Thursday, June 21, 2007

Coverage of our vigil for the 3,500 U.S. combat death

The Downtown Journal had a reporter and a photographer at our protest.

They also posted an interesting multi-media piece with voices from the protest and a slide show that you can watch here
Here is the article:

All they are saying...

By Michael Marchio

Protesters lined the southwest corner of Loring Park along Hennepin Avenue June 8 to voice their opposition to the war in Iraq.

The event was called together by the Iraq Peace Action Coalition to mark the 3,500th U.S. military death in Iraq.

“The Iraq Peace Action Coalition has been trying to mark the quantity of lives that have been wasted in this conflict in Iraq,” said Meredith Aby, one of the group’s organizers. “We’ve had demonstrations at 2,000, 2,500, 3,000 and now 3,500 in terms of marking how many soldiers have died.”

Aby noted the recent increase in violence in Iraq as one reason for the event.

“The surge that Bush is orchestrating is having an incredible consequence on human lives for both Americans and Iraqis, and we wanted to encourage people to organize against this war because we’re going to be marking 4,000 dead pretty soon,” she said.

Emotions and frustrations ran hot in the afternoon sun, with many protesters, which numbered from 50 to 100 during the event, voicing their displeasure with the president and his policies in no uncertain terms.

“I’m out here because George W. Bush considers the Constitution a damn piece of paper,” Daniel Fearn, a nine-year United States Marine Corps veteran, said.

As rush-hour traffic hummed along, the protesters’ chants and speeches were peppered by honks of support, an indication of the intensifying unpopularity of the war, according to many in attendance.

“There’s very little against us; that’s changed in the four years we’ve been out trying to convince people this is the worst thing our country’s ever done,” said Rick Hanson, from the antiwar group Military Families Speak Out.

Hanson, whose son, Eric, 21, is a marine on his second deployment to the Anbar province of Iraq, took issue with the medical treatment troops receive when they return from their tour of duty. “I think it’s horribly unpatriotic the way our soldiers are treated when they get back,” he saidAnother demonstrator, Patricia Keefe, 64, also noted the change in attitude.

“A lot more people are honking now,” she said. “People are realizing that [the war] was a terrible mistake.”

One of the featured speakers at the event, Julie Larson of Blaine, spoke about her son, a member of the Navy who is being redeployed to Iraq, and called for more public involvement in the antiwar movement.

“I ask you to write to your representative and keep the pressure on. Let’s see all of these kids as ours — they belong to us, not somebody else,” Larson told the crowd.

In an interview with the Downtown Journal, she said America’s young service members are fighting a war that is, in the words of her son, “about oil.”

“It’s so easy for the rest of the country not to see these people; they’re just invisible, they go off and do the war. Until you have someone really close to you [involved in the war], it doesn’t affect you, and I don’t think that it’s affecting, still, a lot of people,” she said.

Her belief was echoed by August Nimtz, a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota and a participant in the rally.

“Only with a mass movement will [the war] end, because neither political party — Democrats or Republicans — are interested in peace,” he said. “We need to do what history has taught us; the only way which you end wars is when working people take power and organize in massive, massive numbers.”


Ginny said...

Beautiful post. Wonderful article. I love the August Nimtz quote. Thank you.