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Veterans Day Die-In St. Augustine Florida
We had our Veterans Day die-in protest today at 11am (11-11-11). It was a powerful experience with 16 people "dying" 10 minutes at a time... 2 different locations on busy touristy St. George St. In St. Augustine, FL). We had some wonderful support and encouragement but way too much of an angry response. Still, people were yelling.."We got rid of Saddam"," We are fighting for freedom" and a cop overheard calling us "idiots".
However, I know we made an impact, we made people uncomfortable and reminded them that people actually do die in a war. Here are pictures on Webshot and also here is an article written for our Independent paper, The Collective Press.
Marilyn/PPJ/St. Augustine (memeber of www.solidarityandpeace.org)
By Mary Lawrence
Why indeed. I died on Veterans Day 11/11/07 at 11 a.m in St Augustine as one of 3860 US soldiers, 141 journalists and 1,100,000 Iraqis. Lying on the hard ground, seeing nothing and hearing footsteps and muffled conversations, throughout it all, one child's plaintive voice broke through: "Why, Mommy?"
"Because they're tired, honey."...
Twenty people, dressed in black, solemnly and silently marched the entire length of St George Street to the dirge-like beat of a drum. Signs around their necks noted numbers of dead US soldiers, dead Iraqis, dead children and dead journalists. At predetermined places, the twenty laid down dead on the ground for ten minutes while peacekeepers passed out flyers, outlined bodies with chalk and protected them from any potential injury, intentional or otherwise. The police dutifully showed up to tell the group to move on after their second die-in attempt. They were "blocking the flow of foot traffic".
Tired, hell yes. While this small group protested the Iraq "war", others were celebrating sacrifices made there and in other wars. Care was taken to make sure the demonstration was respectful and peaceful but incredibly, there are still those who equate Iraq with the 9/11 attacks, still those who say "You people disgust me" and even worse, still those who will not meet your eyes, take your flyers or rouse themselves from their apathy and despair to take a stand.
Tired, hell yes. While this small group protested the war, draft dodger Dick Cheney was at Arlington Cemetery giving a ten minute speech honoring Iraq veterans while co-draft dodger George Bush was addressing troops at an Army depot in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania. Clearly wars are fought by the little people, bravely and selflessly, while the power elite sit home safely, making speeches and suppressing dissenters. These two criminal draft dodgers have no business and no right to say anything about those who have sacrificed and died in war yet there is no outrage about this?
Tired, hell yes. While twenty people in the streets is a decent turnout in St Augustine, while countless people thanked us for what we were doing, while many others sadly honored their war dead, why aren't there more of us in the streets? Demonstrators today included members from Veterans for Peace, St Augustine People for Peace and Justice, Grandparents for Peace and Citizens in Action. Where is the general population? Are you dead too? Thank yous are great but actions speak louder than words.
We're all tired but the outrage is building. Many anti-war activists are becoming more radicalized. Orlando's protest on 10/27 was a first in unity with nationwide demonstrations that day. Activists from the sixties are showing young activists how it's done and young activists are adding their own creativity. Status quo government is worried and suppression of dissent and First Amendment rights is growing. Something's got to give.
St Augustine's first "Die In" ended at noon, auspiciously with the church bells pealing loud and long on a beautiful sunny day. Could it be the beginning of the revolution? Could it be the beginning of the truthful answer to the question "Why, Mommy?"