[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
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
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).
Peace and Justice Works
Iraq Affinity Group
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
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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