March 17, 2003
Give Pizza Chants
Always (sometimes) on the lookout for opportunities to hone my photographic skills, I occasionally search the web for anti-war protests in Chicago. Yesterday afternoon I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there was one happening not two miles from my apartment: a candlelight vigil for peace in Wells Park. I loaded up too much camera gear in my bag, grabbed something like 6 different kinds of film (on the off chance that there would be enough light to shoot anything slower than 3200), and set off.
I'm pretty sure this was my first time at a candlelight vigil, and I didn't know what to expect. It turned out to be a lot less eventful than I expected, and was by no means moving -- I'm not for this war with Iraq, but I'm but don't feel compelled to sing songs against it. If I'm going to discuss the matter with other people I wouldn't choose all the college students and professors from my neighborhood.
Anyway, there was one striking thing about the rally/vigil/excuse to get your handdrums out: two different speakers reminded the audience about an "emergency action" planned for 5PM the day "we start bombing Iraq." Not "them," not "the US," not even "their president," but "we." This was surprising -- I expected the folks there to be distancing themselves from the impending war rather than taking any responsibility for it. But some of them genuinely felt that we as a people have failed to prevent our government from going to war. But almost nobody mentioned the reason we're going to war. Nobody mentioned chemical weapons, the Kurds, the tens of thousands of Iraqis that have died of starvation. The only suggestion of an alternative course of action were two signs that suggested that inspections continue.
Here's a picture: