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by Anna Kunkin
Tuesday, Apr. 15, 2003 at 3:38 PM
Summary: Are the smaller numbers at Sunday's Anti-War Demo a sign that the Movement is losing momentum, or is it just taking breath while it figures out what to do next?
Another Peace March and Rally. Only this one is a little different because according to the Mainstream Media and the Pentagon, the war in Iraq is ostensibly over. If that’s true, what are these 5 to 6 thousand souls doing marching down Hollywood Blvd. on a beautiful sometimes cloudy sometimes sunny Sunday afternoon with all their wonderful spirit and expressive anti-war signs? Why the drummers? Why the rally with the hip-hop bands, poets and political speakers? What’s the point? And look at the size of the crowd? We’ve gone from 75,000 on the streets of Hollywood in February to a tiny fraction of that amount. What’s up? Is the Peace Movement over?
Well, the point, stated over and over by the speakers, and understood by many in the crowd, is that the government is lying to us through it’s Media about the status of the war, the number of civilian casualties, and what it plans to do about re-building Iraq and helping the people. Furthermore, as stated by Zen Buddhist and member of the Interfaith Coalition for Justice and Peace, Mumun, the process that brought us here was not necessarily about whether the results were good or bad. And that’s a very good point.
We originally took to the streets on a worldwide basis not solely against the war in Iraq. As a matter of fact, most of us understood from the beginning that the war would probably happen regardless of the number and size of the demonstrations against it. We all understood that our cowboy Pres-Select and his advisors were hell-bent on having this war, and they were willing to do it unilaterally because they could. They have their fingers on the biggest war machine ever and can do anything they damn well please. And they were going to do it, not only to gain power over Iraq and it’s oil, but to flex their muscles and give a warning to anybody who might challenge their right to complete domination in the future. It’s as simple as that. And most of us understood that going in. Of course there was never any question of what the results of such a war would be, so there’s nothing to be surprised about.
We have to remember that the reasons we came out had more to do with the reasons for the war on Iraq than on the war itself. And that has to do with what is going on inside our own country; with the long-time agenda of the corporate United States and it’s empirical plans to colonize the entire planet in order to have control over it’s resources. That is the fight, of which the attack on Iraq was only one battle. We need to remember the burgeoning Anti-Globalization movement, which was starting to have some real momentum before 9-11 derailed it, and understand that this is the same fight. That was the point of today’s demonstration and the reason those of us who attended came out.
Of course what happened and is happening is disheartening; and it’s hard, in the confusion to know where to go from here. On the mainstream media we hear that the Iraqi people are ecstatic over the toppling of Saddam Hussein, and yeah, it’s hard to deny that, because why wouldn't they be happy to see the end of a terrible dictator? On the other hand, we hear from the alternative media that the hospitals are full of civilian casualties, that food and clean water are scarce, that the infrastructures for basic survival are terribly damaged or destroyed, and that the U.S. government is planning to install a convicted criminal as the next Iraqi puppet administration, beholden to U.S. corporate interests. In other words, everything we anticipated and feared is coming true. And even those of us with a deeper understanding of the true issues are in need of some direction at this juncture
So many, probably in confusion, stayed home today. And the inspiration and direction needed from the speakers to bring them back, was for very few exceptions, almost completely absent. What we mostly heard was the same old laundry list of what’s wrong with this government, and very little about why we should continue and of what the next step should be.
The peace movement has lost people because it’s suddenly not so clear what we’re trying to accomplish. But hey! It’s only been a few days since the “Allies” entered Baghdad and declared it’s ‘heroic victory,” and in this video game world it will probably be only a few days before they determine that all those mythic weapons-of-mass-destruction are somewhere else…. like Syria for example. And then we'll have another war to struggle against.
Or, here’s an idea,….. instead of depending on having a war so the Anti-War Movement can exist, why don’t we change the name so the larger Movement for Global Social Justice can thrive and grow to change the system and struggle with the real issues?
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