MD - On a glorious, sun-filled, late summer afternoon,
September 11, 2005, and on the fourth anniversary
of the 9/11 tragedy, a robust demonstration for
peace and justice, sponsored by Women in Black,
was held along this citys most splendid boulevard
- Charles Street. Activists lined up beside its
sidewalks, stretching, thinly, for 12 miles from
the downtown Inner Harbor area to the beltway, I-695,
north of the city line.
the way, I met some wonderful people. Im
out here today as a witness to the wastefulness,
the immorality and the futility of war to settle
anything, Anna Brown, a nurse practitioner,
told me. Both Dawn and Samantha Musgrave said that
we need to bring the troops home, now.
Meanwhile, Rev. Don Stroud, a Presbyterian minister,
underscored the necessity for people to speak
out and to make it known that war is not the answer.
He added, We have to take a stand for justice
and the things that are right.
in Black (WIB) was founded in Israel, in 1988. Its
original purpose was to oppose, via a posture
of silence and non-violence, that regimes
oppression of the Palestinian people in the West
Bank and Gaza. Since then, it has gained a worldwide
presence. Its prime mission has evolved into a call,
spiritual in origin, to bring together all of humanity,
who seek peace through mutual understanding
and constructive dialogue...and to end the cycle
of violence that is enveloping the world.
Oddly, WIB isnt an organization in the normal
sense of that word, but a means of mobilization
and a formula for action. The dedicated women
protesters wear black as a sign of mourning
for all that is lost through war and violence.
individuals, organizations and non-profits, in the
WIB-led picket line of Iraqi War dissenters and
pro-peace supporters, read like a whos who
of Baltimores vibrant activist community.
(2) At Sts. Philip and James
Roman Catholic Church, at the corner of Charles
and 29th Streets, I noticed while driving by, Baltimore
City Councilwoman, Mary Pat Clarke. (3)
the epicenter of Charles St., which literally divides
Baltimore north and south, and east from west, is
found beautiful Mt. Vernon Square. Its a park
designed in the form of a Greek cross, where the
first monument in this country to George Washington
was erected in 1829. The land for both the monument
and the park was donated by Revolutionary War legend,
Col. John Eager Howard. Also found there is a equestrian
monument to another of Washingtons distinguished
comrades-in-arms in the eight and one half year
struggle against the British imperialists: the Marquis
Mt. Vernon Sq. Park, I met up with Judy Pentz. She
said, Im here to protest the Iraqi War.
Were wasting lives and money over there. There
isnt enough money here to help our own people,
especially the people of New Orleans. A lot of the
National Guard personnel from Louisiana were in
Iraq, when Hurricane Katrina hit, and they couldnt
help their own people.
D. Molan, whos with the Veterans for
Peace: Phil Berrigan Chapter, emphasized how
the newly-released Downing St. Memos corroborated
the critical fact that, There were no WMD
in Iraq! He was standing on the corner of
Charles and Redwood Sts. At Cold Spring Lane &
Charles St., Max Obuszewski, a longtime advocate
for the cause of peace, was holding up a sign that
read, Shame! War is not the Answer.
He said, Were trying to stop the war
and to bring the troops home. This war is an atrocity
and combined with the condition of the poor souls
down in the Gulf Coast, who were hit by Hurricane
Katrina, weve got to stand up - weve
got to do something! Regime change may be our only
hope right now.
of the other signs, posters and banners seen along
the Peace Path had messages, like these: Dont
Kill, Dont Die, Stop the War:
End the Occupation, Swords into Plowshares,
and this one, my personal favorite, Wheres
Bin Laden? Are we Safer after four years of War?
Michaels, a civil rights attorney, and outspoken
opponent of the draconian USA Patriot Act, said,
Were here to show people that there
are plenty of folks in this country, who are opposed
to the war in Iraq and who would like to see peace
in this world. (4) Green
Party activist, James Madigan, standing at 25th
St. & Charles, said, We need to end the
occupation of Iraq. Its draining moneys from
the local economy - moneys that could be funding
jobs for working class people. Near the beltway,
I-695, I chatted with Ginger McAndrew. She told
me, Im here this afternoon to support
peace and to take a stand against violence.
of todays date, 1,896 brave members of the
U.S. military have died in the illegal Iraqi War.
The conflict is based on a policy that we now know
was nothing less than a pack of rotten lies generated
by a cabal of Neocon ideologues, (5)
and slick intriguers and profiteers from the Bush-Cheney
Gang. (6) The cost of the
war to the taxpayers is put at $193.7 billion and
rising. (7) The number of
Iraqi civilians killed, half of whom were women
and children, is estimated in one of the latest
studies at over 100,000. (8)
near the Inner Harbor, on Charles & Pratt Sts.,
I talked with Sarah Lawrence, whose familys
roots go back over 300 years in Maryland to colonial
days. She said, The war in Iraq is costing
us $2 billion a week. If we stop the war, we will
have the money to rebuild New Orleans.
todays citizen-rooted protest action, in Baltimore,
initiated by WIB, was also being replicated in many
other cities and towns across the U.S. It is yet
another example of the growing concerns of the American
people, which demand an immediate end to the immoral
Iraqi War. If it also leads to one of Marylands
U.S. Senators, Barbara A. Mikulski, a Democrat,
breaking her vow of silence in opposition to the
Iraqi War, I will deem it a resounding success.
(9) Mikulski is the same political
hack, whose priority in the U.S. Congress, regardless
of the consequences to the American public,
has been to give away tens of billions of dollars
in taxpayers money to Right-Wing regimes in
Israel. (10) Meanwhile, Bethlehem
Steels Sparrows Point facility and GMs
Broening Highway plant are now history; predatory
interest rates on credit cards have no federal limits
(11); the Chesapeake Bay is
quickly dying from dead zones; and the
vulnerable levees at New Orleans that needed desperate
repairs were cavalierly ignored. Enough is enough!
3. While President of the Baltimore City
Council, in 1993, the feisty Clarke led the successful
effort to enact a MacBride Principles
Bill into law. For background on that important
economic investment and justice measure for the
north of Ireland, see, The MacBride Principles:
Genesis and History, by Father Sean McManus,
one of County Fermanaghs finest sons.
9. Although Sen. Mikulski voted against the
Iraqi War, she has repeatedly voted to fund it based
on the most dubious kind of reasoning. Also, when
President George W. Bush, Jr. recently visited Baltimore,
she criticized him over the amount of federal antiterrorism
spending for the Port, but didnt raise the
matter of the Downing St. Memos with him! Those
documents prove that Bush, and his cronies, lied
the nation into the Iraqi War. Mikulskis absence,
too, along with many other supposedly anti-War congressional
members, from any of the numerous anti-Iraqi War
rallies, dating back to 10/26/02, speaks volumes
about her true feelings on this seminal issue.
© William Hughes 2005.
William Hughes is the author of Saying
No to the War Party (IUniverse,
Inc.). He can be reached at email@example.com.