Peace March March 20, 2004
New York, NY
(DC Anti-War Network bus trip)

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"Short Memory"

a narrative of the march by Jim Macdonald

Conquistador of Mexico, the Zulu and the Navajo
 The Belgians in the Congo short memory
 Plantation in Virginia, the Raj in British India
 The deadline in South Africa short memory
 The story of El Salvador, the silence of Hiroshima
 Destruction of Cambodia short memory

 Short memory, must have a, short memory

 The sight of hotels by the Nile, the designated Hilton style
 With running water specially bought short memory
 A smallish man Afghanistan, a watch dog in a nervous land
 They're only there to lend a hand short memory
 Wake up in sweat at dead of night
 And in the tents new rifles hey short memory

 If you read the history books you'll see the same things happen again and again --from "Short Memory" by Midnight Oil

    Preventable tragedies occur repeatedly throughout history, but we often forget both about the tragedies and their underlying causes.  In the 16th century, the Spaniard Cortez conquered the Aztec Empire of Montezuma, converted the population to Catholicism, and subjected the local population to brutal rape and slave-like conditions.  In South Africa, the Dutch, then the English, suppressed the Zulus, then instituted the racial system of Apartheid to suppress the majority population.  In the United States, under the rubric of manifest destiny, Americans conquered all of the Indian tribes, among them the Navajo, and then placed them in reservations where they remain to this day.  In the Congo, Belgium's King Leopold used the American explorer Henry Morton Stanley to "negotiate" the conquest of land more than fifty times the size of Belgium, and then subsequently enlisted children into their militia, took the women hostage, and worked the men as slaves.  In 1619, the first slave ship from Africa to Virginia arrived.  For the next 250 years, Americans subjected many blacks into slavery.  India, the second most populated nation on the planet, the home of an ancient and advanced civilization, was colonized by powers in western Europe, conquered and then ruled by the British until 1947.  In the 1970s, the United States supported a military coup in El Salvador, and then in the 1980s propped up a government guilty of numerous human rights violations against its people.  In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima killing 140,000 people, a second bomb struck Nagasaki, World War II ended with the United States occupying and writing a new constitution for Japan.  That constitution kept Japan out of military conflict until a recent deployment of Japanese soldiers to Iraq.  In the 1970s, the government of Pol Pot, who arose on the heals of a disastrous U.S. policy in Southeast Asia, killed 3 million Cambodians in an attempt to purify the Cambodian people of capitalism, Western culture, religion, and all foreign influences.  In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and set up a puppet regime.  To fight them, the United States trained religious fundamentalists, who later became known as the Taliban.  These same Taliban offered sanctuary to another U.S.-trained fundamentalist, Osama Bin Laden.  On September 11, 2001, terrorists working on behalf of Bin Laden's al Qaeda network, hijacked four airplanes, two of which destroyed New York's World Trade Centers, one of which hit the Pentagon.  Over 3,000 people died in those attacks.

    Since September 11, 2001, the United States has invaded Afghanistan, set up a puppet government, and continues a war against the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden.  They used the guise of the newfound war on terrorism to invade and overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and now occupy the heart of the ancient Babylonian Empire.  This past month, the United States and France supported a successful coup against the democratically elected President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.  Over the past couple years, the United States has supported forces trying to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.  Venezuela just happens to be the world's fourth leading supplier of oil.

