Friday, March 21, 2008

Arizona CODEPINK on Anniversary of Iraq War

Phoenix, Arizona: On this 5th Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq nearly 600 protesters gather at Arizona Senator John McCain's Phoenix Office. The evening ended with the a candlelight vigil and the reading of the over 100 names of Arizona military persons lost in this occupation.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Protests Continue! March 20

By Amy Tannenbaum

Even after all of the excitement of the fifth anniversary of the war, CODEPINK still had the energy for an action this afternoon. There was a naval arms exposition at a local Marriott hotel, with Congressman Ike Skelton, the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, as a keynote speaker. We brought our "Don't Buy Bush's War" banners to protest these war profiteers and congressional pandering to this group of businesspeople. We had only a small contingent from CODEPINK, but a new group of students from Holy Cross/Our Spring Break had just showed up in town and added some fresh energy to our demonstration - then we chanted on the Metro back to the Pink House and sent them off for more marching on Capitol Hill. It was a great reminder that even in the wake of our powerful and intense work for March 19, we must continue our work in order to finally end this war!


We are so TIRED of WAR !!
5 years of failed foreign policy


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Freeway Blogging in Tallytown

WHAT A DAY!!! I woke up to Medea and Liz in front of the IRS building, in Washington, D.C., on CNN. Before that, at 3:30AM me and my "buddies" set off to do the first ever, in the world, banner drops on Tallahassee, Florida. Without too much information let me say it was a total blast. "WE" are all over 50 (although we had some younger help for pictures). Being stealth-like is simply hilarious.
We had 4 banners and took on 4 bridges. The wind never blows in Tallahassee so, of course, it was blowing 20-30 knots alllllll day today. The banners flopped all over and it was a miracle that we got the incredible picture we did (check out Two banners were taken down - we salvaged the other two just in time.
After delivering our highway messages we met for breakfast. It was 5:30am. Then, home to rest a little and get ready for the evening events.
I want to say here how hard it was for me to decide to be in Tallahassee for this anniversary and miss the DC actions. My"buddies" are in DC also. It's always so amazing to be with them and march with everyone. Our usual Tallahassee actions are never anti-war enough for me. It's preaching to the choir.
Occasionally though, something awesome happens. And this was one of those times.
My decision to come back for this 5th anniversary of occupation was based purely on a "feeling".
It feels to me like the tides are turning. It feels to me like a cosmic shift is taking place. I've been meditating in the mornings for many months again and, frankly, I thought that was what was happening, ie; I was seeing thru my own auras. THAT'S NOT IT. (well, not entirely).
I feel that groups like CodePINK are causing this "shift". We are responsible for tiny steps and giant leaps. It's not so much about what we say but more about what we do. When we do something we are totally there.
For example, the celebration CodePINK D.C. had for IVAW members on Sunday night after the WSII event was a perfect example of peace and love and dedication and happiness. The room was full of the most incredible activists from around the country. A few were missing but all were there in spirit. I had heard the plans these different activist groups were doing in solidarity and just seeing all of that juice in one place was the best. It gave me the best feeling ever.
I was also so completely proud of the CodePINK women from the University of Central Florida. They are inspiring and cute and fun and incredibly bright, oh, and really, really FUN! If I'd stayed in D. C. this would have been the 3rd action I would do with them in less than 2 months - I hated to miss that.
Fortunately, following my heart this time was absolutely right on. I got to come to D.C. and work at the IVAW Winter Soldier II - Iraq and Afghanistan action, dance and party with my CodePINK buddies at Bus Boys and Poets, then come home to a great day protesting in Tallahassee.
The evening action turned out to be the absolute best we've had in years and years. It rained and kept the crowds down. Even so, we made ALL of the news stations, 2 radio stations, the only newspaper. Our action was the opening story on every channel and we expect to be on the front page tomorrow with our "freeway blogging".
The evening's events included reading the names of the Florida soldiers KIA in Iraq and Afghanistan. We opened the ceremony by ringing the bell from our Buddhist Center 5 times. Then Michael rang the bell after each name was read. A bonus I had not considered was the sound of the bell as it echoed off of the lake so beautifully.
One of the families who helped read the names lost their son in Iraq just one year ago. They would not do "CodePINK" stuff up until this event. To have them read with us was one of those giant leaps I spoke of earlier.
I talked a bit but felt the urge to share the mike. It was amazing!!!! People came up, one after another. When no one came I asked the regulars to share, then others came. It became a town hall meeting. Seriously, we were in a gazebo on Lake Ella in downtown Tallahassee, Florida. Two soldiers talked. Women, men, children, professors, a young peacemaker/meditator/dude, moms, dads, VFP and CodePINK took the mike and shared their views. Each time a new voice came to the mike we were all inspired. Citizens spoke out in the most sincere and passionate way. It was 100% spontaneous. I can't express my joy that 85% of the crowd were speaking out against the war. Sometimes most pointedly - I worried how the young soldiers felt about that.
One little girl said she had never met a soldier and she thought the war was terrible and they should get out of there because it was bad. I suggested she go right over and meet the soldiers who had come tonight. We can't have our children thinking all soldiers are bad.
Off topic a bit, I listened to the soldier interviews. When asked about if they wanted to go back the answer was "yes". When asked why, the answer was "to get back with my buddies".
It simply breaks my heart to see young men and women who are more comfortable in a war zone like Iraq than they are in America. I know they probably needed my "hoo-hah" tonight but I just don't have one. I feel sure they were in the right place and was really glad to have them with us. I hope they heard something that will set them firmly on the path of resistence to this occupation.
WHAT A DAY! Following my feelings to spend this 5th anniversary of the occupation of Iraq in my town was a very good thing. I'm so glad to see the shift in consciousness in my town. Having so much support with banners and props, for weeks in advance, was just amazing. I hope, hope, hope that we are all headed into a much easier ride in our own towns and cities. In our families and relationships. I know our soldiers could use and easier ride also. That, after all, is why we gathered in the rain tonight.
Can't wait to read about everyone else's actions. Peace Lydia