[sixties-l] Diversity's Peace (fwd)

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Date: Sun Nov 11 2001 - 19:50:05 EST

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    Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001 16:21:16 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Diversity's Peace

    Diversity's Peace

    Tuesday, October 23, 2001
    Emil Guillermo, Special to SF Gate

    In this new and different kind of war, official leaks to various news
    agencies tell us President Bush has authorized the CIA to go after a
    very specific target -- Osama bin Laden.

    The CIA now has a license to kill the big O.

    No surprise there.

    At the same time, Vice President Dick Cheney prepares us for the long
    grind when he says, "I think it's fair to say you can't predict a
    straight line to victory. You know, there'll be good days and bad
    days along the way."

    Again, no surprise.

    The real surprise is how much this new war is sounding less like the
    video game we call the Gulf War and more like that old '60s TV
    staple, "Mission: Impossible."

    On the other hand, the peace movement seems to be developing quite differently.

    Quite by accident, I stumbled onto a protest this past weekend in San
    Francisco. Normally, I don't do protests. I'm a journalist. I write
    columns, not protest signs. Besides, you can fit more words here than
    you can on a piece of poster board.

    But I was walking to another engagement when I happened on the rally
    and was struck by its size and scope.

    On the late TV news, you may have seen about 30 seconds' worth of
    coverage of this event. But there were more than 5,000 people
    gathered -- and there was a real newsworthy difference in the kind of
    people speaking out for a little sanity in the world.

    It wasn't like the demonstrations I'd seen, heard or read about
    during the only other big war whose protests made an impression on me
    -- the Vietnam War.

    But what do you expect from this thing we call the "new war" but a
    totally new and different kind of peace movement?

    In the Vietnam era, age and generation were the dividing lines here
    at home. Trust no one over 30, right? Good thing I was 13. I had a
    lot of upside.

    At the time, young people formed a counterculture whose values were
    different from their "establishment" parents. People wore different
    things than their parents. Most smoked different things. Most wanted
    to do different things with their lives. It was logical that if we
    had different record albums than our parents, we should have a
    different foreign policy.

    And then came the matter of fighting their war. The personal
    connection to protest was different then. It was middle class. It was
    white. That was America then. In hindsight, it often seems as if the
    war just coincided with a major disconnect at the time between young
    and old.

    Of course, I saw some of the remnants of that era on Saturday, all
    older and grayer, more mature -- though some of them would still have
    fit perfectly into a vintage time-warped photograph in a tie-dyed

    But mostly I saw a lot of new energy from young Asians, African
    Americans and Latinos.

    This isn't Vietnam's generational war. If anything, race and
    ethnicity have emerged as the prime coalescing agent in the movement.

    Maybe that's why I heard a lot of rap music emanating from the stage.

    I didn't see Jane Fonda up there.

    I didn't hear Country Joe, either.

    No one said, "Give me an F!"

    Unless the "F" was for Farishta.

    Twenty-one-year-old Farishta Amani, a freshman at Chabot College, was
    up in front. "I have family in south Afghanistan who are getting
    bombed -- and I can't believe the US government would bomb starving
    people," she told the Chronicle. "This will not stop terrorism and
    will only make people more angry."

    After decades of immigration and the biggest boom in ethnic Americans
    ever, there are new truths that emerge in this war that we may not
    have factored in to our thinking.

    In this day and age, the US can't bomb a country without impacting
    some American's ancestral home. The link between homelands there and
    neighborhoods here is so much stronger than it's ever been. Yet few
    stop to understand that when we bomb there, Americans grieve here.

    When young Afghan-Americans speak, there is no lack of patriotism for
    their country, America. But there is genuine compassion for the whole
    situation, not just for a selective part of it.

    People who have family in other places around the globe understand this.

    Other Americans who, because of their origins, have been subjected to
    racial profiling in this county understand this too.

    They can relate to Moslems and Arabs and South Asians and Central
    Asians in America rounded up and held for questioning for days and
    weeks at a time. Many of them are merely innocent people caught in
    the middle of America's war on terrorism.

    They were all in the crowd on Saturday.

    If you need a coalition of countries to wage war, it figures you need
    a coalition of issues and communities to wage peace. So the protest
    signs were mixed and varied. One read, "Stop the War in Afghanistan."
    But another read, "Stop Racial Scapegoating." And another, "Defend
    Civil Liberties."

    Through all these messages runs a racial thread that marks what makes
    this movement for peace different from others in the past. It's
    broader and more diverse than you can imagine. It's a peace movement
    that looks like America.
    Emil Guillermo's book, "Amok" won an American Book Award 2000. He
    hosts "NCM-TV: New California Media," seen on PBS stations in San
    Francisco and Los Angeles. Email him at emil@amok.com.

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