New Civilization News: A Demonstration    
 A Demonstration7 comments
picture13 Sep 2005 @ 09:05, by Richard Carlson

The sparrow is sorry for the peacock for the burden of his tail.

---Rabindranath Tagore

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

---Marcel Proust

Zen practice emphasizes being present with your actual experience. By placing our attention with the minute details of our physical posture, we get to know our selves, where we have tension, where we are crooked, where we are holding, where we let go, where we are at ease. Our body reveals who we are. Through this awareness, we enter the path of practice.

---Pat Phelan

Back row: Mia Lorraine, Kelissa Stanley, Todd Dusenbury, Hart Viges, Vince George
Front row: Lietta Ruger, Beatriz Sadivar

I happened to mention, in reply to cancellation of a potluck/teaching I was hoping to attend last Friday down by the River, how busy everyone seems to be these days. It's hard to fit in everything we want to do...and even to keep track of coming events. I explained I probably wouldn't have been able to come to it anyway, since Ilona and I had gone up to Columbus the night before to see Cindy Sheehan and hadn't gotten back until late. With school and work Friday, we were going to be pretty tired by potluck time. A new friend Annie wrote back and said, "Oh, write about what the Sheehan tour is like. I didn't see anything in the news."

Well the first thing to say is Cindy wasn't at the Columbus stop. I could have known that by taking the time really to explore the site [link] but there I had been, early Thursday morning, just stumbling upon it...and in my rush and excitement there was no time. When Cindy Sheehan concluded her encampment outside the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, on August 31st, the word was she would work her way east to Washington by September 24th, when what promises to be among the largest demonstrations in recent history will be held [link] . Not sure if I would get to Washington, I vowed at least to connect to this Tour if it came anywhere near Athens.

It turns out there are 3 different branches of the Tour, and Cindy goes from one to the others. She was with the North Tour the day the Central Tour came to Columbus. We got up to Trinity Episcopal Church from school about 4:30, and managed to hear most of a debriefing about visits the group had done to the offices of Senators DeWine and Voinovich. The figurehead of the Central Tour seems to be Bill Mitchell, a veteran of Viet Nam and father of a son killed in Iraq during the same operation that took Casey Sheehan. You may recall seeing pictures of him next to Cindy at Camp Casey. Other members were mothers and fathers of soldiers in Iraq, both living and deceased. There was a wife there of a Guardsman who has completed one tour of duty and is being sent back.

I have to tell you their presentations may be more intense than most of us care to anticipate. They don't necessarily agree with each other on what they think the nation ought to be doing, and you and I might not agree with them or one another either but it doesn't matter. It seems that, like Cindy, everyone in the Mennonite Meeting Hall, where we had gathered after a magnificent supper together, wants clarity about the Noble Cause for which our country suffers in this warfare. As each parent told his and her tearful story, we realized the normal anger at the loss of a loved one, one's child, one's husband, has been compounded by a sense of betrayal we people feel toward our President and government. Mostly this Tour, and I think Cindy's encampment in Crawford, is about grieving...and I believe the force of that passion is what captured the nation's attention during August. These people are so present in the moment, which is how you get this close to a death, that they are radiant and luminous as they speak and answer questions.

One of the speakers had joined the Tour that day, just having passed by the group as they arrived. Another woman traveled today from Philadelphia to speak at length about the loss of her son. She said she wanted to get to Ohio because so much has happened in this state over the last year...and we represent the true battleground for the heart and soul of this country. Someone else reminded us the rest of the world looks upon Ohio this way too. I only hope the people of Ohio realize it! The Tour looks like this, with individuals coming along because they were in Crawford, or because they heard about it. Anyone with a personal story to tell and a desire to share grief in this way is welcome. It is impossible to look at this array of individuals and think it is some well-oiled conspiracy of the Left. As if the splintered Left even could organize such a project!

We had the opportunity Sunday to compare this approach to the Right's Freedom Walk at the Pentagon to honor the losses of 9/11. Here we had a setup many of us got used to during the past year if we attempted, for instance, to see the President during one of his presentations. The first thing you had to do, for Freedom's sake, is register and be accepted. No one was allowed on the Freedom Walk Sunday unless they had signed up by Friday afternoon at 4:30. No exceptions. The Walk itself was within a snow-fenced area lined with policemen. Allison Barber, assistant secretary of defense (yes, this was government sponsored), said she wanted the demonstration to be "sterile." The Washington Post's story Friday about the coming event declared, "The U.S. Park Police will have its entire Washington force of several hundred on duty and along the route, on foot, horseback and motorcycles and monitoring from above by helicopter. Officers are prepared to arrest anyone who joins the march or concert without a credential and refuses to leave, said Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford." Clint Black was to sing his song "Iraq and Roll." [link] I guess probably nobody sang "O Freedom!"

