Unheard at McPherson
The best thing about being on McPherson is that the tent is pitched at the busy corner of K and 15th streets and all our CodePINK finery is out for the viewing! We have the "END: $$$ for Wars; Tax breaks for the Wealth" hanging; and I painted a large banner today that says "STRIKE NOV 2, Solidarity with Occupy Oakland! End police brutality".
It is almost dark and getting very cold by the time I grab my computer and head along the Occupy, up K street towards an internet site. There is a half body life-sized painting of Scott Olsen hanging on the Media Tent, front and center for all to see.
I am HORRIFIED! It is Scott in a dress marine uniform with fuckin "semper fidelis" written in big letters across it.
Semper Fidelis my ass!
The same Scott that has already been brutally attacked by Oakland police 2 nites ago, scull fractured, and lies unconscious in the hospital.
This is so wrong on so many levels. First, Scott is an Iraq Veteran AGAINST WAR; 2nd, he is unconscious and I do NOT believe he would want to be portrayed as a marine in dress blues; 3rd, we are supposed to be non-violent - why hang a symbol of war and invaders in our camp, and for all passers-by to witness.
I go into the media tent and ask about the painting. I express my concern first about hanging a painting of a marine in dress uniform w/semper fidelis written across the pciture.
The white man standing closest to me says he doesn't see the problem with that. The couple other men standing or sitting high up, and one young white woman sitting cross-legged on the floor, remain engaged in their tasks, uninterested in this issue I am bringing to them.
I explain that I think Scott have a problem with being portrayed in this way. I let the men and one womon there know that I am from Oakland, I know IVAW, and I'm pretty SURE that Scott would not want to be represented in this way.
Later I find out that he started a website called something like "I HATE the marines!"
The only man who is talking to me attempts to dismiss me with "it is the artist's interpretation of Scott", as if that is a good explanation.
I ask, to this man's shrieking horror expression, that the painting be taken down until we can talk about it at a G.A., or I can speak with the artist and ask him to at the very least, add "IVAW" across the painting and remove the semper shit.
I am told by this man - the rest now silent in their agreement - that Scott's wife approved and sent the artist this picture. He continues to say that it is the artist's decision if he wants to remove the painting.
I ask how come the artist who doesn't even occupy here gets to decide if he should remove it and not the people who are participating here decide if we want it hanging?
I am stonily ignored.
Scott in dress blues stays. I take my leave, grateful I am sleeping in my truck.