Friday, January 05, 2007

Peace Protest 1: Lt. Watada and the Unitarians

In San Francisco's Japantown Mall...

...with its bare, spare "Peace Plaza"...

...a small group of supporters of United States Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada met on Thursday morning in preparation for a peace march.

Lt. Watada, a US Army infantry officer stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, "has refiused to deploy to Iraq with his unit because he believes the war there is illegal," and a huge groundswell of support among Japanese-Americans has emerged. (Check out their website by clicking here.)

They were joined by a few other organizations, including "Declaration of Peace" (click here for their website).

The march clambered over the hill to the Unitarian Church on Geary and Franklin...

...where they were to join a group of Unitarians at noon before continuing on to the Federal Building for a peace vigil and "die-in."

Comedy ensued when the small group of Unitarians couldn't quite get their act together as they dithered over signage and exit times.

They were a very pleasant bunch, however, and one East Bay gentleman was eager to show off his Father Bill O'Donnell T-shirt. "His presence is definitely hanging about today," he declared about the recently deceased activist Catholic priest. (Click here for a nice obit by Stephanie Salter).

Meanwhile, the Lt. Watada supporters stood out in front of the church waiting for the Unitarians to get their act together.

They finally started telling Unitarian jokes on the order of "they must be trying to come to a consensus on what they believe."

Also with the Lt. Watada group was Rebecca Solnit, on the left above, who is one of my favorite writers in the world (click here for a listing of her books).

Putting any semblance of journalistic distance and objectivity aside, I finally marched back into the church lobby and told everyone, "Let's go. Now! They're starting to make Unitarian jokes out front so let's get it moving."

Finally, the united groups marched down to Van Ness Avenue...

...where there were alternate cries of "slower" or "faster" among the crowd, depending on who thought they were in charge.

Finally, they arrived at the Federal Building on Golden Gate Avenue...

...and joined the Quaker peace vigil and a number of other groups. More to come.


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Anonymous said...

What a great event. Rebecca Solnit? Too, too cool.
I should ask you to e-mail me your calendar of events; you're always where the action is.