I hope the folks going to Washington on September 24th don't have to face this kind of security..but maybe they will. Maybe Homeland Defense is planning to protect participants with more preparation than was mustered for Katrina. It's hard to predict what's going to happen on that day, and I confess to a feeling a bit more than ominous. The passion of grieving is strong, but there also is the passion of aggression on the other side. Tempers flare and there is cruel laughter. One member of a megachurch congregation and former Marine in Viet Nam asked me last week if I knew the new name for garbage can liners. When I said no, he said, "New Orleans suitcases," and laughed at his own joke. There are 2 clashing realities in America today. I hope we can sort out the differences peacefully.


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7 comments

13 Sep 2005 @ 10:19 by jstarrs : Another Jazz roots report...
..from which I'm very grateful.
Is the demo on the 24th well publicized/known in the US?
Good luck & prayers to you all, anyway.  



13 Sep 2005 @ 20:15 by jazzolog : From Annie
"After talking with the folks who are organizing the media for Sheehan (True Majority and Move On), plus local volunteers that have no experience I can see that this is a rag tail group much as I would envision the grassroots folks that began our own revolution so many years ago. They aren't polished or even able to agree on their own beliefs. They are clear though that their bus tour is about military families speaking out, and I admire their tenacity.

"I once believed this was an opportunity for those of us against the war (for peace) to see a ground swell of movement to make change, but as my darling husband relates, 'Everyone just wants bread and roses, and they aren't going to jump up to change things.'"  



14 Sep 2005 @ 02:56 by judih : excellent information
Thanks for being there and bringing it into my experience. Vicarious is good when it's brought right to the door of the heart.
When I was walking through Union Park, NYC, this past August, the folks were handing out flyers about the 24th in DC. I guess just about anyone walking through that park then and since knows about the march.

The question is, will it have to be 'sterile' as well?

Is anybody here at NCN going to be there?

judih  



23 Sep 2005 @ 08:51 by jazzolog : CindySheehan,Iraq Veterans In Washington
The coalition caravan of Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans For Peace arrived in Washington on Wednesday. Their vehicles were stopped by police somewhere near the Capitol and searched for bombs. They also were informed no campers and such are allowed to drive around the area anymore, much less park...so they took them outside the restricted area of our nation's capitol city, left them, and walked in.

The Stop The War rally is Saturday in Washington, and TruthOut has a page to show pictures and issue reports, in case you're not going. [link] One of the first things the families did was write the President a letter, which hopefully somebody will read. I will guess Bush'll be out of town Saturday, since another post-disaster op is at hand for him. Anyway, this is the letter~~~

Letter Delivered to the White House
on Wednesday 21 September 2005

Dear President Bush,

We are veterans, families of active-duty military service people, and parents of soldiers who died as a result of the war in Iraq. We have been traveling the country from your vacation ranch in Crawford, TX, speaking to the American people about the true cost of your war based on lies. We have brought this nation a precious gift - the truth. It is a truth that you have tried so hard to hide, as you banned the media from photographing flag-draped coffins as they come in to Dover Air Force Base. We brought the anguish of military families whose loved ones are and will be in harm’s way for no good reason. We brought the determination and the pain of Iraq Veterans, who all took a vow to defend the Constitution of this country, but were betrayed by being sent off the fight an unjustifiable war. And we brought the voice of veterans from the Vietnam War who know so well about physical and psychological damage from a war that should never have happened.

In 51 cities, 28 states and over 200 venues, we carried the message: Bring Our Troops Home Now, Take Care of Them of When They Get Home and Never Again Send Them Off to a War Based on Lies.

President Bush, we are outraged by the arrogance you displayed on May 1, 2003 when you declared “Mission Accomplished” while the killing and dying continued; when you said on July 2, 2003, “Bring ‘Em On” in response to a question about the armed Iraqi resistance; and when you refused to meet with the families of the fallen and with military families in August of this year in Crawford, Texas. We have come across this country, to Washington, D.C. to once again ask you to meet with us.

