Scenes from my Saturday afternoon outside the local military base....
It was the third anniversary of the beginning of the U.S-led war on Iraq.
Banners were unfurled, speeches were made, and the Raging Grannies in their wild hats strummed their guitars and sang for peace.
A war resister from the States spoke eloquently on his reasons for refusing to go to Iraq. Among other more moral considerations, he had finished his five year contract in the army when he became part of the widespread "stop-loss" measures which involuntarily extended his "contract" to 2031. The number was not a typo.
I may be an idealist but I believe in peace demonstrations. There are a lot of terribly misguided military operations and policies out there right now, and it seems to me that if people don't speak out against them, then apathy gives a sort of implied acceptance of them. And although it seems as if the politicians in power right now give very little attention to such gatherings, I still believe it's worthwhile to spend a few hours out of my weekend to state my opinion publicly in this way.
There are wars being fought now for all the wrong reasons, and I don't want my country to be part of them.
I was somewhat heartened by the military vehicles that "honked for peace" as they passed by the assembled crowd.
I also ran into lots of people I hadn't seen in a while--my friends Fireweed and Mike are the ones with the USA has Mad Cowboy Disease sign.
I saw a familiar costume today, last seen three years ago at another demonstration against the war on Iraq on the 17th Street Bridge: that tall Peace is Patriotic costume with the Canadian flag on the top hat was worn by Jeff back then. Today the local Green Party candidate was the one inside.
Today I held one end of a banner that simply showed a photograph of the Earth from space.
Last time I carried a sign that read Make Love, Not War . The slogan may be a cliche, but it's just common sense and more fun besides.
P.S. I would like to add to this post in answer to Sherry's comment, as I like Sherry and her blog very much and believe she deserves a reply :
Sherry, I have both American friends and friends in the military who have served in the Gulf. I don't believe that showing my disagreement to certain military actions is a sign of disrespect to the PEOPLE in the military.
But I believe that in this post-911 world, human rights in both your country and mine are being slowly eroded by fear. And sometimes its the fear of being thought of as unpatriotic, or the fear that questioning the validity of a mission will send the message that it is the troops that aren't valued. They are human lives. They ARE of the utmost value. Wouldn't it be awful if lives were squandered and nobody said a word? And that is why I don't believe that questioning the governments' (yours AND mine) is innappropriate.
Specifically, the main reason I was out Saturday morning was that the government of Canada is expanding our Canadian role from one of peace-keeping in Afghanistan to taking over part of the U.S. combat role at the U.S.'s request. This decision was made without benefit of parliamentary debate, and many, many Canadians (including myself) believe this is unacceptable.