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Another Pink Wednesday at the MRS

May 28, 2008
Berkeley, CA
We had another fiercely rousing day at the MRS. About 30-40 people participated throughout the day.

We began around 8 AM, hanging banners, putting out the tragic “Real Faces of War" photos, setting up the ironing board with counter-recruitment information, sign-up sheet, and Military Zoning Initiative petitions for signature.

Several new people came by including a womon who works in the neighborhood and a man visiting San Francisco from Seattle who had seen news of the protest that morning on TV and jumped on BART to join in! Air, from the tree-sit, and David from Direct Action to Stop War came by with a couple other guys to stand in solidarity.

A young man in danger of being recruited spoke with us for almost 20 minutes after insisting he wasn’t going to talk. The conversation concluded with him stating he was really a good guy and would only kill someone if they were attempting to kill him. He asked wouldn’t anyone do the same? For instance, what if some pro-war people came down the street and attempted to kill us, wouldn’t we defend ourselves? We said a more accurate scenario is someone (him the soldier) enters our home to take something and we attempt to defend ourselves (we the Iraqis) and he (the soldier) kills us. This seemed to give him pause and a look of troubled understanding crossed his face. We shook hands, everyone expressed appreciation, and the potential recruit left saying he would think about everything we spoke about.

By noon, Becky called our Sacred Circle together and began leading us in song. Soul, Phoebe, Eleanor, and Rhoda also took turns with Becky, leading us through the song sheets –which are now 10 pages thick – several times. Many passersby stopped to listen, gave us the peace symbol and huge smiles, and told us how beautiful we sounded! We sang until after 2:00pm!

During our singing, we circled up to resolve a conflict that arose when one of the activists wanted to unfurl a U.S. flag. Everyone calmly expressed her or his heartfelt opinion – and listened carefully to everyone else. Many offered a compromise: fly the flag upside down (the international signal of distress) or paint a pink peace symbol or attach pink ribbons to the flag. Pop Jim, a vet who wanted to fly the flag, didn’t want to compromise but agreed to honor the group’s consensus and removed the flag. We all, including Pop, resumed singing.

A free lunch generously provided by a supporter, hula-hooping by Phoebe and dancing led by Janette followed.

We had so much fun dancing for peace, we almost missed a father and son pair who slipped into the MRS to sign up. They came out quickly; the son was not in college, therefore not of interest to this MRS recruiter of officer candidates. We attempted to give the pair information but the father cursed and threw hostile names at us while the son smirked uncomfortably. We told the son we still didn’t want him to go to war and urged him to come dance instead!