[pjw] REPORT BACK: 20 years strong: Friday rally #85 since stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Nov 6 14:06:25 EDT 2021

People who promote peace:

At the 1045th consecutive Friday Rally for Peace and Justice last night, 
we celebrated 20 whole years since the Portland Peaceful Response 
Coalition began the weekly event shortly after the invasion of 
Afghanistan. There were 8 people there-- all of us among the current 
"regulars," but still a strong showing under COVID with an unflagging 
commitment to educate the public and make connections among international, 
national and local issues.

We had a lot of support at this rally and march-- it felt like more than 
usual, with honking horns, people thanking us, and two people in close 
proximity along the march route saying things like "we're going to have 
peace here, right? All right!"

After talking about the history of the rally, here are some of the news 
items we talked about this week:

--President Biden has approved a $650 billion air-to-air missile sale to 
Saudi Arabia, claiming that because those are "defensive weapons" it fits 
his policy of not supporting the Saudi war on Yemen. Uh huh.


--After the US called China a nuclear threat to the world, China responded 
by... appropriately calling the US a nuclear threat to the world.


--Having investigated the drone strike in Kabul that killed innocent 
people including seven children, the Pentagon announced they were acting 
in a tough environment after the attack on the airport and so there was no 
wrongdoing and no discipline will occur. As an aside, this is a lot like 
how Police Internal Affairs investigations work too.


--While China leads in many headlines these days, the US also continues to 
provoke Russia, recently sending warships into the Black Sea.


--Can you believe it... 31 years after the invasion, Iraq is still 
required to pay reparations to Kuwait. The have paid $50 billion already 
to their oil-rich neighbor and still have about $3.8 billion to go.


--The trial of the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery is underway. As if to 
underscore the horrific racism of the people who assumed he was a criminal 
and took his life, the jury for those men is nearly all white.


In local news, the City Council will be holding a public hearing on 
Wednesday at 2 PM to talk about the "fall budget bump," for which Mayor 
Wheeler and Portland Police Association mouthpiece Commissioner Mingus 
Mapps are proposing to add $7 million to the police budget. To be fair, $3 
million is meant to appease the US Department of Justice by hiring a 
civilian to lead the training division and spend about $2 million on body 
cameras. But as I pointed out, without an accountability-focused policy, 
Portland should not get those cameras.


If you want to testify, the sign-up info and details on the budget can be 
found here:


Along the march route, I relayed the horrifying news that Israel 
demolished a mosque in the West Bank. This comes along with their new 
building spree, all of which violate international law... and the US isn't 
doing anything to stop it.


As we headed back to the Square (without one person who needed to take off 
early), in the "money for human needs not war" news of the week, the Navy 
wants to increase its budget by 5%. How about we put that money into 
housing, health care, education and jobs instead?


This week, the Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign froze up once again with 
the phrase "US Out" on it, right by the Gucci store on 4th ave, bit it 
then stayed on all the way until we got to SW 5th and Yamhill, so a mere 
one block before we ended the march. The weather was remarkably nice last 
night-- no rain, warm enough that I wore a sweater but no coat. Maybe we 
can find a student who can correlate all the reports-back about the sign 
with the weather for each Friday and see if there's a connection.

Anyway, for the time being the rallies are continuing as there's still a 
lot of militarism and police misconduct to counteract. If you are willing 
and able to mask up and stay distanced with us sometime, we're out there 
every Friday. As a quick note, next week we'll start the rally talk and 
march a little early so I can zip across town to the Keaton Otis monthly 
memorial in the Lloyd Center area. That event has been going on for 11 and 
a half years at this point since the police shot the young Black man in 
May 2010.

--dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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