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actions & protests | human & civil rights

Heartbroken: Two Protests, One Night

I attended the Greece/Palestine solidarity domonstration tonight, with low turnout. Half the participants left before we even began our march. During a brief discussion beforehand someone suggested that instead of handing out literature at Pioneer Square we mob over to the city hall to remind the Sam Adams supporters that more was at stake on this day than the result of a sex scandal. I suggested that for our cause the opus of capitalism that is downtown would be a more fruitful target. So we haphazzardly staggered in a splintered drawl, some of us breaking off to join another group of Gaza supporters, to Pioneer, where we struggled to hand out the flyers provided.
Not much later we disbanded with a slight sense of defeat. On my way off I wedged the sign I'd made, with an (A) and the words BELIEVE IN FEEDOM scribbled on it in a chainlink fence. Walking back home I came across this Sam Adams demonstration, throngs of liberals and media crowding the steps of city hall. On the corner stood a man with a large sign: Honk to Remove Sam Adams (or some such dribble). "Free speech," the man holding the sign said to me as I leaned forward to read it, as if he already knew my reaction, and I sadly acknowledged his right and my disagreeance. I then wandered through the boyant crowd, full of faces which were sure they were doing the world a good deed. In the name of Democracy, and Liberalism. I scowled in spite of myself at almost everyone who met my eyes. What right did I have to say they were wrong? Were they not, after all, on the right side of the barrier?
On my way out I found a few people arguing with the man counter-protesting on the corner. I heard them say, "Don't you have anything better to do?" I tapped one of them on the arm and said, "Don't you? There was a rally for Palestine tonight, thousands dead with our government's support." The crosswalk changed and I began to leave, full of disgust.
"That's why we need elected officials to fight that kind of thing!" he called after me.
"Sam Adams doesn't have a fucking say!" I spat back, "and Obama aint gonna change a damn thing! He supports Isreal's massacre!" (knowing immediately where the rift betweeen us was).
"Would you rather have Mcain?" he called.
I yelled some incoherant mumble back, sick and frantic with rage, wanting (in retrospect) only to say, "You have more freedom than two boxes on a ballot you fucking fool! It's people like you who make happiness impossible! Brainwashed by the promises of reform cast by satellites I swear right into your fucking brain! And you would wait forever, while who-knows-how-many people are killed and kill themselves, for the day when you can drive your fucking SUV to your fucking pat-yourself-on-the-fucking-back parades where you march up and down shopping districts, stopping for lattes, still ignoring the homeless begging for change, pockets full of fucking cash cause you got your degree unlike those lazy sorry ignorant poor who couldn't afford it, comfortable in your empty homes cleaned by Mexican migrants who you think of as kinda human, as bombs drop, from the fists of your ELECTED FUCKING OFFICIALS, blowing the weak and voiceless into oblivion, and you watch your fucking TV numb and stupid as an infant, passive as the furniture you sprawl on, HEARTLESS, BECAUSE IF YOU HAD A HEART IT WOULD BE BROKEN!"
I hurt my hand punching a Wells Fargo sign and almost kicked in a Channel 6 van window but stopped when I noticed a pro-Sam protester watching me suspiciously.

Here's a poem I wrote for tonight. I planned to read it before the march, but there wasn't the kind of community around that could have given it its fire.

Athens Burns and So Do We

...pinecones and pollen die
on our sidewalks as dandelions
heroically break through the cracks...
leaves wash with trash down
into the sewer, as if we've become
ashamed of them... nectars of water
cry trapped in the ruts of our gutters...
all dying on the same streets
as our homeless... streets crusted over black
with blood... the blood of twisted car wrecks...
the blood of junkies... blood from halo'd skulls
bracked open by police batons...
blood gushing from children's ears,
leaking from schools... blood
erupted from bodies by bombs and bullets so far off
that we can only hear whispers... blood wept
from the fingertips of sweet suicides...
blood that rains and rains from the sky
growing concrete monsters
like some season darker than winter
refusing to retreat.

But that bood will turn to soil
in the morning sunlight, burn to soil by the flames
of Molotoves, and it will rain gold
as the dead burn up on glorious pyres higher than thunderheads
as we sing rapturous gales of babble
through winds of ash and embers,
our tears blooming wildflowers which will blow off
in the sun's breath, infecting buildings which dissove
in storms of petals and pidgeons and deer and dragonflies,
newborn wolves howling with us, enormous birds trailing banners
of red and black across the dawn, singing hymns for a tremendous spring,
and we will feel endless
like the dead
kissing and caressing and feeling and fucking fee,
and no one will think to remember where we'd been for so long,
or where our blisters and bruises and scrapes had come from,
cause when the dark bellows of skyscrapers and streetlights
and flasuhing TVs have crumbled, nothing
will cast a shadow at all,
and we'll stuff our faces with sunlight.