Leslie on her 2nd day of vigil and fast for Gaza in front of the White House.
What a great time yesterday. Not so many people out and about as there were on Saturday--at least in the few hours I was there--but still wonderful interactions. Just some impressions:
- Who we met: Socialists from Chicago, IL, highschoolers from Fon du Lac, WI, bikers from IL, joggers from DC, visitors from Germany, Colombia, Japan, Sweden, Ireland, S Africa, China, Nepal, India, Netherlands
- Cop asked for our names at the outset: I provided mine and said we were with Code Pink; Leslie rightly did not, observing nobody had required this yesterday. He also asked what we were protesting and I noted to him that we weren't doing anything of the kind, but rather were promoting peace.
- We had just one person almost at the beginning of our who demanded to know what we proposed to do about "bin Laden and all these crazies" and didn't seem all that empathetic toward civilians in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan. 3000 killed on 9/11 were innocents, 1.2M killed in Iraq are all terrorists.
- The rest of our interactions were very positive, with lots of people asking to take pictures of us, wanting to pose with us, and accepting peace ribbons and Make Out, Not War stickers.
- One lady from the Netherlands lives in S Africa and works with the ANC; another was a psychologist who debriefed members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
- Leslie spoke with a "conservative humanitarian" who voted Dem for the first time casting her ballot for Obama. Very reasonable and open-minded, had been to Gaza (she felt they were anti-American on her visit, contrary to our team's experience) and Iran (very pro-American, jibing with Leslie's visits).
- I spoke with a member of the Navy who appreciated what we do and said he was working toward a peaceful world for his kids, whom he will not allow to join the military; I thanked him for his service.
- So many variations of "thank you for your convictions/ideals/doing this" from passers-by.
- Also many said "we have a peace president" in response to our banner; yes, he's more a peace president than Bush was or McCain would be, but there's still much work to be done vis Gaza, Afghanistan, Iraq and peace and justice at home.
Dorks for peace!
I hear tell some dude stole my sign after I'd wandered over to the Road to Freedom exhibition (which ends today so hurry if you haven't seen it!). He wore it well, though I think I'd look better in the boa. Hope he remembers that what he wisely said in his inaugural address holds true for us and our allies.
With that, I head home and give my heartfelt thanks to Leslie, Des and Blaine for once again creating a wonderful space at the Pink House. I'm breaking my fast tonight, but will be thinking of my dear friend as she continues her peace work in front of the White House until our Gaza delegation comes home from theirs.