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March 22, 2004
"Peace" MarchesBy Greyhawk
How was your weekend?
I worked swing shifts, and had to avoid one of the gates to Ramstein because of this:
HEIDELBERG, Germany — Demonstrators in cities across the globe plan to hold protests Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Five thousand expected? Well, it is America's largest military installation in Europe. But after-the-fact, this report from the World Socialists indicates turnout was a bit less than anticipated:
In Germany, thousands demonstrated in about 70 cities and towns, with 3,000 attending a rally in Berlin and thousands more gathering outside a US airbase in Ramstein.
When the numbers are vague ("thousands") you know it was a bad day for the bad guys. To be fair, the weather here was miserable, and most of the anti-war crowd aren't as young or spry as they used to be. (Has it really been 35 years since Woodstock?)
USAF Security Forces put the count at 800. German police were less impressed, estimating 700. The population of Kaiserslautern is just over 100,000. The population of the world is just over 6.4 billion.
Speaking of population, according to China's Xinhuanet
Thousands of German protestors held rallies outside American military bases in the country on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the US-led war against Iraq.
I wonder if this sign would be a big hit in New York?
This shot is from San Francisco, via LGF. You'll find a link there to lots of photos from the premier demonstration town on the left coast.
About which the Chronicle had this to say:
The 87 people arrested at Saturday's war protest were released from county jail by the end of the day after signing a petition promising to return to court, police and sheriff officials said.
Which may lead to the conclusion that carrying stupid signs is a protected form of free speech, but yea verily thou had best not jaywalk while doing so. ;) If so, kudos to the SF Police. Maybe a few fines will be levied. Last year,
Those protests cost the city more than $3.5 million in expenses and lost revenues, with most of the costs going to police overtime. Suhr said it was too early to estimate the costs of Saturday's demonstration.
Not quite the smashing success of Al Qaeda's recent "demonstrations" in Spain, but hey, there's more than one way to skin a cat, as they say. Bankrupting a city and interfering with its commercial activities can have big impacts, you know.
A bit southward along the coast we arrive at the home of Citizen Smash, whose email prompted this entire entry.
On Saturday, I spent the afternoon observing an anti-war demonstration in San Diego’s Balboa Park. As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I’ve never been to such a demonstration before, and only decided to attend this one out of a sense of perverse curiosity.
Yes, you'll want to read the whole thing. Smash has a three-part entry on his personal coverage of the protests, starting here.
Think about it, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, relating his visit to the protest of the outcome of that war. And Smash demonstrates something those people never will: restraint. I'm not sure I could be as tactful about the whole thing as he is, but when it comes down to it, I guess free speech is what we fight for.
Some folks just use that gift more wisely than others.
In closing, this counterpoint:
Update: Blackfive was surprised to find himself witnessing the demonstrations in Chicago, and he demonstrates why "discretion is the better part of valor." Both Smash and Blackfive have links to more first hand reports.
Udate: Continued here.
Posted by Greyhawk / March 22, 2004 4:32 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
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