Friday, February 22, 2008

far away from home

I arrived late wed night to the DC Code Pink house...busy and bustling with people at nearly 11:00 at night. I received a warm code pink crash course and was promptly set out on my own to write my name on the board, sign the book and meet people. The atmosphere was one of camaraderie, acceptance and friendship, people from all walks of life were jovially horsing around, talking, cooking soup and preparing for bed; all at the same time. By the time I had finally made my way to bed, it was passing 2am.

I awoke at 8 to an empty room, everyone already wide awake and starting their day. There was a group of girls from NY getting ready to head back home, hustling and bustling about the house. It was nice to talk to everyone, see why they were here, what they had experienced here in DC, what they enjoyed about their trip...try and give myself a little insight into my week to come.

The house was quiet after the girls group left, just a few of the more regular Code Pink members left behind...with the weekend starting and congress out until next week, it was looking like a quiet few days of research and emailing anyone and everyone I could. But even in the quiet, the house was still exciting! Democracy now was blaring on the television from the front room; costumes and Code Pink paraphernalia in baskets, on banisters and shelves to explore; and pictures of times past everywhere. I was in beginner activist heaven.

As Willy Nelson wrapped up his last song, and Democracy Now came to a close, I headed for the kitchen to clean the last of my dishes. I then headed for the winding staircase and began to clime to the third floor, when I heard Desiree, the house leader, eagerly say, "Who's coming with me?" Go where? I want to go, I though. This is what I came for, what can I do? How can I help? What are we doing?

Apparently the ladies had been watching CSPAN and saw that, though congress was out, there was a State Commotion on International Religious Freedom taking place and someone needed to be there! Well I'm there! I ran shower less up the stairs, quickly throwing on my clothes for the day. I then raided the banister--pinked myself up, stuck a banner reading "DONT IRAQ IRAN" to my shirt and ran out the door behind Desiree. Yes! My first Code Pink action, I was so excited.

As we sat down, it was explained to me that we should always try to be seen by the cameras, make our presence known (how exciting, we were being televised on C-SPAN at that very moment, I don't think I have ever been on tv before). The Commission was meeting in reference to religious freedom and related human rights in Iran, a country Bush is increasingly becoming more hostile with, wanting to increase our empires resources and strength our power in the middle east. Even before arriving in DC, I have been hearing increasingly of America, or the Bush regime, looking for reasons to go to war with Iran, stomp them out as a power in the Middle East. Well today’s meeting seemed to me like a fishing expedition, just as we were fishing with Sadam and Iraq. Old habits die hard I guess.

After the first panel finished, two professional women speaking against military action and for diplomatic reasoning, gathered their belongings and departed, leaving 2 front row seats wide open, right in the line of the cameras. Geared in pink, I guarded the seats and waited for Desiree to rejoin me. Though, after comfortably seated, we were promptly asked to quietly cooperate and move back to our original spots...we were too visible apparently.

The commission meeting ran over, and when they finally did finish, there was time for questions and answers. I got to see the Code Pinkers (as several others had joined up with us through out the proceeding) in action, asking tough questions, letting people know that their actions were not going unnoticed...Go talk to someone, Desiree said. Scared, and not sure of what to ask or say, I began approaching people. Though I only spoke with maybe all of 2 of them, I still noticed the overwhelming resistances to what I thought were rather mild questions. We were then all interviewed by a website reporter and asked questions on our view of the proceeding. What did we think the answer was to the human rights situation in Iran, and what we felt would actually bring peaceful change. Every one had something different to offer, there are so many voices here for peace, so many different ideas of activism, from fasting to banner waving, it was inspiring. For my first action ever, it was quite an experience.

The rest of the day flew by, I went to my congress woman's office to request an audience; I sat in on A Cope Pink action planning meeting; and at the end of the night, to wind down, every one gathered around the television, Thai food in lap to enjoy the democratic debate in TX. Who could ask for a better vacation? I feel so lucky that I cam upon these women and men of action--I am honored that they have let me stay here, that they help me learn, and that they don't discriminate. I look forward to my days to come, with such an exciting slow day; I can only imagine what is to come. All I know is, I welcome it with open arms! Thank you Code Pink, for making this all possible!


JimPreston said...

What a nice post!! It was great to meet you last night and I look forward to seeing you again on the weekend. You really seem to have caught the spirit, and understand the extra-special Code Pink approach:
Get Up!
Stand Up!
Show Up!
Speak Up!
Live It UP!!
(and keep Desi out of jail :)

CODEPINK said...

Alicia you have been a great activist here in DC with CODEPINK!!

thanks for joining us & bringing great energy!!

liz gael des