    These tragedies are preventable.  They all stem from the belief that sometimes we are entitled to exercise overwhelming control over a people and its resources.  They arise from the belief that if you want security, you are justified in using force to subdue your enemy.  Yet, ultimately, each case of colonialism has had the consequence of producing more war.  Mexico revolted and won independence from Spain.  A sometimes violent social movement in South Africa led by Nelson Mandela overthrew apartheid.  Native Americans destroyed Custer's forces at Little Bighorn.  The Belgians left the Congo in ruins and with a legacy rife with more warfare.  A civil war, which killed more than 600,000 Americans, ended slavery.  The British left India so divided that India and Pakistan now are in a nuclear standoff.  Two decades of warfare erupted in El Salvador.  A pacifist constitution in Japan has been gradually destroyed because the United States found it convenient for Japan to be a military ally.  The overthrow of Pol Pot failed to end warfare in Cambodia.  Even wars that have been celebrated have had disastrous consequences.  World War II resulted in the deaths of 50,000,000 people.  Out of World War II, the Cold War began, which pitted the United States against the Soviet Union.  That rivalry repeatedly took the world to the very brink of nuclear annihilation.  Lose the dangerous belief that we can ever be justified in controlling another for achieving our ends, and we would not have tragedies like this.  It sounds naive, especially with a Hitler or a Bush lurking around every corner, but it sounds a lot more naive to believe that there is ever a lasting good consequence that arises from war.  Certainly, if we choose to remember these and far too many more tragedies, we could not possibly hold the slightest hope that peace can come from any kind of warfare.

    With the weight of these tragedies in mind, I joined the anti-war movement in January 2003 during a time when many of us hoped to stop a war in Iraq from happening.  Specifically, I joined the DC Anti-War Network (DAWN) in order to buy a bus ticket to New York for the February 15 protests aimed at preventing the invasion of Iraq.  That day, I rode to New York, marched with more than 500,000 people in the streets of Manhattan and with tens of millions worldwide, and then rode back.  Since then, I have increasingly worked with DAWN and the anti-war movement to stop wars and to promote social justice.  In October 2002, I protested war by myself.  By, February 2003, I was riding buses with other anti-war activists.  Now, in March 2004, I played a significant role in organizing other activists to converge on New York in hopes of stopping the disastrous war in Iraq.

    Here you will find my report of the United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) rally and march in New York City on March 20, 2004 to commemorate the one year anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq.  It is also a report of DAWN's bus trip to and from this important mobilization.  What's more, it is an introspective look at the peace movement seen through the prism of my life and my own impressions of this day.  In so many respects, our memories are far too short, but they are becoming longer by the hour.

    On March 20, DAWN organized two buses of activists to New York to protest the war in Iraq.  I was the bus sales coordinator for the trip and played a very important organizational role in getting us there.  A year ago, when we sent 5 buses to New York, I did not believe it was possible that I could ever take on such an enormous task.  Like the weight of the task before us as activists, I believe we have much more potential to effect the sorts of changes we believe are necessary than we might believe is possible now.  I am happy to report that our trip to New York was a resounding success and should serve as a means of helping to advance the global cause of peace.

    For the past month, a significant part of my life was consumed with ticket sales for New York.  It would not serve the purpose of my narrative much to go into most of those details.  Nevertheless, I shall point out what I take to be the most significant part of the experience.  As I worked hard on this task, I grew closer to several of those I worked with on this project.  They, in turn, grew closer to others working on behalf of the movement.  Whether it was the relationships I developed with Andy Laken or Ryan Barolet-Fogarty, or whether it was the working relationship we developed with groups like the DC Guerrilla Poets Insurgency and Black Voices for Peace, I felt validated by the hard work of grassroots activism.  Activism does not merely produce superficial business connections.  Rather, it also produces bona fide friendships, the strength and number of which serve as the greatest check against warfare that I can imagine.  There is no greater way to reduce the number of our enemies than to increase the quantity and quality of our friendships.

    In short, if you are not currently an activist, I believe that you are missing a profound piece of the puzzle.  However you define that activism and however you decide to pursue it, the process of devoted activism has its own reward.

    Because of my work on the buses, I woke up at 4 AM the day of our trip quite exhausted.  The night before, many of us had been making lunches and making reminder calls to our bus riders.  In my case, I managed 2 hours of sleep, which had followed several nights of about 4 hours sleep.  Yet, despite the exhaustion, the profound excitement of the experience gave me an energy that overwhelmed any instinct my body might have had to rest.  It was supremely satisfying to be so tired and yet feel so awake.

