AUDIO FILE: Portland Oregon March 20 Rally and March
Portland Oregon joined scores of cities all over the world to protest the ongoing occupation of Iraq and Palestine, and to proclaim that there is a better way to conduct oneself towards other human beings. War is failaure.
The master of ceremonies for the program was Laurie King of Portland Jobs With Justice who began with some statistics of what was going on elsewhere in the world before introducing the various speakers.|
First to speak was Marvin Simmons of NW Veterans for Peace This group formed because of the first Gulf War in 1991, and is still working to assist Veterans. Following Marvin were three women: Ann whose son is now in Tikrit in the Gulf; Tina, who lost her oldest son in the 1991 Gulf War; and finally Deb, who is a Veteran of Desert Storm. Deb was followed by Grant Revington, president of the Veterans for Peace, chapter 72, which includes Oregon and Washington.
Veterans for Peace
Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
United for Peace and Justice
Following Grant, Laurie introduced the Keynote Speaker, Ramon Ramiriz, of Northwest Tree Planters and Farm Workers United. Ramon spoke of a recent criticizm by Republican Rep. Jim Croft concerning this Mobilization This Representative questioned: "how dare those people oppose our troops." Ramon retorted: "Shame on you. Those are not your troops, those are our people, working people, people of color, African Americans, immigrants, Mejicanos, Guatemaltecos, those are our people that are fighting. Those aren't your people; those are our people."
After his remarks, the gathering marched up Broadway towards the offices of the Oregonian, where a speaker addressed the issue of Israeli brutalities against the Palestinian people, and U.S. complicity in these crimes. She asked that the U.S. government be indicted for funding that brutal occupation, to the tune of almost 4 billion dollars a year; she asked that U.S. corporations be indicted, those that profit from Israels violent occupation; she asked that George Bush be indicted for calling the war criminal, Ariel Sharon, a man of peace. "Without U.S. backing the Occupation would come to a halt."
Next the march stopped at the Federal Building and heard a few remarks by Barbara Dudley, professor of Political Science at P.S.U. Barbara said that she was at the event to represent all the teachers who are trying to teach about Democracy. "The USA Patriot Act, which is enforced in this building right here, is based on as big a lie as the war in Iraq is based. The lie is that in order to protect Democracy we have to give up civil liberties. Civil liberties are Democracy; without the right to dissent there is no Democracy."
This was an inspiring day. People stood up and out against the Lie, the Dissemulating Media, the Cowardice at the heart of a system of government easily purchased and corrupted. The pall of deceit, the superficial veneer of false patriotism, the flimsy veil of puny bravado is slowly being striped away, showing the present administration in its true light, a light which has cast dark shadows upon the American soldier, the American worker, the American student, the American family.
As Grant, the Veteran for Peace, said: "Dissent Protects Democracy." Yes it does, and the world has demonstrated that it is willing to stand up and protects its own, will stand up and demand that their bothers, sisters, children, all those who have been put in harms way be brought home. Portland did it's part, yet as Ramon Ramirz says "we have mmuch more work to do."
Audio file about 30 minutes in length.
Portland March 20 Rally and March
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