Saturday, March 17, 2007

A COLD DAY IN WASHINGTON

Today’s march on the Pentagon didn’t have anywhere near the same inspiring mood as the last peace rally in January. Mid-March is supposed to be warmer in D.C. than late-January, but the opposite was true. It was both colder and windier. What’s more, the crowd was smaller, the celebrities who made the speeches were fewer, and the press coverage was less. Heck, even the pro-war marchers were more abundant.

Still, I’m glad I went. I’m glad even though some in the press have been reporting lately that “the surge seems to be working.” It’s great that the number of American deaths in Iraq has been dropping, but that hasn’t changed my opposition to the war. I opposed it when everything seemed to be going swimmingly (say, in April 2003). I sure as heck am not going to start supporting it now. What would be the point? I didn’t understand four years ago why we started this God-forsaken war and nothing since has enlightened me in that regard.

Reflecting on today’s march, I was bothered more by some of the marchers than by the cold weather. The chants weren’t simply about Iraq. In fact, they weren’t simply about peace. Far from it. Marchers were chanting about Palestine almost as much as Iraq. They were calling for the end of the Israeli “occupation” (a sentiment I could understand) and an end to Israeli “imperialism” (a sentiment that I found laughable, Israel being about the size of New Jersey). But none of that shocked me. What was shocking were the chants in support of the intifada. That’s right, my fellow marchers were toasting the Palestinian liberation movement that has come to be associated not with peaceful protest but with terrorism and other forms of violent resistance.

Now, I’m not insensitive to the legitimate needs of the Palestinian people. I hate the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, I look forward to Israel giving up even more land than they have proposed in the past, and I yearn for the day when the Palestinians will never again have to live under Israeli rule. But … even more than I hate the settlements, I loathe the intifada. I loathe terrorism, I loathe violence, and I REALLY loathe the idea of being on a peace march listening to marchers toast a movement associated with violence.

Message to the groups who put on this shin-dig:

If you want to marginalize the peace movement, be my guest. But you have an opportunity here to make a real difference by leading hundreds of thousands of people to regularly come together in opposition to an awful war brought on by what appears to be a bloated, bully (namely, ourselves). Don’t dilute the message. Don’t allow it to be hijacked by every leftist cause under the sun, especially those that embrace violence.

United we stand … divided, we … well, we get pissed off at each other. I still marched, but I couldn’t help but think of all the others who would have liked to have come but were turned off by the prospects of listening to a bunch of anti-Israeli rhetoric. Israel didn’t get us into the Iraq War. Israel doesn’t control our White House and it doesn’t control our Congress. Nor do the Jewish people. If you don’t get that, perhaps you should leave the peace march to the peaceniks and go find a nice group of Nazis with whom you can blast Israel to your hearts content.

1 comment:

Mili said...

Well said.