Monday, October 27, 2003

Peace March. 

We had a peace march in New Orleans on Saturday, with about 250 participating, which was a pretty good turn out, all things considered. It was sponsored by CCC, the same lovely bunch that brought us the political forum I posted on earlier. They did a much better job with the peace march.

We were a noisy bunch marching down Canal St., which is the middle of downtown, interrupting the traffic of mostly tourists and infrequent locals who don't know any better to avoid Canal St. on a Saturday afternoon.

I felt we made a splash, and were probably on the evening news, as their camera guy was all over us. My favorite marchers actually rolled. An elderly gentleman pushed his wife in a nouveau wheelchair that easily converted to a comfortable chair at the rally afterwards.

From Canal St. we turned down Lasalle to Charity Hospital where someone gave a brief, police-interrupted speech on the cuts to Charity Hospital. He wasn't allowed to finish the speech as the one police grunt hurried us along, despite the fact that others had approved the stop and speech.

At least one female doctor came out and shook someone's hand, saying "thank you".

Charity Hospital is closing its walk-in clinic, and other services, in across- the- board cuts to social services in Louisiana. I fear we are about to elect Bobby Jindal as governor, who will, in my view, callously institute more cuts to health services to the poor.

From Charity we marched down a very deserted side-street, preaching to buildings, on our way to an equally deserted Duncan Plaza at City Hall. A levee is built up around the plaza, so literally and figuratively I felt our little group isolated from the rest of the world.

The post-march speeches were all good and from the heart, with one exception. The representative of the New Black Panther party, in a thoroughly thoughtless, and ego-driven speech, must have been mistaken that we were all there to hear him, and began ranting about Hindus. I'm not kidding. Truth is, I was uncomfortable whenever someone would chant "damn Bush" during the march,and I would refrain from chanting. There is no need to damn Bush. He has damned himself.

Salon.com today posted an article about the D.C. march this past Saturday, and commented on the convolution of messages, intersecting at cross angles to one another.

ANSWER wants the troops out and the UN out, and they support the violent overthrow of the US occupation. Many progressives, including myself, want the troops out and the UN in, and an end to the violence. Wishful dreaming? There is also a realistic expectation on my part that perhaps the Iraqis, or at least, the more militant factions want the US out and the UN out. I'm sure many ordinary Iraqis want the US, at this point, because of our bungling, out, and the UN in.

It's a merry-go- round of views and a tragic play in Iraq that the US has created in the absurdist tradition. There is a destruction of meaning, in the destruction we have wrought upon that country. What is the value of life that we have so carelessly taken in the pursuit of our goals there? What is the value of the ancient culture of the Iraqi people which we so thoughtlessly and carelessly left open to destruction? So, yes, in this atmospere of the destruction of the meaning of life and culture, it is difficult now to ascertain the correct course of action.

We are left with basically a "no choice", because any choice will likely result in more deaths. We, and the Iraqi people, are between a rock and a hard place.