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 steaming 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

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

halloween - to be continued

Off to south lake tahoe – driving down 50 looking for places to stop. Grocery store – along the highway. Judy paints peace symbols on our faces as we hold the banner in high winds, bluest skies, bright sunshine – freezing air! Positive responses, cell phone plugged up to outside outlet as we demonstrate.

Finally Marie joins us – she was driving into Tahoe to meet us when she sees the truck & our banner.

SLT Raley’s Parking lot – many folks approach, 75% more than positive. “Wish I had the guts to drive around like this.” “If you don’t like what it says, don’t read it.” a young womon screams out her car window as she drives by the older white male that is screaming at me the line that men are in Iraq to protect my right to do this –so I shouldn’t do it!

Police – SLT has a special city ordinance requiring a permit to assemble. HA!

I tell them to show me the ordinance and add if such an ordinance does exist, it is unconstitutional.

swords, self-flagulation, and placerville news!

We’re really excited – in a town of 10,000 plus or minus, the press has shown up! Marie, our sister cp’er we expect to join us from South Lake Tahoe, hasn’t.

The younger white male takes pictures from all sorts of angles as I approach him & ask if he’s received the press release. I realize the moment I see him we have not come on this action prepared for the press. We have a few Walk in Their Shoes flyers, but they are old ones from last week’s action. My printer ran out of ink this a.m., making it impossible to print even an original let alone copies.

I try to find a place I can get on-line, download the originals and get them printed. There is no internet access on the street we are on so I give up on the packet – I want to be back to talk with him before he leaves.

I didn’t have to worry. He is obsessed with taking photos – of us, of the banner, of all the shoes – as a group and as individual shots. When we finally do get to talk, I tell him about this national action, taking shoes around the nation to bring awareness to the number of Iraqi and U.S. deaths since our invasion of Iraq. I see his eyes perceptively narrow as I frame the issue in this way. I go on to point out the high horrific number of civilian casualties, like you and me I emphasize.

Over half the dead are women and children. I watch as he takes notes. He asks me how many people died in Vietnam. I tell him 2 ½ million Vietnamese; 58 thousand U.S. soldiers. Again I seek and hold his eyes as I tell him the bottom line: one death is too many; 655 thousand deaths is an abhorrent travesty, especially as we are able to stop these deaths and prevent future deaths.

He asks if I’m for immediate withdrawal. I say of course. He asks if I’m not worried that chaos will ensue after stop protecting Iraqi people. I allow my incredulity to flood my being, reminding him I just told him about Iraqi casualties, 50 times more humans than inhabit his fair town. I ask where was our protection for these people. I tell him not to answer, saying as a reporter he and I both know where the 15 U.S. bases have been built in Iraq – each next to an oil field as he looks at me blankly.

He tells me he’s not there to argue with me. I assure him I know that & tell him I thought we were talking about why WITS & I were there this morning. He tells me he wants to ask me a question. I tell him he can ask anything he wants.

He tells me Muslims are a very violent religion…. Hmmmmm. I say confused yet nodding my head ‘oh you mean like an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?’

He takes a step back as he says ‘no, I mean they beat themselves with a sword until they bleed.’ I stifle a laugh as I see he is so serious and on the verge of terminating our ‘interview’. I protest and reassure him I am personal friends with many Muslims, none of whom would consider having a sword let alone beating themselves or anyone else. He insists. I say, you mean like that Christian in the …. I can’t think of the name of that movie my chosen family recently dragged me to where the guy beats himself. Like the early Christians? I end up saying. He says no, they’re Muslims.

He is so serious I have to turn to Judy so he can’t see my horrified laugh and ask her if she’s ever heard of Muslims beating themselves with a sword. She laughs so loud and spontaneously as she exalts the ridiculousness of such a ludicrous stereotype. Now the reporter is backed into a corner. “I’ve seen it with my own eyes” he claims. Now I turn to him and ask him when he was in an Islamic country.

He says it was on video – like a movie, I ask? I see him gearing up to defend the veracity of the video so I tell him there are fanatics in all religions but he can rest easy tonite knowing that most Muslims, like I hope most Christians, are not violent, either towards themselves or others. He is not convinced.

