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
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.