From: "Eric Bagai" < email@example.com>
To: "Peacekeeping Volunteers"
Subject: What now?
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003
Thank you for helping to successfully bring off the April 12th march and rally.
It is probably our last big event for a while. The smaller turnout (4-5,000) was
due, I believe, to the fact of war and a recognition that our President had not
listened and would not listen to the people of America. But I do not believe
that we failed. We may have lost heart for a time, and we are surely in mourning
for the newly dead that our nation is responsible for, but we have not failed.
Together we almost succeeded in stopping a war. This has never happened before.
Several writers have heralded a new voice among world powers: our voice. In the
first few months of this year over thirty million people gathered in the streets
to say no to war, and that voice gave strength to the nations of the world and
to the U.N. to stand up to the mightiest armed force ever created. George W.
Bush didn't listen to them either. But more important than his arrogant deafness
is that for the first time, we heard each other -- across all borders, and in
every nation, we heard each other.
Now, while we wait for a time to rally and march again, we can try to find other
ways to use our new-found voice, and how to speak and listen to each other.
Peacekeeping, as you have discovered, is mostly a matter of witnessing -- of
being a calm and objective observer of events. And by that simple act of
observation, affecting those events. One idea that some of us have been mulling
over is to take the portion of being a Peacekeeper that involves witnessing, and
bring it to ordinary public events. Events that are not organized by peace
activists. If your presence, wearing a green armband, can affect the behavior of
thousands of marchers, how would your presence affect a meeting where Mayor Katz
complained that anti-war demonstrations cost the city too much?
The idea of being a Peacekeeper Witness is interesting to me, and I hope it
appeals to you, too. I will think more on this, and encourage you to do the
same. Please send me your ideas of how this might be implemented. Perhaps in a
few weeks we can shape these ideas into a plan.
Portland Peace Alliance
[and treasurer: Portland Peaceful Response Coalition}