wondering how long it will take to find
all the mainstream and alternative news links, blogs,
web sites I have recently seen in the
past week in order to document those blatant
differences between my unique experience of Thursday
through Thursday in protest of the RNC
in New York City in comparison to the mainstream
medias', I have quite simply decided to use as
little newsmedia as possible.
am One with the Primary Source.
keeping with that flow of consciousness, I shall
include only website organizations with which I made
contact and have had personal experience. It's
been a full week.
now any who attended or carefully followed the protests
in mainstream and alternative news will know, the
American public has received its usual slant and
short change in news media propaganda. Only
the Primary Source knows that every night a breach
in security at Madison Square Garden made testament to
a President who is not capable of securing his own
convention, let alone keeping safe the rest of the
country. Women from Code
Pink and Act Up illicited true
Republican response to free speech and then
further displayed the abuse they suffered for
it, including the one woman who was kicked, while
she lay on the floor of the convention. I
hope the media has enough pictures of the face of
the young man who took such action, as he
represents Young Republicans in support of their President.
the city Aids activists took their clothes off. Axis
of Eve applied feminine wiles with political comment.
And I can tell you that in Elmhurst, Queens where
I was born the President did not go the the Firehouse
and make his next stop because all of the protesters
along his route would have been visible to the rest
of the country and the world. But Elmhurst knows
the truth , despite the mainstream media's lack of
accurate full reportage.
of my Primary Sources of dissatisfaction
with how American ideals are currently "misrepresented"
by my elected officials includes a too close
for comfort association of government with its
corporate controlled media. For my protest
and March on the Media, I got all dressed up
in widow's weeds, including a long black veil and
a sign that said, "I mourn the loss of the Free Press.
Do Not R.I.P."
case such theatrical gesture might
be misconstrued as superficial clowning, those who may
harbour such thoughts, neither know nor understand
the true extent of my frustration and continuous commitment
to bring accurate and diverse information services
to the American public. I am not a journalist. I
am a librarian and when I tell you that
I am consistently forced to reach outside US
mainstream medias in order to retrieve better news coverage
from foreign news medias, I do so with sincere
sadness, outrage and the deep sense of loss symbolic of
the clothes I wore. Reportedly
2,000 people turned out to walk between CBS and NBC
and stood in outrage in front of Fox.
someone who worked for an alternative news media,
in the last remaining months still free from Bush's
War, I still can not dismiss my sense
of outrage brought about by purposeful and sytematic
attack to the website and all of our mailboxes after one
of YT's writers, an Iraqi scientist who lived
in Iraq up until 1999, repeatedly stated with
all expertise as a nuclear scientist, that there
was absolutely NO capacity for nuclear weapons in Iraq
after 1999. Imad Khudurri continues
to write for Yellow Times and he remains one of the
reasons why I dramatically mourn the loss of the Free
Press. No mainstream medias felt the necessity
to contradict or to run with his story.
at the March on Media I found dissidence in the dissent.
Many in the crowd called out, "Shut Up Fox" and "Shut
Down Fox" while I thought what an indication of the
times we live! Especially when we need
encourage journalists, even ones making a living
at Fox to: Speak out ! Speak up! Say more! Give
us the whole story ! Seek truth!
one month prior to the RNC I found
myself in the offices of United
For Peace and Justice then still in struggle
and negotiation to make a deal with the Mayor
over the march past Madison Square Garden
that would include peaceful rally in Central Park.
Almost every major event that demonstrates for peace
and social justice in New York City has probably been
facilitated under the well organized umbrella of UFPJ.
receiving emails and updates I decided not
to participate as part of one homogenous kind of protest
group, but rather to make my protest representative
of my diversity as a true New Yorker and American.
And so when I saw an ad for drummers, no experience
necessary, I decided to show up and not only was
there Manhatten, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and
Nassau County, there were delegates from Israel, Las
Vegas and even New Jersey, with a familiar
face as well.
York City Rhythms of Resistance practiced sometimes
twice a week, under the auspices of 58 year old David
Marcial, dedicated drummer and teacher of drumming, who projects
his spirit and love of drumming into a life
long commitment towards social statement.
