A Day of Action and Questions

What are they thinking? What makes their perceptions so different from mine? That’s what I wondered as I saw a few counter protesters at Times Square on Thursday evening. They held high a banner that read, “Support the Troops” and they were saying, “Finish the mission.”

Certainly, they were outnumbered by a couple of hundred people who were rallying in reaction to George Bush’s neoconservative surge of lies on Wednesday night.

I moved closer to the Bushites and began to talk. “Support the troops. Bring them home. The mission is a catastrophe. Send no more of our young to die for oil. They’ve suffered enough and so have the Iraqis.”

Sunsara Taylor, a Jedi Master who outtalked Bill O’Reilly last week when she appeared on his show, was hoisted to the shoulders of a fellow peacemaker. She shouted, “There’s no way to make good on a war that was illegitimate and illegal to begin with.” The crowd cheered her on and she continued, blasting George Bush for the invasion and occupation of Iraq and his call for more troop deployment to the country.

Earlier in the day, I had attended a vigil at Foley Square to call for the closing of the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay and an end to state-sanctioned torture. Thursday marked the five-year anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees at Gitmo. I donned an orange jumpsuit and sat in a cage with a fellow protester as religious leaders from all faiths spoke of the torture being committed in our names.

On my way home from the first action, I saw a group of people gathered around someone who sat on the sidewalk. As I approached, I could see so much blood. A moaning woman was holding the side of her head as blood dripped from her hand.  I thought about our servicemen and women and the blood they see each day. I thought of the Iraqis and the blood of their loved ones. The image of the woman is still in my head. The image of war will be in the minds of our troops and the Iraqis forever.

Later, as I lay in bed, I thought about the people who still support this war. What can they possibly be thinking?



Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com