Thursday, February 27, 2003

Atrios has a post up about an articlea woman wrote about her treatment by pro-war forces when she tried to hold up an anti-war sign during a recent visit to Atlanta.
I never chanted, raised my voice, confronted anyone or was disrespectful to those around me. I simply held my sign and stood my ground. The abuse came first from a small group of homemakers standing near me, their small children dressed in red, white and blue. "Go home! You don't belong here," they said. All around me folks began to speak up, and it wasn't long before a large group of people crossed the street with banners and flags and began aggressively yelling "Go USA!" Bob, a young man with a ball cap and a sign reading "Drop Bush, Not Bombs" came and stood with me for support. The really frightening stuff began when a television cameraman stopped and asked me why I was there. As soon as the crowd saw the camera pointed at me, they went wild. I was trying to express myself and they screamed at me and over my voice. A man stood behind me making obscene gestures as I spoke. The reporter tried three times, unsuccessfully, to get a picture without obscenity. One woman spat in my hair. The journalist gave up and moved on. The mob did not. Men and women violently screamed in my face and Bob's. It stopped just long enough for the president's motorcade to pass by and then erupted again. We were told to " Get the f--- out of the country," had obscene gestures pushed in our faces. An elderly man told me to "Go to hell!"
I would like to contrast this with what I observed during the Jan 19th march in Portland. Over 20,000 anti-war demonstrators marched through the streets of Portland. Along the way, the crowd passed an old man in an army uniform standing on a corner holding a sign saying simply, "support our troops". He never said a word to anyone and, for all the times I went back to check on him, I never saw anyone give him the least bit of grief. This is not to say that no one in the anti-war crowd ever harasses pro-war demonstrators. I just offer this little anecdote as a contrast to the story above. Take from it what you will.


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