Thursday, September 20, 2007

S.O.S. Nation In Distress

The morning of the Sept. 15th March on Washington began at Freedom Plaza with CodePink holding a Women’s Convergence. CodePink women were there, attired and accessorized in shades of pink, beautiful with feathers, lace, sequins, and scarves. Members of other activist groups also came and crowded around, ready for the day with their picket signs held high. Medea awakened the crowd as she spoke of the plans for the day and reiterated all of the reasons we must quickly and safely bring our troops back home. The crowd continually grew in number as the convergence went on. Betsy Rose sang lovely peaceful melodies. Liz and Medea helped to excite the crowd as they danced around in the lawn in front of the stage and toward the end of Betsy’s performance all of the members of CodePink joined her on stage to sing a few songs. Jes and Leslie spoke to the crowd about their recent trip to Iran. They told all who had gathered of the gorgeous people they met who inspired them to take action to bring about peace in the Middle East and prevent an attack on Iran. Dr. E. Faye Williams, National Chair of the National Congress of Black Women, and Gael also spoke before we all regrouped to line up for the march to the White House.

We began marching, and as we approached Pennsylvania Ave, I began to see people from all walks of life, all political backgrounds, all ages, all colors, all sizes amassed in a wild fury of excitement to march together out of compassion, anger, frustration, and love. So many smiles, so much laughter, amazed at one another. They climbed trees to see, created signs of poetic expression, and filed in together all dressed up. Speakers at the stage in Lafayette Park rallied the masses. Many speakers came on stage, including CodePink, the best dressed of the bunch. We held peace signs high as Medea spoke inviting others to join in song with us as we marched, even to come stay with us at the house for future action. We all joined together and sang and stomped out the beats, jingling our pink tambourines as we sang, “We are many, we’ll be more, We are here to stop this war!” Standing up on the stage I looked out and saw so many beautiful faces. However, CodePink amongst the crowd stood out as the most vibrant of all the peace organizations.

We assembled in the street and marched together chanting, clapping, and yelling, with people as far as you could see. They lined the roads and sat watching on the grass. They climbed buildings and upon each other’s shoulders to see and be heard. It wasn’t until I climbed out to the top of this amazing bus that it became real to me the number of people that had all come together for the march. Medea’s friend drove a beautiful bus covered in political messages and statues of peace signs and flags. Members of CodePink stood atop of it to welcome the marchers as they neared the Capitol. We stood atop the bus and held up signs stating “STOP FUNDING WAR” and “DON’T BOMB IRAN” and gave the peace sign as we chanted. People cheered and waved as they passed. I remember hearing a couple of times, “I love you, CodePink!” from the marchers below.

Everyone proceeded to the capital. We straggled in with the last of them after we welcomed the end of the crowd and got down from the bus. It was extremely disappointing to find that the police had already put an end to the die in before it even began. It was pathetic in fact. People wanted to make a statement though. People lied beautifully in the grass together. People sat in circles together and others stood up near the Capitol landing chanting in protest of the police. Curled lying heads on others stomachs, some more expressive, lied eerily still with fingers entwined on their chests and their signs covering them, others ran about megaphones in hand, “They can’t stop us! Let’s all rise against!”

Out of curiosity I got up and joined in other CodePinkers who stood on the ledge of the walkway. SDS stood at the entrance to the walkway and sang and played guitar in beautiful harmony, and just past them the whole sidewalk was filled with bodies “dying in.” People were chanting, people were lying, the police were standing guard, and yet at the same time it was all in one elaborate and vibrant standstill. Suddenly, the Iraq Vets Against the War joined in circle as Adam Kokesh, a lead member, addressed the crowd. The people responded wholeheartedly, rallied and angered. Adam looked around at all of the people and then suddenly I saw him look down to his fellow veterans and with a wave of his arm they all turned back toward the Capitol and pushed through the crowd and with arms spread out, jumped up over the wall through the resistance of the police. It had to have been one of the most beautiful yet saddening things I have ever seen. The police led our heroes, our soldiers, up the steps, cuffed as criminals for defending their country against a government so corrupt. Noble, they did not fight it and it all escalated from there. All of the peaceful, loving people followed, pulled up from the ground and cuffed to ascend the steps of the Capitol. People from every state, some compelled only by that moment, joined in together to be arrested to express their passion towards ending this unconstitutional and immoral war. The number kept of growing.

Colonel Ann Wright, fed up, jumped over the wall. Many others followed as the crowd became wilder. Two men stood in front on the ledge and chanted as CodePink women joined in attempting to incite the crowd. The police began to pepper spray them and one of the men became violently ill, falling back into the crowd. A couple of CodePinkers were harmed by it as well. Relentless, as he gained back a little strength he pulled himself back up to show he was not defeated. Weak and unstable, though, he fell upon the police and after being handcuffed, had to be carried up the Capitol steps. As the event became more stagnant we decided to head back to the house to prepare for our party that evening.

As we gathered ourselves though, our plan changed as we heard that Carlos Arredondo was assaulted by pro-war activists who were angered at his protest which included his pulling a coffin representing his son who he lost to the war. Gael, Lori, and Medea ran off to comfort and support Carlos as he told his story. I sat down in the grass with Nancy and watched a couple of Indian tourists take one another’s photos with the Capitol in the background. They smiled brightly and I for a moment was taken aback thinking, “Oh my gosh! How horrible! That photo of the US Capitol which they will go back and show their families lined with an innumerable amount of cops!” At that point it had died down a little, but there were still hundreds of protesters and yet they were seemingly met equally in number by cops. The Capitol looked scary and yet it was a perfect representation of our country. The US, presently, is pretty scary.

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