Yesterday – Sunday, March 18, 2012 – people took to the streets of the Devon neighborhood in Chicago to protest continuing U.S. wars in the Mideast and South Asia.
The occasion was the 9th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and people protested the continued U.S. presence there, even after the so-called U.S. “withdrawal” from Iraq in late 2011. There were also sizable contingents protesting U.S. threats against Iran, the continuing U.S. occupation and militarization of Afghanistan, the expanding U.S. practice of indefinite detention in places like Guantanamo, the persecution of Bradley Manning, and other U.S. abuses.
[March organizer Andy Thayer (r) with webcam, broadcasting
crowd images to observers in Pakistan via Skype.]
A major focus of the demonstration, however, was an undeclared U.S. war: the killing of hundreds of Pakistanis in secret attacks, principally using drones. Yesterday, people from throughout Chicago — and especially from the Pakistani-American community — stood up to say the drone attacks must end, and we must hold those who are responsible accountable.
It was less than two weeks ago that Chicago saw U.S. attorney general Eric Holder shock the world with his bizarre assertion that the U.S. government can — using drones and other means — pretty much kill whoever it wants.
[Some of the participants in the March 18 Chicago demonstration.]
Numerous speakers at yesterday’s demonstration denounced the U.S. drone attacks, and stressed the numerous ways those attacks defy morality and international law. Many people in the crowd carried anti-drone signs.
Perhaps the most important moment in yesterday’s demonstration came when a Skype connection was established to peace activists in Pakistan, so that they could see the crowd of people assembled in Chicago. It is vital that we, the people, be able to communicate directly with people in other countries, and say, “We do NOT support the violent acts of the U.S. government. We are doing everything we can to resist these crimes, and we stand WITH YOU!”
I’ve written before about how important it is to “stand up and be counted.” Yesterday, people on Devon sent a message with their presence that could be seen clear around the world.