    My own personal life has been dizzying the past 12 months.  The temptation in writing such a narrative is to pretend that some of it didn't happen, to forget.  Yet, good and bad, I must not forget all that has happened, and I must work harder to make sure that the personal wars that subsume my life find a peaceful tomorrow.  In the past 12 months, I have been embarrassed repeatedly by all the things in my life that I thought I had control over.  In short, since August, I have separated from my wife and am working toward a divorce.  What's more, the day before Thanksgiving, I had a note on my desk telling me I'd been fired from my job, though my employer gave me no reason.  This autumn, I was mugged.  While unemployed, I had to beg relatives and friends to meet rent in January, then fell behind in February, and remain one month behind in rent to this day.  More dire than that, I will soon file for bankruptcy.  Despite excellent grades and having completed everything but my dissertation, I have chosen not to complete my Ph.D. in philosophy (and don't try to convince me otherwise).  In December, my beloved cat Penelope died, and I have another cat now seriously ill from kidney failure.  The most serious of all these issues has been the collapse of my marriage, which to me signifies the greatest failure to me as a peace activist.  How many times had I written in other peace narratives that peace on an international scale is merely a reflection of our wars at the personal scale.  I wrote that because I knew it all too well, even if I tried at times to forget my own personal reality.  Yet, while divorce is hard, not having a steady job or not knowing tomorrow whether I'll have a roof over my head has proven especially difficult in the short term.  Even so, my greatest temptation has been to forget that things are financially a huge mess.  My memory has been short because sometimes it is easier to sleep at night by pretending the world is not as harsh as it seems.

    While times have been hard, they have also been joyous.  In December, Genevieve and I became a couple.  I wish to preserve her privacy to the greatest extent possible, but I need to say here that the love that she and I have shared and continue to share has given me an increasing amount of hope that a gentler world is possible.  Genevieve is a member of DAWN, and her love and help has made it possible for me to believe that I can be a force for peace, a gentle wind helping others along their path, and someone who cannot help but believe that he is still luckier than cursed.  She also has had her share of personal tragedies in the last year.  Like me, she is going through a divorce.  Like me, she has lost a beloved pet, a dog who was so much more than a friend to her.  Yet, first as friends helping each other through tragedy, then as a couple in love, we have found immense joy in the storms that beseige us.  She is the most special woman I have ever met, and the peace we are finding together arose from working together to remember and work through the personal wars of our lives.  Remember as you read this that it's colored by a man deeply in love, and colored by a woman who has brought her own immense heart and memories to bear on me.

    As I write, I wonder what you the reader are working hard to remember or trying desperately to forget.  As I wonder, I want to suggest to you that meeting history head on offers a solution of hope.  Reflecting honestly and earnestly on history can replace the alienation and suffering of warfare with the interconnectedness and exuberance of peace.  So, please take heart as I share these memories.

    As activists, we were trying hard to remember that we need to continue our fight against the war in Iraq and trying hard to forget that we had not done nearly enough to make that happen.  We woke up very early that morning hoping that New York might have had some of that magic we saw in the huge throngs in February 2003, and we wanted to forget that we are not yet as cohesive and effective a group as we might want to be.  Our own group, DAWN, has struggled recently with agitation over some of its members and has dealt with issues of gender oppression.  We have dealt with the fact that we are not as demographically diverse as we like to fancy ourselves and with the fact that our numbers remain small when compared to the population at large.  We remembered shutting down Midtown Manhattan in 2003 with a pageantry of color and peaceful message, but we tried hard not to remember that we seemed to be losing some energy since that magical February day.

    Believe it or not, many of these thoughts were with me as I picked up a few passengers at 5:00 AM and drove them to Union Station.  Those thoughts were with me as I helped coordinate 2 bus captains and about 85 people who were boarding buses at 6:00 AM.  They remained with me throughout the day.

    Without many difficulties, soon we were on the road to New York.  Last year, we managed 5 buses to a far larger mobilization.  This year, it may seem like a disappointment that we managed only 2; however, this is misleading.  Last year, we were the only show in town for bus service.  This year, we competed with ANSWER for bus sales and with another bus going to Fayetteville, NC, for an anti-war protest at Fort Bragg.  Ultimately, 5 buses from DC made it to New York and hundreds of DC activists.  Another sizable contingent went to North Carolina.  In short, as the numbers in the New York protest dwindled by more than 80% to just over 100,000 protesters, the DC presence actually remained nearly the same as it was the year before.

