CODDEPINK Marched, Protested and Commemorated The Day of the Dead by remembering all the victims of US wars at Creech Air Force Base and in San Francisco. America in it’s efforts to win the war, has killed almost 2 million people the body count rises daily, against only 7, 000 war dead for America, and we are nowhere near peace! How many more people need to die before America realizes they can’t win the war this way? In order to win the peace America need’s to stop the bombing, use diplomacy and begin the rebuilding of bombed out hospitals, schools and homes. CODEPINK in it’s ongoing campaign against perpetual war was in the desert and on the streets to demand an end to airstrikes and encouraged others to join CODEPINK in telling their government to stop the killing.
Martha Hubert reports that it was quite a busy day at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada! The the site of control for CIA and Pentagon targeted drone killings that terrorize communities and remotely kill civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere.
We CODEPINKers, dressed in black with white masks, had a morning vigil from 6-8 AM dedicated to the DAY OF THE DEAD, with an elaborate altar, and tons of visuals up and down the highway. We were joined by an AP photographer who took lots of pictures. A few activists came up from Las Vegas to join us. It was a glorious sunrise and spirited vigil/protest. We closed in a circle with songs and each of us said a little something about why we were there.
In the afternoon, we were out again, joined by our local friend, Ruben and several defendants from the trials in Las Vegas, some of whom were arrested at SHUT DOWN CREECH in March of this year. We stretched the huge long SHUT DOWN CREECH banner across from the base, so that those leaving the base would just have to see it. We held several other banners, spaced like farm stand signs down the highway. We had various responses; lots tried to ignore us (not easy). We had some peace signs returned to us, waving, and very few middle finger salutes. It rained a little, though not enough to really bother us. We were gifted with a double rainbow after our protest. Our chief cook, Cecile made a scrumptious meal enjoyed by all.
That evening we had the first ever group action at Creech at NIGHT. We called it NIGHT OF THE DEAD. Five courageous souls crossed “the line” with a letter to be delivered to the commander. It took quite a while for the base security to see that we were there. Those five activists went pretty far past “the line” before the base security caught up with them. After being told that the letter would be forwarded, they walked backwards across the line, where they joined multiple supporters, singing, chanting and encouraging all who could here to think about the death and destruction caused by drones operated from Creech. There were NO ARRESTS.
Remembering the Dead during Veteran’s Day Week: CODEPINK marched on the streets of SF in solemn procession and carried coffins representing the 7 countries the US is warring, in remembrance of the victims to an altar to memorialize and honor all victims of ongoing wars and on Nov. 8 walked for peace on the Golden Gate Bridge with Veterans for Peace.
Toby Blome who helped organize the parade reports back that Susan Witka joined her on Monday night, to carry the coffins that memorialize the victims of recent U.S. “Wars”. We didn’t have seven hands for seven coffins, so 3 countries were not represented (Pakistan, Libya and Somalia). CODEPINK took the rear, along the Day of the Dead procession, escorted most of the way by a SFPD patrol car.
The disturbing thing was that numerous police officers on foot, and those with loud speakers within the cars, gave continuous verbal commands to the hundreds gathered (even those in elaborate costumes) to “Get out of the street and onto the sidewalk.” This was very puzzling for most of the crowd since the event historically calls for all to join the procession in the street to honor and celebrate our ancestors, in a festive spirit. CODEPINK chose to maintain a very slow and somber walk to match the tragic reality of hundreds of thousands of lost lives that could have been prevented. This eventually led to the patrol car giving a steady and intermittent loud and obnoxious buzzing sound, to discourage us from participating. This went on for what seemed like an eternity. In honor of all those lost lives that matter, we would not be moved. Eventually the officer gave up.
The most moving thing about the experience was the overwhelming warm and supportive responses that we received from the vast majority of the crowd. Hundreds of folks took photographs of us, and many people thanked us in words and/or gestures for our effort. Several noted and asked about the missing: “Where is Pakistan?” “Where is Somalia?” Do you have Palestine?”
When we arrived at Garfield Park we spotted a large tree that would be a perfect place to set up our altar. After doing so, we were quite surprised to find on the other side of the tree a bloody shroud laying over a “body,” with GAZA written over it. Unbeknownst to us, we intuitively found our “sister altar” set up by local activist, Jim Haber. Hopefully next year we can get the CODEPINK announcement out early enough so that 7 or 8 pairs of hands can carry one of the seven coffins….and maybe we’ll have a better chance to meet up with Jackie, Martha and Bob, who we never did find.
CODEPINK Sisters, Brothers & Friends with U.S. perpetual warfare continuing with no end in sight, won’t you join us to be a voice of opposition to this madness?
Hope to see more of you next year,
Susan and Toby
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