Sunday, March 20, 2005

"Antiwar 2nd Anniversary Rally in Seattle Center"

Dina Lydia sends along some photos of yesterday's rally and march and this commentary on the event: "...participants were highly energized. These are the most highly motivated antiwar activists. Speakers included miltary personel, a rapper, Arab-Americans--I wish I could remember all, I heard some exciting and inspiring rhetoric.

Besides the giant backbone puppet, the most spectacular statement was the Uncle Sam persona, leaning on a walker and carrying an oil drum and a dead U.S. soldier. Steve and his wife Karen spent more than a week working on this costume and prop. It weighed about sixty pounds. Only a half-hour into the rally, Steve was already in pain, but he bravely continued along the march. Will he be sore tomorrow! But I hope he did no permanent damage to his back. I stood next to Steve as he was photographed and interviewed by a Channel 4 reporter.

I was dressed as Lady Liberty, with a glittery headpiece, carrying a tall "torch" and a book saying "Where am I?" The costume drew a lot of smiles and comments. I knew the rain would be a problem, but I was determined not to cover the costume. The fabric was covered with rubbery holographic sparkles, so it was somewhat water-resistant. But after a while, the hem was completely soaked and so were my lower arms and neck. I was chilly despite warm clothing underneath. It still looked nice, though.

I was interviewed by a reporter for a public-access cable station. Too bad I won't see it, because I don't have cable. To the question "Why are you here, Ms. Liberty?" I said: "Because everything I stand for, every ideal of this country, is being trashed by the Bush Administration. You've heard of 'Liberty and Justice for All'. There can be neither without Truth. Our government has been supressing and twisting the truth since Day One. I'm here to voice my opposition to that. There can be no democracy without Truth and without citizens participating." She also asked "What would you say to our youth?" Ha, what I SHOULD'VE answered to that one was: "Participating in protest demonstrations gives you a three times higher chance of getting laid--it's a fact."

The rally began at noon in Seattle Center, and the downtown march was planned to start at 1:30, but it was closer to 2. By that time rallygoers were getting restless and chanting "Let's march". The march was peaceful and accompanied by many police on bikes, horses, and motorcycles, plus volunteer "Peacekeepers," who keep the march orderly. Chants included such things as "1-2-3-4, we don't want your bloody war" and "What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!" and others--I can't remember. I rarely chant. A couple of what looked like Buddhist monks provided drumbeats. Some individuals had their own messages: one young man screamed "U.S. troops are killing unarmed civilians! That's chickenshit!" A number of bystanders cheered us on--one young girl with a skateboard was ecstatic; she squealed and hopped up and down excitedly. Many downtown shoppers stared in a dumbfounded way, as if they'd never seen such a thing. Maybe they hadn't. Maybe they were thinking: "What's wrong with these crazy people, why aren't they home watching a basketball game, or out shopping?"

After several hours in the rain, the water was streaming down my face, my turtleneck shirt was soaked, and I felt like a wet rat. Hypothermia was beginning to set patient husband was getting weary too, so I reluctantly exited the march before its conclusion. I stood on the sidewalk for awhile and smiled at the dripping marchers, who were amused and pleased to see Lady Liberty. We hopped on a bus back to the car in Pioneer Square. Just in time, as it started pouring hard then.

I was VERY glad to get home and take a hot bath. My fingers had lost their strength, and I had trouble undressing.

I watched several news reports on TV, and was displeased to see that the coverage on Channel 4 did NOT include the segment with Uncle Sam. Maybe he was considered "Too Disturbing". The West Seattle Peace and Justice gang with their banner did appear for about two seconds, as an example of neighborhood groups. And a few seconds of the rapper.

A young blonde Bush supporter in a car was taped saying: "I don't see how this could make any difference. I mean why would Bush pay attention to this happening in Seattle, on the other side of the country?" Idiot! It wasn't just Seattle, it was all over the U.S. and the world. Read a newspaper once in a while! A anti-protest "Support the Troops" demonstrator was taped saying: "I'd ask the antiwar types: 'How would YOU have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein?" Hmm...NOT by lying about the reasons, killing and injuring hundreds of thousands of people, bombing out whole towns, bankrupting the U.S. treasury, getting stuck in a quagmire with no exit strategy, starting a civil war, energizing Al Queda, and turning the whole world against us. But maybe that's just me.I was pleased this morning to see that the Seattle Times did have a close-up picture of the Backbone puppet. The P-I had six measly sentences and NO pictures, at least in their online version." Update: Dina also posted this in a slightly different form on Kos which elicited many comments. Headline: "Must-see photos! Wet white folks at Seattle Antiwar rally."

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