I said I hope he hasn’t grasped on to that ignorant and vile stereotype to justify the mass killing of so many innocent women, children, and men. I try to insinuate he is a better human being and reporter than that as he protests he’s only ‘reporting’ the news.

We’ll see what comes out in the paper tomorrow!

12 minute park

Judy & I headed out this beautiful California morning as dawn spread her glorious golden fresh rays over our CodePINK truck loaded with lots of shoes laden with names, ages, places of deaths of Iraqi civilians. We are as fresh and excited to be headed into Doolittle and Pombo country, eager to transform it into McNerney and Brown territory!

We arrive in Placerville at exactly 9:00a.m., find the courthouse and as easily a park feet from where we are setting up. By the time the suitcases and boxes are unloaded, the banners spread out, an older white straight couple from Placerville has joined us, along with curious police who stand on the steps of the courthouse, arms folded, debating quietly among themselves.

We call out greetings to everyone, police and all. One tall white middle-aged fellow saunters over and asks what we are doing. I tell him, arms spreading to include all the shoes that are now spread out along the both sides of the walk as I try to impress him with the urgency and severity of this action. I encourage him to read the names of those dead human beings. I fill his head with numbers, names, statistics – almost all of the dead civilians, over half women and children.

He turns his attention to my truck, parked in a 12 minute zone. He wants to change the subject from Iraqis being killed to my truck being moved. I tell him I waiting to move it forward after the car in front of me, who was there before I parked, moves. I intend to take that space.

He keeps reiterating my truck can’t be there more than 12 minutes. I tell him I understand – and I repeat, I’m taking the space in front of me when that car moves. He tells me I will get a ticket if I don’t move my truck. I tell him then he has to ticket the car parked in front of me first, as I’m sure he’s not just discriminating against my truck because of what is written on it.

I thank him for being here to protect my civil & democratic rights of free speech and dissent, as is his job. He has not said a word about the shoes, even though we have set some up along the low wall that borders the courthouse sidewalk as well as on the curb side of the sidewalk. We are also standing on the courthouse grass as we hold the banners at an angle so passing traffic can view them easily.

He insists I will get a parking citation. I insist it will be after the car in front of me gets his. I am not sure if the car is a police car. It looks like a supped up old pinto, low to the ground and some hand-painted sierra thing on the sides. The bumper sticker reads “bought with drug dealer money”. Hmmmmm

He allows a slight look of insecurity to pass over his stern face, then saunters down the sidewalk as if he’s taking a casual stroll in the sunshine. He suddenly twirls around, comes back & informs me the car in front of mine is a police car. I snort ‘you’re kidding right?’

He’s serious and here comes the metermaid –only she’s a fellow driving a police jeep. He steps out into the street to confer with the officer as I pull down the back door of the truck, put the lock on and begin to walk to the driver’s door.

The parking officer pulls along side of me as I smile and wave goodbye at him. He tells me sternly I’m at a 12 minute parking place. I let him know I realize that. He hints at how long I’ve been there for. I tell him just long enough to unload – I’m leaving I say politely. He rolls his jeep along with me and mumbles something about me being parked there longer than 12 minutes. He insinuates with a nod and jerk of his thumb that maybe that officer knows I’ve been there more than 12 minutes.

I hop into my truck & reiterate again, I’m leaving. I know he is itching to write me a parking ticket. I wave & leave him to smell the french fries!

A few parking spaces up the road is 2 hour parking. I parallel park, earning amazed and some admiring salutes along with one gristled old white man driving another huge white pick-up truck plastered with flags & ‘support our troops’ ribbons – only his salute is an ugly red face screwed into a fuck you bitch accompanied by his one finger salute. Hmmmm

He turns out to be the ONLY negative reaction we get all morning standing in front of the court house. The police scrutinize our protest from the steps, but do not move to engage with us. A tall, white middle-aged fellow with very short hair in plain clothes, hangs around just out of our dialogue range but near enough to monitor our protest.

The press has arrived… but that is another story!