We still have questions for you:

What is the “noble cause” for which you sent our country to war?
How many more lives are you willing to sacrifice?
What are you going to do to end the war?

As the President, we expect you to listen to the voices of those who know the real cost of this war. We expect you to listen to the voices of those who truly support the troops. We expect you to answer our questions about this war. We expect you to hear us as we say, bring them home now.

We will not cease until all of our loved ones are brought home from a war they should never have been sent off to fight, until they get the care they need, and until we are sure that they are never again sent off to a war based on lies.

Sincerely,
Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans For Peace

[link]  



25 Sep 2005 @ 10:40 by jazzolog : The March In Washington
My wife left Athens in a full bus at 2 AM yesterday and got back at about 2 AM this morning. I didn't manage to get out of bed to see her and of course she'll sleep for a few more hours. I look forward to hearing her impressions. Estimates of turnout range around 300,000 to half a million people (C-SPAN) around the White House, with CNN's figure of 600,000 being the largest I've seen. TruthOut has a log of the day...sort of... [link] and YahooNews has photos galore, starting here [link] .

Here's the speech Cindy Sheehan gave~~~

Patriotic Dissent
By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Speech

Saturday 24 September 2005

Ahhhh, I love the smell of Patriotic Dissent in the afternoon!

As we stand here on the grounds of a monument that is dedicated to the Father of our Country, George Washington, we are reminded that he was well known for the apocryphal stories of never being able to tell a lie. I find it so ironic that there is another man here named George who stays in this town between vacations, and he seems to never be able to tell the truth. It is tragic for us that our bookend presidents named George have two completely different relationships with honesty.

I also find it ironic and heartbreaking that my son, Casey, who was a brave person, tall and proud, who loved his country and was honest beyond measure, could be sent to his death by someone who is even too cowardly to meet with a broken-hearted mom, let alone go and fight in the illegal and immoral war of his generation. We are losing our best and our brightest in a country that we are destroying, that was no threat to the United States of America. Iraq was and still is no danger to our safety and security, or to our way of life. The weapons of mass destruction and mass deception reside in this town: they are the neocons who pull the strings and the members of Congress who have loosened the purse strings with reckless abandon and have practically given George and company a blank check to run our country into monetary and moral bankruptcy. We are out here in force today to take our country back and restore true democracy and sanity to our political process. The time is now, and we are here because we love our country, and we won't let the reckless maniacs destroy her any further.

We, as a young colony of Great Britain, broke from another tyrant, King George the Third. Well, I wish our George the Third were here today to see us out here in force protesting against his war and against his murderous policies. George is not here, though, because he is out galavanting around the country somewhere pretending that he cares about the people who are in the path of hurricane Rita. We know that he cares nothing for the people of America: Katrina, Iraq, and his idiotic response to 9/11 are evidence of that. He is just out and about play-acting like a President whose country is in crisis, just like he pretends to be a Commander in Chief and a Cowboy (I wonder if before he took off to Texas or Colorado or wherever he went, he watched a movie like Independence Day to see how that other fake president acted?). The reason he is out today is that his handlers told him that he got a little flak for playing golf and eating birthday cake with Senator McCain while some of his employers were hanging off rooftops and treetops in New Orleans. He swaggers around arrogantly like he is a macho dictatorial tyrant who doesn't have to answer to his employers, the people of the United States of America. Those days are over George, we are here today to tell you that we are a majority and we will never rest until you bring our young people home from the Middle East, and until you start putting money into rebuilding OUR communities: the ones natural disasters destroy with your help, and the ones which your callous and racist war economy are decimating. We won't allow you to take anymore money out of social programs to finance Halliburton to rebuild the Gulf States: there is no money. Our bank account is empty. George, this is our rainy day and you have failed us miserably. Stop pouring money into the pockets of the war profiteers and into building permanent bases in Iraq ... It is time to bring our billions of dollars home from Iraq too!!!

One thing the Camp Casey movement that hunkered down in Crawford, Texas, this past August taught us is that we the people of America have the power and we can and should name our national policy and make sure it is carried out. I constantly get asked if we are making a difference and if we think (like we're naïve boobs) that we will actually stop the war. Well, looking back at how Vietnam was ended and looking back in the history of our country, most notably in the suffragette, union, and civil rights movements, we the people are the only ones who have been able to transform history and affect true and lasting change here in America: so to those people who question if we are making a difference: I tell them to go back to school and read their history books!! And another thing these questioners overlook is that WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!!! And we are here to tell the media, Congress, and this criminal and criminally negligent administration: WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY!!!

