Sunday, October 28, 2007

Someone was wearing a Jacoby Ellsbury jersey at the anti-war rally on Boston Common yesterday. I didn't know they were selling those yet.

The signs ranged from the usual ("support the troops; bring them home") to the forward-looking ("no war on Iran") to appeals from fringe candidates ("Mike Gravel will free Leonard Peltier; why won't Dennis Kucinich?" Ummm... because neither one will get elected?) to the just plain weird. There was art, some of it striking: three identical triplets dressed up as a 9/11 office worker, an American soldier, and an Iraqi civilian, with red fabric held over their hearts and cascading down, the size proportional to casualty counts written on their foreheads, twelve dead per square inch. The Americans' were ribbons --- the soldier's slightly longer than the office worker's. From the Iraqi, yards of blood-red fabric cascaded over the grass. I'm not sure where they got their estimate of Iraqi civilian casualties, (370,000), but it's below the low end of the most recent Lancet estimate, which is more than a year old now.

After the rally, there was a march. At the far end of it, at Copley Square, it ran into a different rally, coincidentally scheduled, on the Israeli/Palestinian issue. That rally got underway just as the march reached the square, right down to the minute. The folks at Copley got the marchers to join in their chants --- where they were stationed, which was (again by coincidence) the only point along the route where I saw any local media TV presence at all. And so it was, in an environment where even Jewish critics of the Israeli government are routinely slagged as anti-semites, that the reporters got shots of a march in opposition to the Iraq war chanting stridently anti-Israel slogans --- with "Christian Zionists" at an oddly placed counter-demonstration displaying questionable pro-Israel quotes from Martin Luther King on signs as a backdrop. Strange how that happens.

There were too few people. When I left Park Street station to find the rally, I couldn't see it --- it was within my line of sight, but the crowd was just too small to be visible from the edge of a park which really isn't all that big to begin with. Far, far, far too few people.

(More: Picture of the performance trio as part of this article, which also notes that the crowd was about 10,000 --- swelled by passers-by, but still too small; it ought to rate as much as a baseball game.)

(A minor digression on MLK... he probably did say something along the lines of what was on the placards, but it's being taken way out of context. King can't have expressed much of an opinion on the Israeli government policies toward an occupation that was barely underway at the time he was killed --- but anyone who thinks he would unreservedly support the current Israeli government's wall-building and travel restrictions on the West Bank has a far different view of the man and his career than I do...)


Blogger charles said...

Further weird stuff about the Copley Square rally: My plan was actually to attend the rally and skip the march, so I was actually headed to the Copley main branch of the Boston Public Library --- which is how I wound up getting there ahead of the march, where I watched the whole thing unfold from the Library steps. When I got there, they were still setting up; the guy behind the mike on stage was rushing the crowd into position, warning them "we're behind schedule!" I've rarely seen a rally whose organizers were quite so concerned about timing --- but then again, I've rarely seen one where just about everyone carrying a sign had copies of the exact same one. All... peculiar.

2:22 PM  

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