[pjw] REPORT BACK: US Staying in Afghanistan: Friday rally #66 under (modified) stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Jun 26 14:20:37 EDT 2021

Iraq Affinity Group supporters

For a second week in a row, we had five people at that Friday Rally for 
Peace and Justice, masked up and distanced. But this week one of our 
longtime regulars was absent and a PJW member who'd been away since 
October returned, which could mean an ongoing boost to our size and 
morale. It wasn't too hot considering the heat wave, as the SW corner of 
the Square and most of the march route are in the shade. We once again got 
a lot of supportive gestures, though with increased traffic it's sometimes 
hard to know whether people are honking for other drivers to get out of 
the way or for us. The waving and smiling at us helps. We did get a 
heckler who called us "retarded" which is offensive on so many levels (so 
much so that I debated even mentioning it). Along the route a photographer 
asked for some literature from the little wagon of peace and took a photo. 
I should have asked them to send us a copy.

So, what did we talk about last night? Let's jump in:

--In Afghanistan, surprise surprise, the US is now saying they want 650 
troops to remain to guard the embassy and hundreds to guard the airport 
until the US withdrawal is done. 650 is 26% of the 2500 remaining troops. 
I asked, can you imagine a foreign country stationing 650 troops in the US 
to "guard their embassy" and the American people being ok with that?


--In Iran, a nuclear facility was targeted by a drone which didn't do 
significant damage. However, it's suspected Israel was involved, especially 
since they put that facility on a "hit list" for the US.


---Also, the US seized several Iranian media websites claiming they were 
violating sanctions.


--The US has voted, for the 25th time, against a UN resolution calling for 
it to remove its embargo on Cuba. During the Obama presidency, the US 
abstained. Why would Biden go back to the status quo on this issue?


--The post-9/11 wars, Brown University reports, have caused the deaths of 
7057 US service members, but alarmingly 30,177 military people have taken 
their own lives in that time.


--In Iraq, a British aircraft carrier is now stationed to do most of the 
bombing of "ISIS facilities" while the US concentrates on withdrawing from 
Afghanistan. Imperialists of a feather flock together.


The march got on its way and when we reached the corner to discuss Israel 
and Palestine, I noted that an Idaho Senator (James Risch-R) unilaterally 
is holding up $50 million in aid to Palestinians. Several Jewish members 
of Congress are urging him to release the funds.


In the final blocks before our return to the square, in talking about 
money for human needs, I first contextualized that about one year after 
the murder of George Floyd, Officer Derek Chauvin has now been sentenced 
to 22.5 years.


...and that while Portland pretty much left the Police Bureau budget 
intact, in Oakland they redirected $18 million to social services.


As noted last week, I shouldn't have said anything about the special 
grounding wire we used to keep the Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign 
running during most of the march last time. Even with that in place, the 
sign conked out by the Gucci store on 4th and Morrison again.

In the square and at the end I mentioned our livestream event with David 
Swanson; I also updated the sign to point people to watch the recording 
rather than promoting a date that had passed (June 24). I think you all 
know it but here it is again:


The returning PJW member this week is NOT the same one who may be joining 
us in future weeks, so our numbers may match the pandemic record of seven 
soon (that was on Hiroshima Day last year). Join us if you can and feel ok 
with it any Friday at 5 PM at the corner of SW Yamhill and Broadway; as a 
reminder until public transportation masking rules end we're doing COVID 


dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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