Friday, January 14, 2005

Peace Vigil Notes

Tonight I attended the weekly peace vigil in my neighbourhood for the first time since before our trip back to Ontario for the holidays. Some notes:

  • We were egged. The consensus seemed to be that it came from a passing car, though noone saw it. It hit tree branches above our heads and fell just behind two vigilers standing next to me. This is my first experience of attempted violence against peace activists in the United States, though apparently two weeks ago at the vigil one woman's car was egged by a passing pedestrian and a bit over a year ago there were some youth across the street lobbing stones from the cover of some bushes. It's interesting that even in this neighbourhood, which is quite liberal and quite anti-war, such spontaneous mechanisms of suppressing dissent are a fact of life.

  • The vigil is thinking of moving to a different corner. I don't know the neighbourhood well enough to weigh the pros and cons in terms of visibility and pedestrian traffic and so on, but on a personal level I'm not enthusiastic about it because the new site is significantly farther away from where we live.

  • I really wish that the culture of the peace movement placed more emphasis on reflecting on how we function with each other. Some lessons in listening, dialoguing rather than debating, taking up less space, and not excluding women via posture and body language could be useful for some folks -- mostly men, but not exclusively (except for the last item). Not that I'm in any way claiming to be perfect with respect to such things.

  • The return to vigiling amplified the always-running debate inside of me about how a relatively privileged, car-free, time-constrained Canadian living on the west side of LA can best contribute to radical social change. Still no answers that satisfy me, unfortunately.

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