    More important than the quantity, the quality of our group cohesiveness was also much more evident.  During the day, I did not hear a single complaint on my bus about the trip.  While there must have been some complaints, bus riders overjoyed me by giving me a gratifyingly large number of compliments on my work.  Yet, this is only a start at explaining the quality of the ride.  Like last year, political and philosophical conversations flourished on both buses.  Strangers became friends, though there were far fewer strangers than there were a year ago.  On the bus I rode, the DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency put a stamp on our solidarity.  Shahid, Angela, Leah, Kevin, and Andy performed substantive poetry for us.  While the message of their poems spoke fervently about the war, about our misplaced national priorities, and about the angst of personal experiences in the face of a world of short memories, the style and energy of their presentation communicated to the riders that we are all in this together.  Here are people who were once strangers to us; they are now our friends.  Together, we are going through New Jersey, under the Lincoln Tunnel, and into midtown Manhattan.  Together we shall march.  Together, we shall be different.  Thousands of years of recorded history relate the same tired song of war and destruction.  We don't even remember what the world was like for humans in the many more thousands of years that humans have been on this planet.  Even so, we seem to forget that we have played this tired song over and over again.  In the Guerrilla Poets, instead we got a new beat and a new song.  In its subversive, subterranean melody we find that we can be something more alive and radiant than ever.  We arrived in New York sensing that something a little different was in the air.

    The Guerrilla Poets finished their set just as we entered New York City.  America's largest city has a hold on our psyche in ways some of us would prefer not to think about.  Whether it's the obnoxious accents, the dominance of its baseball team, or its cultural elitism, many people love and love to hate New York.  That UFPJ or ANSWER did not plan to help organize a major action in Washington for the 1 year anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war rubbed a lot of people in DC the wrong way.  Yet, New York's sway on the DC anti-war movement has been powerful.  Last year's bus trip brought a large number of new members into DAWN, probably more in 2003 than most other local actions of DAWN combined.  This year's trip has brought out a significant increase in the level of activity within our group.  In short, New York has a mystique.  People want to go to New York.  In Washington, many people stay home or participate in activism individually.  Yet, as New York approached, DAWN seemed to become more communal, interdependent, and larger.  In the past month, we had two fundraisers supporting the sale of bus tickets to New York.  At one of those fundraisers, one of our activists was arrested.  This activist, Chris Otten, was arrested outside the fundraiser when he asked questions of a police officer searching the car of one of our performers, who had been just arrested for having an open container. Chris did nothing more than ask police officers about the legality of their search, and his story has been verified by multiple eyewitnesses.  Within moments and without any provocation besides these questions, police arrested Chris and charged him with felonious assault of a police officer (later reduced to attempted assault).  Research of the Supreme Court case Houston v. Hill (1987) showed that Chris, who still faces the charge of attempted assault, was well within his rights to question police officers who were in the process of making an arrest.  As a result of the outrage over Chris's arrest, 20 activists immediately converged on the police station.  Another 6 to 7 waited all day in court for his arraignment and release, prepared to raise money for bond, if needed.  One wonders whether all this would have happened in absence of the general excitement of a mass protest in New York.  Would we have had the fateful fundraiser?  If so, how many would have been there?  How many would have quickly gone to Chris's defense?  In likelihood, I'm exaggerating, but I suspect not by much.  Two weeks later, DAWN performed a theatrical reading of "The Night Thoreau (not to be confused with Chris Otten) Spent In Jail."  While rushed, this St. Patrick's Day performance served again to help get people to New York.  For whatever reasons, our entering New York left me feeling like something just a little more special was happening.  It shouldn't be that way, and we must not forget all the successes in DC activism, but I must confess that I was quite excited to be in New York.

