Monday, March 19, 2007

Anti-war march Hollywood 3-17: Coffins and the Two Figures of Death

Noon I went to the anti-war march in Hollywood on Saturday at Hollywood and Vine Street, on this fourth year I've joined the anti-war marches down Hollywood Boulevard. In that first march the dance group Corpus Delecti danced in torn white rags with white faces as if they were the ghosts of the dieing and the dead of this soon-to-be war. For years later Again the east corner was crammed with people hearing music and speeches from the truck on Hollywood Boulevard. When I got there an inter-racial group of rappers were rapping for freedom.

A few minutes later I took some photos, then crossed the street, and ran into Joan, a fellow instructor at East Los Angeles College. Kent Wong, the head of the UCLA Labor Center, gave a short but powerful anti-war speech. Also students from high schools and colleges spoke briefly as well as the priest from All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, the church which had its tax exempt status investigated for opposing the war, spoke. In between speeches Joan and I, neither of whom are teaching any more at East Los Angeles College, caught up on what we've been doing. It was Saint Patrick's Day, and Joan, who was Catholic, explained that St. Patrick had driven all the snakes from Ireland so the country doesn't have any snakes.

Lots of signs: Topanga Peace Alliance, Episcopalian church group, Impeach Everybody. My favorite sign all day said "St. Patrick, Bring the Troops Home from Iraq." I thought that fitting: if St. Patrick could drive the snakes out of Ireland, hopefully he could also bring the troops home. We heard that despite the horrendously cold weather in Washington D.C., peace people were marching to the Pentagon.

The march slowly began around 12:45 as the sound truck led the peace marchers down Hollywood Boulevard. To my right a man and a woman were dressed all in black including their faces totally covered by black masks and both held scythes as two figures of Death walked beside me. We continued to Cahuenga Boulevard, then walked two blocks south to the multi-story CNN building, turned right for two more blocks. At Shrader Avenue, we turned right, and marched straight past my favorite YMCA where we waved at the exercisers and peace marchers and children in the courtyard.

We continued to the next block past the Gay and Lesbian Center where a man in a Veterans for peace t-shirt holding a flag in front said it wasn't legal for him to get married. The march continued on back to Hollywood Boulevard, turned left again.. Behind me Veterans for Peace carried row upon row of coffins draped in American flags. Throughout the march groups of student and youth marched together: they had a loud presence. Also the Bus Riders union in their yellow shirts marched in a strong group. Two groups of Asians drummers marched me behind me also.

The next day I went to see the "Multiple Vantage Points: Southern California Women Arts 1980-2006" show at Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery Barnsdall Park, and Erica Rothenberg had a wonderful witty pieces up including a church calendar for the year 2100 which included an listing for an alcoholics group and also for an anti-war group.

Four years of marchers. Four years ago when I and 40,000 marchers paraded down Hollywood Boulevard we hoped we just hoped we could stop this war. The dancers tried to make the corpse visible of the people who would be killed in this war. Four years later we marched carrying coffins and accompanied by the two figures of Death in black walking besides us.

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