children or entire junior high graduating classes. Sometimes tourists from the Benefit Funds Union or from Gadston, Missouri. Sometimes handfuls of visitors from Egypt, from Thailand, from Bolivia. Sometimes 'impeccable' white men dressed in million dollar suits that could be lobbyists, could be legislative aids, could even be congress people - definitely the 'powerful'. Sometimes regular D.C. folks surviving in this city where predominantly white affluence & racism lords so completely over predominantly black poverty & the ravages of racism. Sometimes soldiers in full uniform or in casual everyday clothes; sometimes top brass or enlisted grunts. Sometimes soldiers recently returned from Iraq; sometimes soldiers on their way to Iraq.
Some of our deepest rewards include: the two women from Iran who silently approached us as we stood with our signs, threw their arms around us & wept with us; the first hostile Latina mother of a soldier destined to go to Iraq in a few weeks who broke down & wept with us her sorrow & fear & her truth that neither her nor her son wants (him) to go to Iraq; the young girl, standing silently listening to us reading the names of dead soldiers, who returned to her home state determined to share her experience and speak out against war; the numbers of current military enlisted women & men we handed out GI rights hotline infor to; the accolades & the complaints of legislative-types as we testify 'illegally' at congressional hearings, in hallowed halls, fortressed offices of the 'leaders' of our nation; the police taking us aside & telling us they personally support our efforts for peace; the haunted eyes of the soldier who has orders to return to Iraq who begs us to end this war, saying he's too much of a coward to speak out; the shocked youth who hear us challenge adult authority as we say 'don't trust your recruiter: recruiters lie"; the proud youth who slam their fists to their chests over their hearts and then throw a side-ways peace symbol with a pompous beat in our direction.
The many, many, many people - sometimes 2 out of three - who flash the peace symbol, honk their horns, smile broadly, tear-up quickly, throw their fists in the air, thank us profusely for being here for working for standing against war, against bush, against aggression and for peace for truth for end of war.
We invite you again, come to D.C. Let us not be the silent Germans of the 30's and 40's' let us not be the ones who trade our security of our not-at-risk affluence, lifestyles, daily lives, luxuries of homes, food, jobs for turning a mostly blind eye on rape, murder, depleted uranium, torture, bombing, killing, destruction.
Come to D.C. Donate so others can come and/or stay in D.C. Right now, our CodePINK East Bay Office is in jeopardy - Sam cannot cover the rent for last month nor this month. We are in danger of loosing this fabulous, visible CodePINK space on Solano Ave in Albany unless someone(s) steps forward now, before the first.
We know many of you have contributed so much & we are all so grateful. And we are asking for more if at all possible. The times are demanding more, from all of us. We need to double, to triple, to 10 times 10 increase our activism & our commitment to ending this war - or yet another year, another 100's of thousands of human lives will be taken in our name and the blood on our hands will be the blood on our elbows, our feet, our hearts.
We have room in D.C. - mostly futon & pad space - in Hillary's House at $10 per night. Get on the plane, the bus, the bike - just come.