August 26, 2004 was not only my drum debut
but I was able to welcome marchers and friends
coming from Boston with the DNC2RNC
and the Pagan
Cluster along with a group of others
who took the journey between conventions. We
greeted them at Columbus Circle expecting all sorts
of anticipated police problems. It was a legal march
but some of the marchers were coming Zapatista style
(kerchiefs covering half the face) which is illegal
in the city and NYPD has been known to confiscate
drumsticks as illegal weapons. However, compromise was
established and we drummers drummed as loud
and as long on the edge of Central Park, while marchers
appeared with kerchiefs and somehow convinced the
police that it was as much dramatic effect as
the Green Dragon marchers who appeared to look
like Paul Revere et al. A picnic took place
while this was being negotiated and I was able
to greet pagan activist Starhawk who said it seemed
like a reunion to her.
march to Union Square went rather well, even with the
limitations. We were not allowed to use our
sticks during the march and most of us thought it
was either NYPD asserting their level of authority
early on, or just the fact that we were marching
through the exspensive part of town and making less
noise without sticks.
drummers had previously discussed civil disobedience.
The majority of us agreed that we needed our sticks
and persons until at least Sunday and so we marched
in compliance with all imposed mandates.
first large arrest (264) came on Friday night when Critical
Mass, who everyone knows has regular monthly
protests of too many cars by showing up and riding
throughout the city, emassed 5,000 bikes and
proceeded to ride through the streets including
all Republican routes! Streets were closed; fire
trucks backed into streets and eventually the bikers
slowed enough to be arrested. How is it too many
cars never get arrested? Word spread that the police
were particularly harsh.
was Planned Parenthood's March for Women's
Lives which also went off without much hindrance.
Rumor has it that NYPD never hassles women's marches
but most of us weren't taking any chances. Since
previously, we were not allowed to drum with
"weapons" such as drumsticks, I thought to come prepared
wearing a black pointed hat and carrying
large wooden spoons so I could at any moment turn
my large plastic drum over and make like I was
stirring the "cauldron of changes" or a
pot of fresh tomato sauce.
drummed across the Brooklyn Bridge and in front of
us danced two middle aged women who created a
dance with a banishing ritual and used
different colored scarves. One of the women
, who I would later meet all over the city, came
up behind me and whispered, "Thank you, Sister Witch",
and I answered that we best wear all our old
symbols before the right is taken forever from
us by the Fundies in power.
evening there was a living human installation at the place where
the current Leadership took three whole days
to check in after terrorist attack. At the site
of the former World Trade Center,at Ground Zero, there
was a "Ring Out" and I felt totally transfixed and
mesmerized as I sat in one spot and observed
the streams of people moving back and forth ringing
out their bells in death toll numbers for those who
died in 9/11; followed by ten minutes of silence and
then ringing out again for those who died in
Iraq. Many photos were taken but I wondered if anyone sat
and saw the passage and flow and expression of the
people who passed, as I did all at once, in streams
of living flesh . I brought Tibetan Chimes
but free bells were given to all who wished to participate
and many improvised with bicycle bells, etc..
of deceased soldiers and civilians were aligned in
a park. There was a procession of hundreds of flag
draped coffins, Americans lost fighting in Iraq.
Pagan Cluster had a huge and joyful public ritual
and dancing at St Mark's in the Bowery. They drummed
in competition to Reverend Billy, the Church of Don't Shop
and his First Amendment Mob and a great time
was had by all.
this point I believe I felt part of an Ongoing Great
Event. The Anti Event , if you will, which
was in triumph over the Republican event. The spirit
on the street was extraordinary. Ever other
person walking seemed to carry a either a Peace message
or a dissatisfied with Bush message.
residents, Democrat and Republican with
lots of money had left for the East End of Long Island
until the Republican block was cleared. The
battle for Central Park seemed lost but
the people knew to whom the park belonged. The Mayor,
meanwhile was quoted saying, "Protest is a privilege
that can be taken away at any time" as if we were
all in junior high school and being threatened with
no TV for misconduct. Registered "good"
protesters were offered "coupons" just
as the Republican delegates, for being "good protesters" !
People, some of whom were sleeping on floors in loft
spaces were offered a coupon towards $150 single room
rate at a tourist hotel. Oh how I longed to rent a
room and invite 300 people to come with me on
the Mayor's good grace. The mayor , meanwhile
had just returned from Athens and still had not come
up with a union contract for his NYPD. He doesn't
choose to live in Gracie Mansion, how come he couldn't
open it to out of town "good" protesters?
just before the RNC began, while ducking in and
out Penn Station , looking for all purposes
like martial law had taken effect, I passed a man
standing outside the entrance with a placard and
fliers. His sign said something about not having
to be as wealthy as Bloomberg, but needing better
"health insurance" and on the bottom I saw union
symbols , including mine as a public employee. I
took one of the fliers and asked, "Are you
answer came sheepishly with a nod and I said, "Well
thanks for doing your job anyway. And please remember
that the people you see out on the streets also
need health insurance and many do not even have
day of the Big March came and the drummers were ready.
