Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A nice day in the park!

photo by M. Heyman (edited by Dada)

This past Saturday people gathered locally to "celebrate" the fourth anniversary of total insanity as manifested by George Bush and Dick Cheney's Whacked-Out War. The weather was beautiful as speakers spoke, singers sang - sometimes accompanied by the audience, woven between moments of silence honoring victims of this unending madness.

It was an intimate group of 150 people. I would have liked it to have been 150,000. A crowd of 15,000, or even 1,500 would have been nice, but from the wisdom of our former secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, I learned you don't always go to peace demonstrations with the army you want, you go to peace demonstrations with the army you have. Saturday, organizers of this event - El Paso's Border Peace Presence - had a small army, but it had huge hopes and aspirations.

Since the list of the US military sacrificed lives has grown much, much too long to honor individually by reading each one's name (as was done two years ago on a long, 3 day weekend when only about 1500-1600 had been capriciously sacrificed), a shorter list of soldiers from the local military post who have died was read instead.

During the reading of those names, I wondered what would be done in lieu of that in a couple of years when that list of local soldiers has also become too long to read. And what of this annual anniversary "celebration" five, ten, or twenty years from now if this US drive for global domination continues unchecked?

The gathering culminated in an evening candle lighting. Names of those now serving in Iraq known to the audience were called out and an open microphone extended to anyone wishing to speak. It was truly an a inspirational couple of hours, being with others who desperately desire peace. And there were extremely powerful moments from some of the evocative poetry read, original songs sung and the words of nuns with years of experience in Latin America--sometimes as targets themselves beneath American made bombs dropped on villagers.

From one American sister, now living/working in Juarez, Mexico came the strong challenge to us all in attendance, wondering how much longer we, as participants in American atrocities now being committed on our behalf, are going to allow this bullshit to continue. ("Bullshit" not her exact choice of words, but bullshit was what I took her to mean.) I wished all El Pasoans not present could have been asked that question, but it was also St. Pat's Day, March Madness weekend and other more pleasant distractions were to be had, I suppose.

But I applauded in my mind her admonition to us all: that we who accept this mindless spiral into utter chaos and ultimately our own self-destruction, hold the ultimate power to end it. Or perish in its madness.

"God bless you, Sister Betty!" and then it was time to go. Maybe back to the house to add a drop or two of blue food coloring to a pint of ale and toast St. Patrick, mythical Irish snake eradicator and, as one poet had remarked earlier at the gathering, whose services could sure be used today in Washington, D.C.