Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ordinary People

Saturday I spent the day hanging out with some ordinary people. I went to the 9D and 9 corner where our usual group was there hanging out and chatting trying to get attention from cars going by to support peace and redirection of our funds toward our own needs instead of war. Everyone there came , even though there is no immediate tangible reward and the people could all be somewhere else at the same time. I then went to the Mid Hudson Walk Bridge where we were to hand out leaflets. With the Dutchess Peace Group. The leaflets were an invitation for people to join a peace group anywhere and request for people to try to understand that if we don't oppose the current tendency of our nation to be an empire, it will be disastrous for the American people ....comparing our nation with ancient Greece when it tried to become an empire. Trying to teach a concept like this on the walkaway with its diverse population of people enjoying the weather and scene was certainly an interesting challenge. And it felt good to give people that little piece of paper. Some politely refused, some accepted the paper with a smile and a few actually talked to us about the contents.

Then I went to the Pow Wow in Wappingers at the Bowdoin Park. It was late and I didn't really want to have to pay a lot to go to it. However, I parked my car at a spot just before the festival and some kids were at the gate. They said that if I was happy walking to the Pow Wow from that site , I wouldn't have to pay at all. And if I did want to pay ,it would only be $5. Since I am basically a cheapskate, I walked. And it was a real Pow Wow. There was a falconer there demonstrating what his trained owl, hawk,falcon and eagle can do. He was so kind to the birds and understanding. He explained that while training the birds , they have to learn to focus on what he wants them to do, and not be distracted by the crowd. I, too, and trying to learn how to focus in my own life, and could use his help sometimes. Those birds were magnificent as they swooped down, right over my head, to get their treats.

Then I walked around the vendor tents, and at one of them I spoke with an Indigenous man,who had a hat on that indicating he was a Viet Nam Vet.. I asked where he was from and he said Pennsylvania. I asked if there was fracking near his home . He said yes, forty miles away There was a woman at the tent with him, who may have been his daughter or a friend,. She chimed in saying that the fracking is terrible. ….and when you think you have rights to your own land , you really don’t. They can take it from you any time they want. Then he said the fracking isn't the worst. The worst is that there is anthracite near his home and also near him they removed mountains to get at the coal. He says it leaves just a huge crater. You can't believe the size of that crater. The company says it will rehabilitate the land, but he can't see how they could. I bought a book from him, which he offered for $5.95 instead of the regular price of $5.99, and as I left I asked him whether this situation is what he thought he as fighting for in Viet Nam. He shook his head and said they are still doing the same thing in Iraq. I thought to myself, and this may or may not be true, he accepts life as it is. He is a survivor. He is an Indigenous person. He isn't out demonstrating against the way things are ... I think that he has lost hope that we can change things, but is able to accept things as they are.....and know that it isn't right.

I then went back to the central area where they had Indigenous dancing.... and heard the Indian drum beat and chant ...there was a large group of drummers and chanters in the circle as has been done for ages , and the watched the spirited Native Americans, men and women, in their beautiful outfits doing the dances of their heritage.

Next week I hope to be back at 9 D, and maybe I'll be able to leaflet again one of these days on that bridge and maybe I'll be able to go to that Pow Wow again next year. ..and finally, maybe I can buy another book for $5.95 instead of $5.99.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Give Peace a Film series with Marist College

We showed five movies at Marist College, with the public invited to attend. Turnout varied by the film presented. We have decided to continue this film series with Marist College in the fall.