Many of us had extra sticks strapped to our legs to
replace those confiscated. All over most of the legal
demonstration were large numbers of neon capped legal
aides and rights' advisers. Many gave
out wash n' wear tattoos with "legal hotline" numbers.
New York was well organized! especially under the
splendid direction of UFPJ.
were positioned just ahead of the Pagan Cluster and
the Green Dragon
whose float of a large Green Dragon later literally
exploded and went up in smoke. One of our drummers
opted to stay behind with the cluster. We
hugged and kissed and got ready to rock, roll and march
of the pictures do justice to the size, surge and
united spirit of the crowd .
our drum leader did creative last minute instruct
to anyone wishing to have one of the extra drums
we brought along. And then we began. Rule 1# of
any March : Never get behind a bus and always find
a sound and stay with it..ours was a march that
was half Latin Samba and half Queen, "we will ,
we will rock you!" Every corner we stopped
and beat out, "Drop Bush! Not Bombs!"
before reaching the garden I found a friend and
creator of the labyrinth Camino de Paz with three companions sitting
and holding a space on the street. I blessed their
heads and kissed them and marched on.
made it all the way just past the moment of glory
in front of Madison Square Garden , when all of a
sudden the Green Dragon , one of the only
large floats in the entire parade self-combusted or
was mysteriously fire bombed . Some of
us saw the smoke but did not realize the dragon was
going up in the smoke until a mad sramble of kerchief'd
zapatistas ran back and forth in the street ,
cops in pursuit and some protesters rather purposefully
knocking over and tearing down the metal penning as
they went along. The police hot footed after
them and at one point it seemed they make another
run back down the street. The woman in our group who
had told those of us, who were indecisive or negative
about getting arrested, that "now was no greater time!"
was last seen running towards the police before they
arrested her! Hey-O Jessica!
was closest to the Big Mama Drum and that was probably
what saved me from arrest because we were pushed down
into the subway and after the police closed off the
subway I bartered a trip above ground to try and find
the out of towner from New Jersey. I was promptly
pushed back down into the subway and so some of us
marched on and one of us got arrested and the rest
of us returned to our practice spot and waited for
word of each other.
some re organization we all decided to make for Central
Park, which was destination for many marchers and
in direct disobedience to the Mayor's wishes to allow
for a peaceful rally. We all had respected
the hard work and effort of UFPJ in organizing this
legal march but many of us were adament about the
legitimacy of the right to be in a People's Park
and on the Great Lawn. We arrived at the
park with many others who had the same idea but who
were coming up from downtown in small clusters. We
actually drummed along the way and attracted more
marchers. The police we saw made no effort to stop
us and so we reached the Great Lawn and decided to
make a Great Rest of our weary bones, relax and discuss
who would be able to attend the Poor People's March
and the Still We Rise March next day.
our defiant one, was taken to the Pier and held on
multiple bogus charges. Bails were being set especially
high for out of towners. It was decided that those
who had free time and no pressing engagements such
as nine to five jobs would meet again for either March
the next day. Because of the distance from my
home which I needed to touch base for sake of animals
and elderly kin who was now wringing hands and saying
prayers over my presumed arrested and/or trampled
body, and with my reliance upon public transportation
I would have to arrive after both smaller morning Marches
but I would be in time for the Labyrinth I spoke
what? There were no soldiers or police in sight as
I daily rode the F train, that subway that goes from
Coney Island through Manhatten and ends in Queens
and there were still no police riding the buses that
have been cut back to a minimum as far as public transportation
goes into the burroughs. I stood on mean hard
streets and waited for the late night bus to come
with mostly workers and not protesters who were coming
and going to their work sifts.
night the Mouse
Bloc took over the theatre district and directly
confronted 13,000 GOP Elepnants taking
advantage of the over priced Disneyfied theater tickets
made available to them by GOP organizers. The action
was called , "Chaos on Boadway".
