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March 20, 2005
Food Fight!By Greyhawk
All over America this weekend hundreds of demonstrators braved the spring weather to protest the second anniversary of the war in Iraq. Their efforts ended in failure, however, as early reports indicate the anniversary occurred on schedule.
Undeterred by reality, crowds estimated from "hundreds" to "more than 1,000" hit the streets of Pittsburgh, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago.
Where have all the flower people gone?
The "big" demonstration this weekend was to be in Fayetteville NC, home of Ft Bragg and the 82nd Airborne. To maximize turnout, various (ahem) 'national groups' were providing interstate transportation to the site. The concept that a large and vocal anti-war element thrives in the shadows of Bragg needs reinforcements from the 'reality-based' community, you see. Hence, free bus rides!
Officers estimated 2,500 protesters attended the rally that went on for much of the afternoon. Chuck Fager, the director of Quaker House who helped organize the rally, put the total at 4,800.
If you want a reasonable estimate of marchers at such rallies, take one-tenth the number the organizers claim and one-half of the police estimate. Actual reality will be somewhere in that range. For this event that means 500-1200, a figure supported by photographic evidence:
Meanwhile, counter-protestors were traveling too, including Vietnam veteran Jim Szakmary
Jim Szakmary said war protesters spat on him when he returned home from Vietnam in 1969.
Three cheers and a tip of the hat to guys like Jim. As one of his fellow counter-protestors noted:
''We learned from Vietnam. No one answered their protests then," said Lynn Huber, a chapter chairwoman for the Old North State chapter of the Free Republic.
But how can you answer the... grotesque giant puppets!!!
Chapel Hill's Paper Hand Puppet Intervention put on a short show before the protest march. Using large puppets on stilts, the performers depicted two tyrants oppressing several people. The puppets, some as tall as 10 feet, were grotesque caricatures of humans. There was no dialogue and the action was punctuated by a single drum. In the end, the people rose up against the tyrants.
No one expects The Giant Puppets!!!
Protesters were treated to a variety of food at Rowan Park. On the anti-war side, vendors sold hot dogs, french fries, chicken curry and several vegetarian dishes.
Perhaps inspired by the giant puppets, at least one chicken curry-munching peace activist was driven over the edge at the sight of the sandwich-eating warmongers:
Police reported one arrest. Rann Bar-On, a speaker at the rally and an Israeli activist who runs the International Solidarity Movement in Durham, was charged with resisting a police officer. Police said Bar-On jumped the fence at Rowan Park and was headed toward counterdemonstrators across the street when they stopped him.
Think the foodrage idea is far fetched?
Some on the Rowan Park stage were colorful, including a troupe of men in drag. And some of the speakers did not have a connection to the war in Iraq at all, including an organization that led a boycott against Taco Bell.
Minions of the evil Burger King, no doubt.
But regardless of your lunch preference, the one thing demonstrated by both sides is that it's great to be in America, where (enraged peace protestors notwithstanding) such small public gatherings can be held without fear of government reprisal.
Though in most of the Middle East, you need crowds like this one before you can really feel safe raising your voice.
Meanwhile, in yesterday's NCAA tournament action, Gonzaga, Wake Forest, Oklahoma, and Boston College all lost in upsets.
Guess there will be some long bus rides home.
Posted by Greyhawk / March 20, 2005 3:13 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.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
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