We had another fiercely rousing day at the MRS today Wednesday May 28th. Probably 30-40 people participated all throughout the day.
We began around 8:00am, hanging the banners, putting out the tragic “Real Faces of War’, setting up the ironing board with all our counter-recruitment information, sign-up sheet, and Military Zoning Initiative.
Several new people came by during the day for the first time including a womon who works in the neighborhood and has been meaning to join us; and a man visiting San Francisco from Seattle who had seen news of the protest that morning on TV and jumped on BART to join in! He took lots of photos and has promised to send them to us.
Ayr, from the tree-sit, and David from DASW (Direct Action to Stop War) came by with a couple other guys to stand in solidarity. David wants to also bring his counter-recruitment puppet show to the MRS! Maybe the Monday after next when we play the Winter Soldier testimonies!
One of the young man in danger of being recruited spoke with us for almost 20 minutes after insisting he wasn’t going to talk. The conversation concluded with him stating he was really a good guy and would only kill someone if they were attempting to kill him. He asked wouldn’t anyone do the same? For instance, what if some pro-war people came down the street and attempted to kill us, wouldn’t we defend ourselves? We wanted to know who, in this example, was supposed to be the soldier, who was the Iraqi? He hesitated and couldn’t reply. We said a more accurate scenario is someone (him the soldier) enters our home to take something and we attempt to defend ourselves (we the Iraqis) and he (the soldier) kills us. This seemed to give him pause and again, a look of troubled understanding crossed his face. We shook hands, everyone expressed appreciation for the shared conversation, and the recruit left saying he would think about everything we spoke about.
By noon, we were lined up and ready to move into our parking space and Lift Our Voices and Sing! Becky called our Sacred Circle together and began leading us in song. Soul, Phoebe, Eleanor, and Rhoda also took turns with Becky, leading us through the song sheets –which are now 10 pages thick – several times. Many passers-by stopped to listen, gave us the peace symbol and huge smiles, and told us how beautiful we sounded! We sang until after 2:00pm!
At one point early during our singing, we circled up to resolve a conflict that arouse when one of the activists wanted to unfurl a U.S. flag. Emotions ran high, as most people felt very strongly, few didn’t care. Everyone went calmly around the circle and expressed her or his heart-felt opinion – and listened carefully to everyone else. Many offered a compromise: the fly the flag upside down (the international signal of distress) or to paint a pink peace symbol or attach pink ribbons to the flag. Pop Jim, a vet who wanted to fly the flag, didn’t want to compromise but agreed to honor the group’s consensus and removed the flag. We all, including Pop, resumed singing.
Devon came by bringing food gifts of sushi and tempura, which we all devoured in seconds!
Then Phoebe drew tons of honks as she energetically and sensuously hulla-hooped for peace to Halli Hammer’s motivating songs, while Cynthia urged people to join us and do something for peace.
By 3:00 we were ready to dance! We were joined by another awesome dancer and teacher, Janette, who first led us through challenging warm up exercises and then taught us all how to Salsa with a partner! We had too much fun dancing for peace, we almost missed a father and son pair who slipped into the MRS to sign up. We waited for them to come out, which they did quickly – the son ended up being not college material therefore not of interest to this MRS recruiter. We attempted to give the pair information but the father merely cursed and threw hostile names at us while the son smirked uncomfortably. We told him we still didn’t want him to go and urged him to come dance instead!
We are hoping Janette will come back next week too and attempt to fill those dancing shoes of Dolores, who will be out for another week at least recovering from a nasty fall. We’re really hoping the two of them will team up and continue to bring joyful, dynamic dancing to the space in front of the MRS!