Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June 12, 1982

I am sitting here watching a PBS documentary about the peace rally in NYC twenty-five years ago today. A few thoughts have crossed my mind:

  • I feel like I’m watching something on the History Channel about some long-forgotten time. The styles and the style of the documentary, the music, the way people talk about politics—it looks and sounds like ancient history. . . which is terrifying—because I was at that march!

And

  • I feel like I’m watching the evening news. This all looks very familiar. The handmade signs, the bread and puppet theater puppets. The struggle against militarism, the yearning for peace—it all seems like it could be happening today. . . which is also terrifying—twenty-five years and we still have to march for peace. How far we have not come.

And

  • I see dead people. Orson Welles, Leonard Bernstein, Coretta Scott King Dr. Benjamin Spock, many more. . . wow, talk about long time passing.

And

  • I see a lot of people. One million people to be more or less exact. And this was organized without the benefits of the internet, or txt, or mobile phones, or any of the tools we take for granted today. And it was done during peacetime. One million out to march for peace, and there wasn’t even a war (unless you count the cold one—nukes were a focus of this march, after all).

And, so, I wonder about today—a horrible war under way, another possibly on the way, and I wonder, with all of the tools now at our disposal, could we produce one million people to march by the UN? Or on the Capitol?

I know we just had a very large march a few months ago, but, at the risk of sounding like an old fogy, I’ve seen a million, I’ve been part of a million, I’ve seen the kind of attention a million can get, and this year’s march was no million.

That said, the US didn’t dismantle all of its nuclear weapons then any more than it has pulled out of Iraq now.

So, I wonder, on the one hand, where’s the outrage? The things we read and see that are going on right now are so unbelievably outrageous—why don’t a million people show up on the Great Lawn every week?

But, on the other hand, I wonder if what doesn’t make me cringe most in this documentary is the wide-eyed optimism—it seems so naïve to think a march is going to convince the world to turn away from nuclear weapons. . . or convince a greedy bunch of crooks with a mess of a messiah for a leader to favor diplomacy over destruction.

Is it "Where’s the outrage?" or "Where have all the flowers gone?" When will they ever learn? Or when will we?

(cross-posted from Daily Kos)

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5 Comments:

Anonymous M FIsh said...

I was there. I am the lost Mom who walked from Canada
Thanks for letting me know someone is remembering it
M Fish

4:34 PM  
Anonymous M FIsh said...

And actually it is just before the Nuclear Arms race ended and just before the Berlin Wall fell and many other peaceful things happened so we believe we did change the world
M Fish

We changed our world

4:36 PM  
Anonymous M Fish said...

And actually memory serves many cosmic things happened over and over to many people so who knows and according to Jack Andersons column the next day there were 7 million extra people in NY no acts of violence and after the event there was not one peice of paper on the great lawn and you should be asking why the media is unwilling to celebrate thiose kinds of events and anniversaries and why they are all war and all violence all the time.
M Fish

4:40 PM  
Anonymous M Fish said...

We were walking to support the UN in the UN second Special Session on Dosarmement. The walk was initiated by the Ne Pon San Myo Ho Ji Monks and walkers came across the US from 5 direction.
Mary Fish

4:42 PM  
Blogger Lipwak said...

I was there too and saw the documentary on TV as well recently. I brought my tape recorder with me and taped the sounds as I walked around. I still have those tapes and I am going to try to match them with what I see on the documentary and might make a CD of it, just for fun.

Very moving to see this. I'm glad we did it and can only hope enough people use their common sense to do their best to avoid the threat nuclear war still poses.

Cheers,

John L

5:23 PM  

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