[pjw] REPORT BACK: Crossing paths: Friday rally #117 since stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Jun 18 15:05:56 EDT 2022

Peace loving people:

Last week I reported on the Friday Rally for Peace and Justice and the 
next day's protest at the Rose Festival. This week, I ended up at a second 
event back-to-back with ours because we crossed paths with the Justice for 
Patrick Kimmons march as they headed north on SW 4th Ave while we were 
heading south. After we finished our march I headed back and found them at 
SW 3rd and Harvey Milk St at the lot where Patrick was killed. More on 
this below.

The Friday rally was relatively small with just four people masked up and 
distanced. We had competition at first with a musical event-- the sound 
check was going on for a concert by Neko Case and Indigo Girls:

I thought they stopped playing because a huge torrent of rain passed over 
and stagehands were desperately spreading plastic over the equipment, but I 
gather the event wasn't really scheduled to start until 6. Just in "case" 
I made the announcements while the band wasn't playing, since their music 
could be heard from three blocks away while our "bullhorn" (the orange 
traffic cone on a stick) barely goes 10 feet.

Early on one woman offered me her umbrella, which was nice but 
impractical. Another came by seeing a "No War on Russia" sign and asked 
"you're not pro-Ukraine?" It turned out she agreed with not waving the 
Ukrainian flag around. But then launched into a conspiracy theory about 
the globalists at the World Economic Forum taking away everyone's 
property, not really responding to our analysis of US foreign policy.

Considering how much foot traffic was around because of the concert (and 
despite the rain, which was stop-and-start), we didn't get a lot of 
reaction to our protest until we crossed paths with the JFPK folks, and 
even then only a few of them saw us as they were focused on marching in 
the street.

That's a really long introduction to what we talked about this week. After 
I announced the Col. Ann Wright livestream event-- coming up this Monday 
June 20!!!-- here's some of what we talked about:

--We've been talking for months about the impunity Israel enjoys despite 
repeatedly bombing Syria, it turns out one reason is that the "vast 
majority" of those bombings are approved by the US.


--The great "democracy" America is protecting in Ukraine outlawed 
opposition parties a few months ago. Now they are acting to seize the 
assets of those parties.


--President Biden is about to visit Saudi Arabia despite its horrible 
record on human rights including the murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi. 
He's saying this is NOT about urging them to produce more oil to reduce 
gas prices, but rather it is about helping Israel and opposing Iran.


---Speaking of Saudi Arabia, a watchdog found that America did not track 
to see whether weapons they provided the kingdom were used to attack 
civilians in Yemen.


--While most of our national/international news stories tend to be about 
institutions, not individuals, some cases can be illustrative of larger 
policies. Yesterday it was announced that a British court OK'd Julian 
Assange extradition. This is despite the fact that the espionage charge he 
faces could result in the death penalty (and the UK isn't supposed to 
extradite if that's the case). It just goes to show the lengths to which 
people are punished for revealing war crimes. His appeal could take years.


--An analyst looking at the $21 billion the US spent on Afghanistan's police 
force says that the money barely produced people capable of being security 
guards at a mall. (When I said this, I apologized to the security guard at 
the entrance to the Square.)


--In Iraq, America's great efforts to produce a democracy by destroying 
the country in 2003 has led to the resignation of 74 members of 
parliament. Moqtada Al Sadr and all of his party resigned, meaning the 
country will likely be run by strong pro-Iranian factions.


--While the good news is that Guantanamo Bay Prison will soon be down to 
36 people, the bad news is that's because an ailing Iraqi prisoner pleaded 
guilty to three of four charges against him in order to secure the right 
to transfer to a third country and get medical treatment there.


In local news, a woman who was trying to tell police to leave her 
neighborhood when a Black Lives Matter protest came through in 2020 got 
pushed to the ground and shot with "less lethal" weapons. On Wednesday the 
City Council will vote to settle her lawsuit for $30,000.


Her name is Erica Christainsen, back story here:

Along the march route I relayed information that an Israeli court declared 
land used for military training by the IDF is more important for those 
purposes than for the Palestinians who live there.


And in one of the only semi-positive stories this week, Congress passed a 
bill to support military people exposed to chemicals, the "Promise to 
Address Comprehensive Toxins act." But here are some better ideas-- why 
not stop sending people to war in the first place? And, why not also pay 
the people in the countries where the soldiers were exposed for THEIR 
medical needs? While this is money for human needs, it also supports war.


This week I tried something new with the Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign 
once it made it up the block past the Gucci store-- I ran past the mystery 
metal box AND the mystery yellow box, and the sign stayed illuminated! But 
then it went out when we got to the corner of 5th Ave. More about the sign 

As noted above, I left from the end of the march and caught up with the 
JFPK folks. This is the group who were shot at by a white supremacist in 
February, where one of their folks was killed and several others were 
wounded. I've known Letha Winston, the mother of Patrick Kimmons, since 
shortly after he was killed in September 2018 and I wanted to show my 
support. I was pretty wary of some of their security team who were open 
carrying firearms... In any case, Ms. Winston was giving a fiery speech 
about the police killing of her son, whose 31st birthday it would have 
been yesterday.

An unarmed security person came over to check out the wagon of peace and 
gave me a fist bump. One of the protestors walked around offering pizza to 
the crowd-- it turns out this is a person I've only ever "met" over the 
phone or on Zoom and got to meet them face to face for the first time!

As Ms. Winston's talk wound down she thanked everyone for being out in the 
rain, offered up a minute of silence, and they began marching back toward 
City Hall. I peeled off several blocks early to get back to my car and 
prepare for a rehearsal for the Ann Wright event. I hadn't been able to be 
at the JFPK events in the past so I was glad I got a chance to go.

By the way the "rehearsal" which was by me and host Jenka Soderberg went 
well. Hope you can tune in Monday at 7 for the event!


One thing Letha Winston emphasized in her talk was for people to stay 
distanced because "COVID is still out there." I mean, Anthony Freaking 
Fauchi got it this week!!! So if you want to join us some Friday be sure 
to do so only if you feel comfortable, but more people are always welcome.

--dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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