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Peace Now
Patricia Mentzer

On March 2nd I participated in the Global Day of Protest in Hollywood. This was not my first demonstration against the Bush administration or the war. In fact, I considered myself somewhat of a veteran. My first march had been one year before, when millions around the globe had taken to the streets in protest against what the Bush Administration claims as foreign policy and against the crime of passion it calls the War on Terrorism.

My mother, who had proposed the idea, and I braved the cold, atypical Los Angeles rain to join with 50,000 other likeminded people who opposed the war in Iraq. It was dizzying. The people, the rain. My emotions eventually got the best of me, and I wept while chanting “Peace Now!” I had fallen in love.
Saturday morning, a year later, while I readied my supplies, I felt more prepared, ready for battle.
I was going it alone, none of my friends or family felt like going. I was meeting up with students from SMC at Amoeba, and I was running late. I ended up meeting other SMC students while waiting for the Metro. I felt like part of a group. We had a banner and a contingent ready to go. We arrived early at Ground Zero, and wandered the streets looking for the rest of our battalion. Once we were all assembled, we made our way back to the masses that had grown sizably at Hollywood and Vine. After what seemed like a very long wait, the event was under way.

We chanted for the soldiers, the Iraqis, the Palestinians, education, and gay rights. But unlike last year, I lacked the emotion, and the awe of what I was partaking in. The anger and the outrage had become a familiar disgust. The number of people who were there was also considerably less than the year before. I even became a bit disheartened at one point. I thought, “What is this all going to do? Why are we still doing this?”. It felt as though I was screaming and no one could hear or simply no one cared.
As we continued, I saw more and more LAPD dressed for unrest. The ghetto bird circled cruel and low, and I began to realize that they saw this demonstration as something to be afraid of. The police felt we could become a dangerous threat to the community. At that moment it made sense. To them, the demonstration was not so much about what we were against, but that so many of us were there and so many of us were angry. I regained some hope when I realized that someone had to be listening and was afraid of what we were asking for in order to evoke this type of police response.

When I walked down into the Metro station at Hollywood and Highland, I was high on satisfaction. Not only had I made new friends, but I had become part of a global consciousness. There were others who may have felt like I initially did, not sure that what we were doing was doing anything at all. However, this event signaled to me that there is a large population who is hungry for change and for peace. It was evident after seeing children holding picket signs that shouted “ 2% News, 98% Bushit” and “Books, Not Bombs!”, or elderly men and women who were as adamant for the cause as the young. The demonstration was not a trendy thing that leftist college students do. The motivation for change saw no color, age, sex, or creed. It had truly become global and something to be proud of.

Patricia Mentzer is still protesting and hoping for regime change at home.

 

 

 

 

 
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