[pjw] REPORT BACK: Honor Memorial Day with No War: Friday rally #62 under (now modified) stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat May 29 17:24:10 EDT 2021

Hello again peace loving friends

Yesterday at the Friday rally we were back up to a total of five people, 
masked up and distanced. We're trying to maintain an atmosphere (pun 
intended) of safety even as Multnomah County has now entered the "low 
risk" category for COVID. There were many more cars and pedestrians 
downtown as people are seeing the new CDC and Oregon Health Authority 
guidelines as a sign that the pandemic is "over," though there are still 
many challenges ahead (variants, breakthrough cases, most of the rest of 
the world not having vaccines). The larger number of people led to a lot 
more thumbs ups, honking horns and other signs of appreciation, which was 
gratifying. We had one detractor who came by at the beginning, referring 
to one name on the scrolling sign and showing ignorance: He singled out 
Patrick Kimmons as someone who had fired a gun (which is allegedly true) 
but then said he was shot by PSU police (which was another Black man named 
Jason Washington). He walked away before I could correct him. Along the 
route I think we had another heckler but again the encounter was brief.

I started the rally by recalling that when PJW first started, we held an 
event first annually, then once every two years, called the Peace and 
Justice Fair. We held it in Irving Park, and featured dozens of groups at 
tables, speakers, music, kids' activities and free food as a way to model 
a world we'd like to see. The tag line for the event was to honor those 
who died in war on Memorial Day by working toward a world without war.
(BTW we stopped doing these once 9/11 hit as we've been in perpetual war 
since then.)

As for news items, here are some of the things we talked about:

--Continuing its ramp-up of a new cold/hot war with China, the White House 
has explicitly said we're no longer engaging but now competing:


--The US has also OK'd the possession of long range missiles by South 
Korea as part of its military plan to surround China:


--In Syria, there's sort of good news as the Biden administration is 
ending the permits for US Oil companies to keep doing business (despite 
not having Syria's blessing to do so):


--In what could also be a good sign, rather than have the US drop bombs on 
his head, the Iraqi government arrested a militia leader in connection to 
the March 3 attack on a US base in Iraq:


--The Afghan withdrawal hit 25% (maybe) and could be complete by July. 
However, since there were supposed to only be 2500 troops there but there 
were really 3500, a 25% reduction still leaves __more troops now than 
before withdrawal began___ (3500-875=2625, my calculations not the NY 


--About Iran, the Israeli government has pledged to do "anything " to 
stop Iran if the US re-enters the "nuclear deal":


--In local news, last Saturday a Portland Police officer with a history of 
racial profiling shot the driver of a stolen car while out looking for a 
_different_ stolen car. The man who was shot and injured is Darren Carr, 
who's identified in the Sheriff's booking information as white, so, 
profiling wasn't the issue, the use of violence was. (Incidentally this 
Tribune article and the PPB's news release spell his first name "Darrin" 
but the MCSO has it as "Darren").


When we got to the part of the march where we usually talk 
Israel/Palestine, I reported on a poll I read about in which the majority 
(51%) of Americans said they don't agree with unrestricted funding 
for Israel. A larger majority agreed that Israelis and Palestinians should 
have equal rights (over 70%) including a majority of Republicans.


So it seems the aggression by Israel which was met by the far less capable 
retaliation from Gaza has, perhaps, in conjunction with the Black Lives 
Matter movement, changed perception of the conflict.

In the last stretch to illustrate how our money is being used for war 
instead of human needs, I talked about this article (from late April) that 
shows the US spends more money on the military than the next 11 countries 
combined-- even with the global economy devastated by COVID>


The Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign froze up outside the Gucci Store at
Pioneer Place Mall (with just the words "US Out" still lit up), then went 
off when we got to the corner of 4th and Yamhill. It actually came back on 
when I returned to the parking garage to head back to the office. So it's 
more getting put to sleep than knocked out.

There are many factors to determine what will happen to the Friday rallies 
as COVID restrictions dissipate and more people are able to come downtown, 
which is strangely coinciding with the potential end of the war in 
Afghanistan (well, ground troops anyway). We welcome anyone who feels ok 
with being outside for these events to join us any Friday at 5 PM at SW 
Yamhill and Broadway.

dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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