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What Difference Will It Make if Thousands Protest In Downtown Portland Sunday?

Hoping that Portand's march and rally will be more creatively radical, more assertive and confrontational... but even if it isn't, is it worth doing?
I received this email, which I wanted to pass on:

Four Years Ago Today

By Starhawk

March 16, 2007

Four years ago today, I was in Nablus in the Occupied Territories of
Palestine, volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement
that supports the nonviolent movement among the Palestinians. I was
also supporting my friend Neta Golan, an Israeli woman and one of the
founders of ISM, now married to a Palestinian, who was about to give
birth. I had spent a strangely idyllic day in a small village outside
Nablus, where a group of ISM volunteers had gone because we'd
received a report that the Israeli army was harassing villagers. When
we got there, the army had left, the cyclamen and blood-red anemones
were in bloom underneath ancient olive trees, and the villagers
insisted we stay for a barbecue.

We were just passing through the checkpoint on our way back to Nablus
when we got a call from Rafah, in the Gaza strip. Rachel Corrie, a
young ISM volunteer, had trying to prevent an Israeli bulldozer from
demolishing a home near the border. The bulldozer operator saw her,
and went forward anyway, crushing her to death.

Rachel's death was a small preview of the horrific violence that the
U.S. unleashed, three days later, with the invasion of Iraq. In
Nablus, we were gearing up for a possible Israeli invasion when the
war began. I was working with another volunteer, Brian Avery, to
coordinate the team that would maintain a human rights witness in the
Balata refugee camp on the outskirts of Nablus. I was also praying
that Neta would not go into labor at some moment when the whole town
would be under siege and we could not get to a hospital, and boning
up on such midwifery knowledge as I possess. Perhaps I prayed too
hard—she showed no signs of going into labor at all, and finally, in
an act of great unselfishness, sent me down to Rafah to support the
team there that had been with Rachel. I offered such comfort as I
could to volunteers who were young enough that most had never before
experienced the death of someone close to them.

It was a strange spring. I made it back to Nablus to support Neta's
birth—but the joy of that event was tinged with horror, for the night
before, Brian was shot in the face in Jenin by the Israeli military
in an unprovoked attack on a group of international volunteers. All
during Neta's labor, the nurses (yes, thank Goddess, we made it to
the hospital!) kept turning on Al Jazeerah which was showing scenes
of the U.S. bombardment of Iraq. I kept turning it off. Even in a
world full of war, I wanted her child to be born in a small island of

I went to Jenin to support the team that had been with Brian, and
then to Haifa to visit him where he was awaiting surgery. I spent
much of the next weeks traveling frenetically, often alone, through
the one piece of ground on earth most difficult to travel in, where
checkpoints truncate every route. The olive trees broke into leaf,
and the almonds swelled into fuzzy green pods which the Palestinians
eat young. They taste lemony, sharp and poignant, like the moment

I visited with the Israeli Women in Black in Jerusalem, and trained
ISM volunteers in Beit Sahour. A young British volunteer, Tom
Hurndall, went down to Rafah straight from the training. Walking on
the border, near where Rachel was killed, he saw a group of children
under fire from an Israeli sniper tower. He ran beneath the rain of
bullets, pulled a young boy to safety, went back again for another
child. The sniper targeted him, shooting him in the head. So I went
back to Rafah, that surreal town of rubble and barbed wire, ripe
oranges and bullet holes, to support the team that had been with Tom

Everywhere I went, the sun shone, the flowers bloomed, and the army
seemed to melt away, as if I carried some magic circle of
protection. I was a long distance witness to death, a support for
grief without suffering the searing personal pain that comes with the
loss of a child, a parent, a lover. My own grief hit later, when I
was home, and safe, and cried for weeks.

I cry now, every spring, here in California as the daffodils bloom
and the plum trees flower. The beauty of spring is forever tinged,
for me, with the grief and wonder and horror of that time: Neta
sweating in labor while the TV news shows images of war, blood
staining the wildflowers a deeper red.

I cry, and then I get I mad. Four years have gone by, and the
killing still goes on—in Palestine, in Iraq, and if Bush has his way,
in Iran. Ghosts haunt the green hills, shimmering like heat waves
under an unnaturally hot sun: all the uncounted dead of this uncalled-
for war, all those yet to die.

I've got a garden to plant, and a thousand things I'd rather do, but
once again this spring, I'm gearing up for action. The peace marches
have become boring, strident and predictable. To be absolutely
honest, I hate marching around in the street chanting the same
slogans I've been chanting for forty years. I'm going, anyway. I'm
so tired of die-ins and sit-ins and predictable speeches shouted over
bullhorns that I could scream if I weren't hearing in my ears the far
more bitter screams of the dying. I'm even tired of trying to drum
and sing and make the protest into a creative act of magic. It's not
creative—it's a damn protest, and I have real creative work to do:
books to write, courses to teach, and rituals to plan. Nonetheless,
Sunday will find me trudging along on the peace march and Monday will
find me lying down on Market Street in some picturesque fashion with
a group of friends and our requisite banners.

Why? So I can look myself in the mirror without flinching, and
answer to those hundred thousand ghosts. But more than that, because
it's time, friends. Public opinion has turned—now we must make it
mean something real. It's time to send the Democrats back to their
committee meetings saying, "Hell, I can't even get into my office—the
halls are blocked and the streets are choked with people angry about
this war." Time to send the Republicans off to their caucuses
murmuring quietly "If we continue to support this disaster we're
going to lose every semblance of power or popular support we once
possessed." Time to let the rest of the world know that dissent is
alive and well here in the U.S.A. Time to regenerate a movement as
nature regenerates life in the spring, with the rising energy that
alone can turn our interminable trudging into a dance of defiance.

You come, too. You can skip out on the boring speeches and make
cynical remarks—but get your feet out on the street this weekend,
somewhere. There's a thousand different actions planned around the
country—and if you don't know where to go or what to do, check the
websites below.

Act because hundreds of thousands who are now alive are marked for
death if this war goes on or expands into Iran. Act because every
perfumed flower and every bud that breaks into leaf this calls to us
to cherish and safeguard life.



For a listing of actions, check:

www.unitedforpeace.org < http://www.unitedforpeace.org/> .



I'll be out there 17.Mar.2007 19:14


This article is amazing. She tells how our congressional offices are blocked. Portland's Defund the War group testifys to that trying to get in Smith's office. This author's experiences around death and birth are alive. She'd rather do something else, but she has to be out there. Those still alive need us in solidarity for peace. See you out there!