Happy, happy birthday to my sister Elizabeth and her daughter Mollie (and our grandmother, Molly, who would have been 122 today.) I miss you so much already!!!!
After I dropped everyone off at the airport yesterday, I headed over to the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown LA to protest Tony Blair's support of the war in Iraq (Blair was presiding over a lunch inside). I was glad to have a positive way to channel my heartbreak after saying goodbye to my lovely people.
It was a funny little protest. The hotel takes up an entire city block, and we were told that the sidewalk surrounding the hotel was private property, and we were not allowed to stand there. This led to a lot of protestors wandering around, not quite sure where to set up camp. I was dressed head to toe in hot pink, and looked around for other CODEPINK people to stand with. Eventually I found another pink woman who looked as lost as I felt, and we tromped around together, looking for more pinkness. Eventually, a cluster of people converged on the street behind the hotel, directly across from all the parked motorcade motorcycles. Only a small pink contingent turned up, but it was delightful to be with them--CODEPINK people know how to make protests fun. This particular protest was overall a bit more strident than fun--there were a lot of people yelling over a microphone, a lot of angry faces (which is understandable--the present world sitatuion does call for a healthy sense of outrage). I tend to prefer vigils like the Women in Black event we're planning for tonight, where participants try to embody peace rather than countering war with more aggression, or CODEPINK events where creativity and life-force and play offer an antidote for all the destruction in the world. But I was glad to be at this protest, too.
One of the coolest things about the event was the presence of Danza Azeteca Cuauhtemoc, an Aztec dance group, which consisted of at least three generations of dancers, from the very young to the beautiful white haired leaders. They drummed and danced and chanted in their elaborate costumes, and held signs calling for peace. Very inspiring. There were some comic--if disturbing--moments as well, when a couple of Bible thumpers came by to tell us the errors of our ways, and preach about how we need to wipe Islam off the face of the earth. When one of my CODEPINK friends asked the vitriol spouting man who Jesus would bomb, he looked at her and yelled "The Muslims!" without any trace of irony. Jesus would be so proud. Sheesh.
Another funny overheard moment--some people were walking by, and one of the protestors asked them if they liked Bush. A woman turned to him, said "I HAVE a bush and I like it!" and kept walking.
(Speaking of funny overheard moments, my friend Jordan is starting a weekly "Overheard around the World" feature on her blog. Be sure to send her your best eavesdropping treasures!)
At the protest, I was interviewed briefly by Harrison of Harrison On the Edge (a progressive radio talk show). Even though I felt a bit giddy and inarticulate, I was able to wax rhapsodic about CODEPINK for a while, which I was glad to be able to do.
The protest fizzled out before Blair left the building, so I didn't get to see the motorcade drive by. I'm not sure how effective our presence there was, but it is always a treat to be with other like-minded people, to know that we are not alone in our desire to bring some peace into this crazy world of ours.