Saturday, March 17, 2007

ANSWER March to the Pentagon

By Rae Abileah

Today we marched about two miles to the Pentagon with a coalition of anti-war groups led by ANSWER. It was a chilly day that turned to snow by the end. Our CODEPINK contingent marched from our women's convergence spot through a gauntlet of counter-protesters who chanted "USA" and told us we were unAmerican, traitors, lesbians, etc. I didn't find them very intimidating--they looked fearful and angry, and we were calm and peaceful, singing over and over "All we are saying is give peace a chance!" We were so joyously pink and feminine, it felt very safe to walk down the streets. Still, the counter-protesters were agresive and though I can respect their right to demonstrate, just as we can, in permitted locations, they attempted to block us on the sidewalk. The police had to intervene to ensure that we were able to walk down the street. The one shout I still can't figure out is "our soldiers are over there protecting your rights to freedom." First of all, if they're protecting our rights to free speech, then why not let us use those rights? Secondly, the war in Iraq is making us less safe at home. And last, why not ask the soldiers what they think they're over there for--many of them honestly say it's for the oil, and aren't duped by Bush's rhetoric.

CODEPINK marches through an angry crowd of counter-protesters.
Thanks to Isis and Liz for the photos in this post.

After the march when we returned to our cars, we found that one CODEPINKer's car had 2 tires slashed. Now you tell me, what's so peaceful and non-disruptive about that? I can't believe that these counter-protesters would stoop to such low and violent reactions... but I must believe it, as I spent several hours waiting for the tow truck. This nasty, cruel behavior seems to be all to symptomatic of those who believe in the war, believe in violence and military solutions as the only way to solve problems.

After being out in the cold all day, we returned home to hot soup and good company. Another day, another march for peace. Are they listening?

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