[pjw] REPORT BACK: : Friday rally #131 since stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Sep 24 13:57:14 EDT 2022

PJW supporters

Not sure if it was the change of seasons (happy fall!) or something else, 
but last night, downtown Portland seemed fairly subdued. While we had six 
people at the Friday Rally for Peace and Justice, it felt as if there were 
fewer responses, though we did hear horns honk occasionally AND one woman 
who stopped by out of curiosity took a flyer and expressed interest in 
attending later. We were masked up and distanced-- despite, as I noted, 
President Biden declaring the pandemic "over," we still have over 450 
people a day dying of COVID, immunocompromised community members and 
health care workers under stress.

In my mention of Syria during the rally (more below), I plugged the 
Afghanistan/Syria event coming up on Oct. 7. If you missed the update 
yesterday, we've declared solidarity with the United National Antiwar 
Coalition's call for a week of action (starting 8 days after our event, 
but Portland has a history of doing its own thing...).


So what were this week's headlines?

--While we continue to express concern that the US focuses only on the 
human rights abuses by Russia and gives Ukraine a free pass, it is 
concerning that over 1000 people were arrested protesting conscription in 
Russia, and some were given paperwork enlisting them upon release.


---In related news, President Biden told the UN that Russia can't take 
Ukraine by force, it's against international law! As this article points 
out, why then is the US in Syria, Israel in Palestine, and Saudi Arabia in 


--More news you probably don't see in mainstream media: The US bombed 
Somalia again this week, killing 27 people. The US' low intensity war has 
been ongoing since 2007.


--Perhaps intentionally stoking the flames of war, which made war-hawks in 
Congress happy, Biden declared that the US will defend Taiwan against 


--As the world spirals into lawless chaos, Congress' military budget last 
year called to end the publication of international arms sales data, which 
had been done continuously since the 1960s. Not any more.


--Slightly good news, though: the President has appointed a diplomat to 
help get most of the remaining 36 prisoners out of Guantanamo. It's 
unclear whether there will be hurdles faced by laws that passed 
restricting shutting the prison camp down.


--The US hasn't really helped Iraq with the fact that it's been without a 
functional parliament for almost a year, but they do so want the Kurds and 
the central government to end their dispute over who takes in oil revenue. 
Keep that oil flowing folks!


--Perhaps you realize that today marks 8 years since the US first began 
its war on Syria. One of the US bases faced a (non-damaging) rocket attack 
this week to mark the occasion, I guess.


In local news, a Portland Police officer who pushed a protestor for no 
reason in 2020 is not facing charges. While he had to run past other riot 
cops who were casually strolling toward the retreating protestor(s), the 
DA said they can't prove this was a crime. What if it were you or I?


Along the march route, I noted that Facebook did an internal investigation 
and realized they violated Palestinian human rights in 2021 when they shut 
down people's accounts for covering the Israeli bombardment. No talk of 
reparations, or of Mark Zuckerberg using the time machine he probably has 
built with all his money to give people their access back for amends.


And as we headed back to the Square, I noted that a non-governmental 
organization listed the world's top military spenders: The US spent $801 
billion last year US and China spent $293 billion, almost 3 times less in 
a country with over 3 times our population. (So the average Chinese person 
is responsible for 1/9th as much militarism as the average American).


Predictably (?), the Ann Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign turned off in front 
of the Gucci store again. It randomly popped back on again after we 
wrapped things up.

It felt a little strange dealing with Yvonne Simmons' memorial tomorrow as 
an announcement during a rally, so I decided not to do so, but remember 
that info on her virtual service is at

We've now been sponsoring the Friday Rally for two and half years, which 
melts my brain. Stay safe and do what you can for peace, if you want to 
join us we're there every week at 5 pm.

--dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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