    On 42nd Street, across the street from Grand Central Station, our buses let us out, and many of us walked together as a large group.  DAWN has a reputation for doing nearly nothing together for any large protest.  In fact, the throngs in New York would soon scatter against our will, but for the first time that I've been a part of, a large group of us enthusiastically tried to stick together.  I sensed that we all wanted to stick together, too.  When I arrived, I knew that I was going to be with Genevieve, our friend Jim Vaccoro, and Kevin Heaton.  In the photograph, you can see Genevieve, Kevin, and Jim holding a banner that Genevieve and I created.  It caught me a little by surprise when Andy, Ria, Ryan, Sam, and others were now all trying to march with us, and it felt great.

    Soon, the banner you see, which reads "Arrest Bush for War Crimes" came out.  The war on Iraq is a war crime, and President Bush really should be held accountable for it.  He has fought a war on claims that the government exaggerated or knew to be false about weapons of mass destruction.  More than that, he fought that war using depleted uranium munitions, which the government has known for years are capable of causing severe health problems not only to the enemy but also to our own troops.  His war, fought on false pretenses, has led to the deaths of more than 10,000 Iraqis and at least 570 American troops.  It has bred a resistance movement that continues to keep everyone in the region in fear.  While more than 100,000 people were protesting in New York, over a million in Rome, and many hundreds of thousands in dozens of countries around the globe, almost no one celebrated or protested in Iraq.  Fear of suicide bombings and reprisals by the occupying American and coalition forces have made people prisoners of their own homes.  A journalist I met at the rally who had just come home from Iraq said that he believed he was witnessing the destruction of the American empire.  We could take the most superficial step possible toward world peace by arresting Bush for his crimes.  Instead, the police are more likely to arrest us for carrying this message.  In fact, a week before the March rally, Genevieve and I unfurled the sign in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House, only to have a Secret Service agent in a vehicle follow us two feet behind in a car.  As we paraded around a statue of Andrew Jackson, who should be most famous for driving away the Cherokees from their homes and on the "Trail of Tears," the law enforcement officials saw two pacifists with a sign as a greater threat to national security.  Today, no one arrested us or bothered us for carrying this sign.

    Unfortunately, we could not stay cohesive for very long, as the forces of the march tore our cohesive group into smaller pieces.  Of course, sometimes these winds of change are good winds.  Instead of being torn apart by internal bickering, or from a lack of interest in each other, we were torn apart by much more natural forces.  Those natural forces allowed us now to have a set of unique experiences so that when we came back together, we could share the unique tapestry of those perspectives.  This just happens to be my longwinded attempt at it.  Ultimately, Genevieve, Jim, Kevin, and I found ourselves torn away by a Dutch journalist who decided he wanted to interview Genevieve.  On Genevieve's back, she wore a little sign that said "No More Hiroshimas."  That she wore this sign to remember not only the dead of Hiroshima but also the survivors whom she and I had gotten the chance to meet in December was something that I thought was quite apt.  We cannot forget those who have died even if it's inconvenient to how we have chosen to organize our lives.  The Dutch journalist, however, had an unusual take.  Since the United States used an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and the war against Saddam Hussein was fought on the pretext of ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, the journalist asked Genevieve whether she in fact supported the war in Iraq.  That seemed like a ridiculous logical leap, especially since the United States continues to have by far the most weapons of mass destruction while Iraq had zero, but that was exactly what he asked.  Genevieve clarified her position and stated that she was here to protest because she was against all wars.  The journalist predictably asked whether that was a feasible point of view even in the face of Hitler.  Undaunted, Genevieve cited a book she said showed alternative ways to combat the evils of Hitler nonviolently.  All-in-all, she did a great job of expressing what all of us were thinking.  When the interview ended, the four of us discovered that our friends, not knowing we had been stopped, were long gone.