We in the peace movement need to agree on one thing: yes we need an exit plan, but it is not a strategy, it is a command. The command should be: have all of our military personnel and paid killer mercenaries out of Iraq within 6 months, and the generals carry out the command. Simple, it's not brain surgery, and I think it is so easy even George Bush can sign the order. We can't give the homicidal maniacs any wiggle room or long-term strategy sessions. For one thing, when our leaders strategize, we are put in even more jeopardy - they have proven that they are not too bright or even a little compassionate. But the most important thing is that people die every day in Iraq for absolutely no reason and for lies. We have to say NOW because the people on the other side are saying NEVER. We can't compromise, we can't say please, and we can't retreat. If we do, our country is doomed. We have to honor the sacrifices of our loved ones by completing the mission of peace and justice. It is time. Bring our troops home, NOW!

[link]  



27 Sep 2005 @ 06:44 by jazzolog : Dana's Account Of The March Saturday

(good pictures at BradBlog [link] )

My experience at the Washington anti-war rally yesterday:

We had 500,000 protesters, C-Span estimated (regardless of what most media have said- which appeared to rely on what the orginal pre-rally estimate from the organizers had said). They stretched all along the parade route, which you can see here:

[link]

All I know is that it was HUGE. The DC Metro was packed like sardines.(We heard that the some Metro lines were 'down' and that the Amtrak from New York to Washington was not operating for two hours- strange, huh?) They delayed the march to wait for New Yorkers to arrive. People continued to come in droves, piling into the parade at streets that intersected with the parade route. That meant it took us 2 hours to get the four blocks from the Ellipse starting point to the White House. Once our group got past the WH, we realized there was no way we could go the whole parade route and still catch the Metro back to our meet up point at Shady Grove (the last stop on the Metro, past Rockville, Md) in time to leave at 6. We had to fight our way back through the way we came.

I saw many older people, conservatively dressed, mixed in with soldiers (active and retired), students, middle-aged activists, parents with young kids. We met one couple with 3 kids (each one with a sign) who told us his brother was scheduled for deployment to Iraq soon. He was embraced by one of our group, whose son just came back after 2 tours. They cried together- as did other 'military moms' who found us in the crowd. I saw a lot of military families and personnel. I saw contingents from all over the US. It was a true cross-section of the country (minus the rightwing except for a few anti-abortion, pro-war- I saw 6 people), which is what the organizers were hoping for.



Here is William Rivers Pitt's blog from the march:

[link]

And this bit from Truth Out:

Numbers
By Scott Galindez

Saturday 24 September 2005 11:08 PM

It is safe to say that there were hundreds of thousands of people marching against the war in Iraq today. Police Chief Charles Ramsey's only statement was that the organizers achieved their goal of 100,000. The DC police refused to make any other estimate. C-Span estimated 500,000, a number that I believe was possible from my observations. I was on the corner of Pennsylvania and 15th on the steps of Riggs bank when the march began. People were still arriving from all directions. The massive amount of people moving in all directions prevented a front of the march from forming. People just started marching on their own with no marshals anywhere near the front of the march. Thousands of people passed me before any organized contingent. The first major contingent that passed me were thousands of students with signs that said "college not enlistment." Thousands of people later, I finally saw what was intended to be the lead banner. I saw Congresswomen Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and other dignitaries carrying that banner.

Thousands of people behind that came the Iraq Veterans Against the War. Joan Baez was marching with them right next to Marine Jeff Key and dozens of other veterans of the Iraq war. Behind them was Gold Star Familes for Peace. About half a block later came Veterans for Peace, with Military Familes Speak Out a short distance behind them. At the time I assumed that they were in the middle of the march. I later found out that while they were not near the front, they were much further from the rear.

I moved down to Pennsylvania and 13th to catch the front again and noticed for hours that there were still people heading up 15th street. I headed to the concert at 4:30 pm, 4 hours after the march began, and people were still marching past the White House, only 4 blocks from the march's starting point.

To summarize, it took over 4 hours for people to clear out of the Ellipse area. I have been to several large marches in Washington DC since 1989 and this was by far the largest.  



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