Billionaires For Bush
kept pace with Republicans and were on the street
in their all their best clothes and "don't give
a damn about poor folk" attitude.
the March on the Media someone was determined
to keep red food coloring flowing in the fountains
outside of the corporate media buildings along with one
of the best home made signs I saw read: "Next time
we get attacked , can we have the party in Texas?"
me, however, a New Yorker whose community was hard
hit by 9/11, the Labyrinth is a very
very special spot in New York City and I sincerely
hope any and all can come and see first hand this
bit of true living green just below where
stood the World Trade Center. Every New Moon a
few of us, including the creator of the space, come
together for good intentions and sometimes good
noise in harmony. On this night another project called
"Light Up the Sky" would be filming light
as a metaphor for peaceful confrontation without violence
and without permit.
was one of the more lovelier moments of the entire
the middle, when usually people will call out one
word that exemplifies either what they bring or wish
to acquire, a small women called out passionately
"Palestine!" Immediately another woman followed
equally impassioned "Israel!"
thought ai, yi, yi, here we go again but then
when we were all making sounds the woman from Israel
said "sha-l-om" and all of us took that sound and
sent it out into the night. Afterwards both women
came over and greeted me with interest and happiness
about the Labyrinth.
on the drum front three drummers had been swept up,
not in civil disobedience but in a police net that
took in a crowd of people standing in the wrong spot
to be in but within their civil rights to be there.
These people were locked up over night in conditions
that all arrested complained were foul smelling and
reeking of chemicals. Fortunately for the creatures
in my life who rely upon me for a cup of tea or bit kibble,
I know little first hand of such conditions.
was its usual finest and worse. There be the really
bad cops who are quite capable of really bad behavior
and there be some really good ones and then there
be those who are just doing a job but who can
get swept into overtime sleep deprived belligerence.
There is no excuse and there is no excuse for the
Mayor not working out a contract. The really bad night
of arrests came after the big parade and before Bush
arrived. It was as if there were to be less people
in evidence and also legitimate proof of needing the
number of uniformed personal out there in the streets.
aggressive police hit was the Library at 42 nd Street.
I arrived slightly behind schedule with my symbols
of "true homeland security" books not bombs and was
immediately refused entry onto the steps of the Library.
A large number had already been removed
from the premises. Well. That library was the first
place I trysted with my very first boyfriend and I
know every way in and about those grand Lions and
so while the police stood baracading the front steps
I circled around and easily got in via a side
entrance. Perhaps I didn't look like a protester.
Afterall I was wearing a Dr Seuss Green Eggs and Ham
t shirt with denim shorts. I walked straight through
and out of the library and then sat on one side of
a Lion until the police left the steps and I could
walk down them. No one else had a similar idea but
I refused to leave until I could walk down the front
steps onto Fifth Avenue.
at the March against the Media I saw this man
who refused to become part of the penned protest.
He was standing off to one side wearing a chef's hat.
His banner said: Food Not Bombs. I watched him hold
this space despite police shuffling him along. At
the end of the protest I went over to him and smiled
and thanked him for this better space and image of
man. He was my inspiration for the next and last day.
I left my house on the day of the last protest, I
carried my small sign that I took everywhere
with me on board busses , subways and along with the
book I was reading written by friend Mazin Qumsiyeh,
an American scholar and scientist who happens
to be a Christian Palestinian by background the
book is titled, "Sharing the Land of Cannaan".
carried my sign to that last glorious rally
sponsered by A.N.S.W.E.R and I realized
this is pretty much my A.N.S.W.E.R. for true
homeland security and how I make a better space. And
as I stood there I also had revelation about why this
last demonstration was allowed to take place
on the night of the president's speech: NYPD
and Secret Service had all of us stragglers pretty much in one grand pen
under close careful scrutiny. I left shortly
before the speech. I passed an ancient man stooped
over his cane carrying a shakily
scrawled sign upon which read, "I have never seen
such a presidency and I am 97 years old"
left for the downtown vigil of candles where I found
in the crowd, a man sitting in circle that including
the woman I met when she first carried her
colorful scarves across the Brooklyn Bridge.
She was sitting in comfort and sympathy with a
man who had been sitting 18 hours grieving and mourning
the loss of his son in Iraq. We sang songs in Spanish
and rocked and swayed.
took my sign over to him and held his hand for awhile
and kissed a tear away from his cheek only to make
a tear myself.
sign for the last rally the night Bush made his acceptance
speech and for the man named Jesus who mourns
the loss of his son who died in Iraq and for all who
passed to and fro:
= a person's effort to earn a living
occupation = Librarian
And on the subway ride home that night
a young man came over and told me he liked my
sign and shyly gave me a cd in a plastic
bag. It was his vision for a better place
and in it was his card: c.b. Houck, Brooklyn,
New York and on all those who came and joined my
city in Greater Spirit
La Rosa, Auntie Climax
artist: friend: spirit
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