    We could not catch up with our friends because the streets had become enormously packed.  Reports say the march ultimately stretched for 20 blocks, and there were anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 people.  The New York Police Department (NYPD), as they usually do, set up metal barricades and pens, which forced protesters off the sidewalk and onto the narrow streets without much hope of getting away.  Occasionally, police would open the barricades to let a few protesters through, but by and large most of us remained trapped.  This was what we expected, both from what we read and from our experiences in New York the year before.  Yet, despite the massive police presence and pens, the NYPD took a much more relaxed stance on the protest than they did a year before.  In fact, police made only four minor arrests for disorderly conduct, and all officers that we talked to during the march were quite helpful.  It made their use of pens look rather silly, of course.  The packing that resulted from the pens, however, had a uniquely positive effect on the protest.  Since we found ourselves unable to escape each other like we could on the spacious lawns of the Mall in Washington, there was no choice but to interact.  All around us, people were having small circles of conversations.  The shots of the crowd in the newspaper do not show what it really looks like.  Besides the sea of signs and people looking at the sea of signs, people are interacting and talking both about the most and the least personal of things.  There are nuanced discussions of what's wrong with the peace movement, or with the approach of the organizers.  Others are expressing their sense of what this march means for the larger movement.  In truth, there are wide webs of circles all facing slightly forward.  As you move between open cracks and crevices in the crowd, you run into new situations.  As we stood on Madison Avenue unable to move or hear the rally, which apparently headlined Dennis Kucinich, one of our bus compatriots was by herself.  Genevieve recognized Eileen, whom we had met the week before at the DAWN meeting, and invited her to join us.  Unfortunately, just as we lost our friends, Eileen had lost in the crowd new friends she had just made on the bus.  Instead, we incorporated her into our group and carried on the sorts of discussions all of us in New York were having.

    At first, I had a bad feeling about the day, but the power of memories helped change it and consequently my perspective on what was happening.  The previous October, I lamented a danger I saw in the peace movement, namely the danger that we are becoming what we hate.  On the streets of New York, observing the smaller numbers, the more lighthearted and festive atmosphere, large forests of many of the same signs, I began to worry that we were continuing on becoming a rather lifeless set of troops marching blindly to a beat we no longer would remember if it weren't so habituated in us.  We criticized some of the chants, especially anything that began "Hey, hey, ho, ho."  In fact, our group began chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, this chant has got to go."  As we did so, I noticed several others smiling at us.  What new chants might there be?  I came up with one playing on "The people divided will never be defeated."  Jim often said, "The people divided will never be deleted," and so I chimed in, "Uranium divided will still be depleted."  Consequently, we chanted that for awhile.  Even so, you can sense some of the cynicism I felt in October creeping into how I was feeling in the shadows of New York.  Here we stood in narrow streets, shrouded by stark contrasts of light and dark, good and evil, right and wrong, and it felt like we had been snared in the trap.  Then, something wonderful happened to me.  At the top of this narrative, you should see a photograph of a woman holding daffodils and carrying the sign, "Peace."  That woman came up to me and said, "Where did you get that button?"  She was referring to a button about our march in New York the previous February that my friend Jose had given me. Jose, a member of DAWN, makes his living selling political buttons and even recently had a feature article written about him in the Washington Post.  She then asked me, "Would you be interested in selling your button?"  My first thought was that this was one of my most cherished buttons since it reminded me of such an important day, and so I responded "Not particularly."  She politely told me it was okay, and turned to her friend.  What I didn't realize was that the trap had snared me.  A few seconds later, my friend Jim came to me and said, "You might not realize this, but in the old days in the 1960s the etiquette was that whenever anyone asked you for a button, you gave it to him."  In fact, I had no idea about such etiquette.  Yet, even though I responded to the woman in ignorance, I realized inside me that I had a bit of a moral failing.  Here I felt such a desire to hold on to my property, which I believe is wrong.  Even though that button was property used to help me preserve my memory of an important day, I now realized I had made a mistake.  Jim's memory of his experience touched me greatly.  Within 20 seconds of what he said, I told him, "I'm giving her my button."  He tried to stop me and said, "You don't have to do that."  In fact, I did have to do that.  I took off my button, interrupted the woman who was still a mere two feet from me, and said that the button was now hers.  She lit up and thanked me, explaining to me that she was an "old hippie" and flower child.  She then gave me a "Peace" sign and a yellow daffodil.  Finally, she wished me many returns for my gift.  She was genuinely excited by what happened, and so was I.  The experience humbled me and yet moved me to realize that there is definitely a beautiful and creative spirit inside of our march that is markedly different than the world most of us live in.  No, we weren't what we should be,  and we weren't as strong as we were a year before.  Yes, we had missed so many opportunities, but the quality of our experience and our movement really could not be much stronger than it was today.  My cynicism receded back into the sewers as I held the daffodil lovingly.

