[pjw] REPORT BACK: Friday rally #28 under stay-at-home orders: Afghanistan

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Oct 3 12:38:48 EDT 2020

PJW supporters

The second of our three fall special events took place last night at the 
Friday Rally for peace and justice. The theme was "Get US Troops Out of 
Afghanistan." There were six of us there, masked up, and most of our signs 
were directly about ending the Afghan war. Some are quite old, 
underscoring just how long this 19 years has been.

We found there was a lot of support for our message via thumbs-ups and 
horn honking. A few people took pictures, though you never know if that 
means they agree with our message or not.

Reminder: The fact sheet for the events can be found here:


During the rally I cited a number of the facts listed on that handout. I 
started with the reminder that the US attacked Afghanistan on October 7, 
2001 because they wanted to get at Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, who had 
taken responsibility for 9/11, even though they were not state actors, and 
that most of those who'd been identified as hijackers of the planes used 
were from Saudi Arabia-- none from Afghanistan.

As I started talking about the fact that there were peace talks going on 
between the Taliban and the US, our sometimes-heckler African American 
Trump supporting man came by and kept interjecting his thoughts. I managed 
to get through my presentation anyway. He was pretty adamant up front when 
I pointed out there are still 8600 US troops in Afghanistan that this was 
a low number compared to what Obama had. When I said the full draw-down is 
expected to leave 4500 Americans there he still wanted to defend Trump.

I talked about the 2451 US soldiers killed in the war-- almost as many as 
the 2973 people who died in the USA on 9/11, and the 43,000 civilians 
killed in Afghanistan out of 157,000 people killed since the war started.


I also noted that the US has conducted over 1000 bombings from airplanes 
and drones just in 2020.


Of course I also mentioned that President Trump had been diagnosed with 
COVID-19, and that as a peace group we can't take pleasure in that news. 
However, it can't go without saying that the President's shunning of mask 
wearing and downplaying of the virus makes his illness poignantly ironic.

I also briefly talked about the federalization of Portland Police 
officers, which the City is claiming was done by fiat through the Oregon 
State Police.


There's a hierarchy at the PPB, and the Police Commissioner (Mayor 
Wheeler) is ultimately responsible for when such actions are taken.

For the first time in a while all six of us headed out on the march, 
leaving our heckler behind. Along the way I recalled that the heckler had 
been shouting toward the end of the rally about Trump being nominated for 
the Nobel Peace Prize. (At the time, I yelled back "Yes, and Henry 
Kissinger got the Nobel Peace Prize but he was a murderer."*) I noted that 
"peaceful" Trump had demolished the Iraqi city of Mosul, dropped the 
"Mother of All Bombs" in Afghanistan, and then others chimed in that he 
also assassinated an Iranian General with a missile strike. I guess in the 
broader context, Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, so, there's that.

Also along the route I announced that five people connected to the 
campaign to get Portland out of the Joint Terrorism Task Force will be 
testifying at City Council Wednesday morning at 9:30 AM.

Rather than sending you all a separate email about that I posted the media 
advisory about the presentation here:


You can watch the testimony live on YouTube here:


I also talked about the trillions of dollars spent on the post-9/11 wars
(over $6 trillion: https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/costs/economic ) 
and how that could have been used for health care, housing, jobs and 
education if we lived in a truly civilized country.

We took another try at recording the Ann Huntwork Memorial Sign in 
action-- I'll post a link if we manage to get something worthwhile. The 
sign conked out seconds after the recording stopped, about half a block 
earlier than usual. Very strange.

With regard to the action last Saturday that led to the PPB officers being 
deputized, I expressed relief that there was very little 
civilian-on-civilian violence between antifascits and proto-fascists, as 
opposed to the bloodbath the media was hoping for, but noted the Portland 
Police attacked media and Black Lives Matter protestors that night.

And finally, another reminder that the last event, "19 Years in 
Afghanistan: End the War!" will take place this coming Tuesday, October 6 
from 4:30 to 6 PM at East Burnside and Martin Luther King Blvd, expanding 
the weekly "Stand for Peace" event there.


We hope you can join us and hold up a sign; if you plan to attend let us 
know. We're likely to disperse onto multiple corners of the 
intersection, which means we could have potentially as many as 100 people 
without violating the Governor's orders, but we'll take any number of 
people letting the world know it's time to end the war(s).


--dan handelman
Peace and Justice Works
     Iraq Affinity Group
     PO Box 42456
     Portland, OR   97242
     (503) 236-3065
     iraq at pjw.info
     Donate on line: http://www.pjw.info/pjwdonate.html

*- Those of you who know satirical songwriter Tom Lehrer may remember that 
he stopped writing his songs after Kissinger got the prize, saying there 
was no such thing as satire any more.

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