[thechat] FW: Protesters

Erika Meyer emeyer at lclark.edu
Wed Oct 10 15:36:27 CDT 2001

>I'm not advocating it. However, some people (myself included) are a wee
>befuddled by the extremes taken by some of the more Dove-ish population;
>this gets to the heart of that frustration....

It's so weird to me that people don't understand the goals and 
methods of non-violent activism.  This is not a sound-bite so bear 
with me.

I guess advocating peace comes natural to me because of my strong 
association with the anti-nuclear groups of the 80's which took their 
approach from the Vietnam peace movement.

I was born in 1968 in the weeks between the MLK assassination and the 
My Lai massacre.

I read a lot as a child.  I read "Nagasaki" in High School. I read 
Albert Speer's autobiography.  I read the Diary of Anne Frank twice. 
I read "Catch 22."  I read Vonnegut "Cat's Cradle" and 
"Slaughterhouse 5."  I read "1984" twice.  I read the I Ching & Dao 
Te Ching.  I read Abbie Hoffman's 60's stuff (early phone phreaking 
info there) and his 80's autobiography.  I read Thoreau's "On Civil 
Disobedience" and gave a high school speech on it.  I read my 
parents' old (1966-68) copies of "The Berkeley Barb," "The Village 
Voice," "The LA Free Press."   I read a bound archive of many NY 
Times articles.

This is how I began to learn about war.

As a young teenager, I  spent far too much time listening to 
shortwave radio.  VOA, Deutsche Welle, BBC, Radio Moscow, and others. 
I was trying to learn language, but I learned more about world 
politics and the nature of propaganda.

Along with everyone else, I watched "Ghandi."   I watched "Gallipoli."   etc.

I attended events and listened to longtime pacifists, Quakers, union 
organizers and others, speak about the reasons for and strategies of 

In 1982 I saw a May Day parade in Vienna with Central American 
activists protesting US-backed death squads in their homeland.  They 
had to cover their faces because our government backed fascist 

At 16 and 17 years old, went back to Europe & lived for a year in a 
US-occupied section of West Germany. I  learned to speak German. 
Later that year I visited the Soviet Union, walked the streets of 
Berlin, East Berlin, and Leningrad, and interacted everyday people in 
those places.

I visited the mass graves of the WWII siege of Leningrad.  And the Hermitage.

I listened to a lot of World War I songs, World War II songs, 60's 
protest songs, etc.

My daughter belongs to an Indigenous tribe that was reduced by 2/3 to 
3/4 in a period of 50-60 years.  Much of the death was 
disease-related, but there were plenty of mass-murders, rapes (used 
as a weapon including against children), kidnappings (teenage women 
and children), and slavery (again, usually children).  It was 
terrorism, committed by white settlers against the Indigenous people. 
At first the US employed soldiers to do the work, later it was done 
by settlers while the USA looked the other way.  And this was one of 
the luckiest California tribes as they retained a small portion of 
their aboriginal land base.

My whole world has been shaped by war, and I see nothing positive in it.

War is not peace.

I support democracy, free speech, human rights.

But based on all I've read, seen, and experienced,
I find war to be a crime against humanity.

These past few weeks have taught me a great deal about myself.
& I appreciate the discussions here that have helped me solidify my 



>Then again, some people (myself included) are a wee befuddled by the
>Official American Response So Far...
>Oh, well. The extremes just make better sound bites, I guess...


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