    Eventually, we marched out of our tight spaces, then marched into wide open spaces, and then back into tight quarters.  We marched a rectangle from Madison Avenue to what I think was 24th Street, across to Sixth Avenue, then to 40th Street, and then back down Madison Avenue.  Our group of five kept together more or less, ran into old friends every so often, and continued the rather pleasant experience in the crisp New York afternoon.  As usual, we saw the smallest number of counter-protesters, a large number of foreign press (and scattered local press), and a wide diversity of people supporting a wide diversity of issues.  A large number protested the recent coup in Haiti.  Others celebrated the defeat of a Bush ally in Spain, which followed a devastating terrorist attack that left over 200 dead.  Still others expressed worry about what might happen in Venezuela.  Mostly, people protested Bush.  Some took the political approach and focused their protests on the election.  Many others offered fliers about the upcoming Republican National Convention, which should draw much larger, much more tense protests.  All over the place, ANSWER volunteers collected money to pay for the event.  Where there weren't the familiar red money buckets, various stripes of socialists either gave away or sold newspapers.  The usual sorts of beats and melodies filled the air.  Coming back along Madison Avenue, a man several stories up vehemently waved a white flag while cheering protesters forward.  He single-handedly energized the crowd.  The march ended, another rally began, but mostly people milled about, dancing in the streets and carrying on their conversations.

    We eventually returned to the bus and found the rest of our friends.  People all seemed generally upbeat about the day with an occasional lament that we could be so much more than we are.  Even so, most of us felt a sense that we had accomplished something good and were now energized for the next step.  As we rode back to Washington, my friend Andy spoke to our bus about his experiences.  Then, he excitedly showed Genevieve and I the news stories from around the globe.  He found himself surprised by the positive and prominent headlines the worldwide demonstrations got.  What had not crossed my mind very much was that the day of action was a day of global action.  So, coming home, we read about the huge protests in Rome, the protesters who scaled Big Ben in London with a sign reading "Time for Truth," protests in Japan, and other demonstrations across the world and across the country.  When I finally arrived home after 11:30, Genevieve and I did not go to bed.  Both of us, who were working on virtually no sleep and a day of walking all over Manhattan, went immediately to the internet and looked at photographs of the protests from around the world.  So much of our day had been focused around our growing circle of friends, but now we realized very intimately that we were with people in Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, London, Glasgow, Athens, Istanbul, Tokyo, Sidney, Seoul, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Atlanta, Crawford, TX, Fayetteville, NC, and people in thousands of other locations.  The pictures and colors staggered us.  That I had some part in helping to make this happen told me that these are memories to build on, that these are memories not to be too short or forgotten too easily.

    Today, I woke up tired and ill from all my work, but my spirit is not ill at all.  I woke up to an invitation to brunch from Andy to all of us in DAWN that I could not possibly attend.  Even so, I recognized that this was an invitation that has become more delightfully commonplace as we continue to work together and rebuild the anti-war movement.  Now, I work on preserving all the memories of these chapters of experience so that these years shall not be forgotten years.  I have a lot of things ahead of me I'd sooner forget, but I must not forget them, or they will repeat again and again and again.  Likewise, as activists we should work to preserve both our good and bad memories, and also our bonds with each other.  As for the world at large, we cannot control the forces that wage war any more than those who wage war can use it to control their interests.  Nevertheless, I'd like to offer a prayer for peace, a prayer that tomorrow all the killing will stop, and a prayer that enough of us remember that so many of the tragedies of yesterday and today never had to happen.  If only we have longer memories, perhaps my prayer will come true.

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