On March 19, the eve of the first day of Spring, I demonstrated with hundreds of other Sacramento citizens bearing witness to the 5th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. In spite of a crippled economy, the horrible war of aggression goes on and on with no end in sight. People in every major city of America were having similar demonstrations.The turnout everywhere was not as high as we in the peace movement would have liked, but the spirit of resistance was clearly present. In the last few days, both Democratic candidates for the Presidency have condemned the war as a “mistake,” and have publicly vowed to begin the process of removing American troops. We need to pressure them to remove the troops pronto, and then support an international effort to provide war reparations to restore the devastated country to a condition of civility and independence.
First, at 4:30 PM through 6:30 PM, I went to a street demonstration at one of Sacramento’s busiest intersections at Howe and Fair Oaks Blvd. Hundreds of enthusiastic young and old protesters held up all kinds of anti-war sign and a few signs reading “HONK IF YOU WANT PEACE.” The horns never stopped honking during the time I was there. It is clear from the response that many Americans do not like this war, even if they wouldn’t get out of their cars and join us.
At 7 PM I attended a Candlelight Vigil at the beautiful Sacramento Unitarian facility off of Sierra Blvd. Three hundred (300) peaceniks gathered there to sing songs, speak out against the war, and light candles in the name of peace. A giant peace sign made up of glowing candles was placed on the lawn of the Unitarian church grounds.
The guitar strumming Unitarian pastor with a piano player accompanying him sang peace songs such as the always popular “we shall overcome,” and John Lennon’s IMAGINE. The singing pastor also made a peace speech offering many insightful comments about how the war expenditures could be used better to solve problems at home.
Two mothers, the wife of a soldier with two children and the mother of a soldier, gave emotional testimony regarding their suffering and worries, bringing tears to these old eyes. An Iraqi women also spoke about how the war affected her. There was a sharing of compassion between the audience and the speakers that restored my hope.
I myself made an anti-war statement about how destructive American policy has been to Iraq during the last 17 years, noting how the two massive military attacks and the bombings of the urban infrastructure of Bagdad, was itself a form of “terrorism” that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and left the society in chaos and ruin. I also raised the forbidden issue of Iraq’s oils reserves and how an imperial US policy of control and domination is the root cause of the war and why it has to change.
I was exhausted at the end of the day, but was happy to be out there protesting with other conscientious Americans who have not stopped questioning the official story about this illegal war of aggression against a society that had nothing to do with 9/11. I still await new Nuremberg Trials for accused war criminals Bush and Cheney, who continue to this day lying about the dishonorable war.