Just a little while ago I sent a blog entitled, "Peace, Disaster and the Flat World." I spent so much space writing about the flat world I knew no one would read any more. Here is the "peace" section of that blog.It's been a busy several months. The exciting WILPF Congress at San Francisco State, August 10-14, was followed by the Baltimore Peace Path on Charles St. For the fourth year since 9/11/2001 Women in Black of Baltimore and hundreds of other like-minded people lined Charles St, which bisects the city, holding signs that said "Peace" in several dozen languages. There were posters with other messages remembering those who died as a result of violence and war. It was on a warm sunny Sunday afternoon from 12:00 noon until 3 PM. We were happy that many people in cars passing by honked and flashed the two fingered peace sign. Only once or twice did some grump give us half a peace sign. :-( . That annual event takes a lot of planning, most done by Women in Black, Baltimore, but they were also joined by WILPF and other peace groups.That same weekend Baltimore hosted the "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit of over 1900 pairs of boots, representing each US soldier who had lost his/her life in Iraq.....and then thousands more shoes of all kinds represent the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died in the war. Again....a lot of preparation. It was a very moving experience to read the names on the tags of the boots as the names were being read over a loud speaker on the campus of Johns Hopkins University.Of course, several bus-loads of us from Baltimore joined other WILPF women and the 150,000 or so folks in Washington, DC for the massive demonstration on September 24. As a veteran of many anti-Viet Nam war demonstrations in DC in the late '60s and early '70s it was de ja vu all over again. It was heartening that the rally was so inter-generational, with older folks walking along or being pushed in wheel chairs, as well as little folks hanging on to Mommy's and Daddy's hands or being pushed in strollers. There were lots of teens and young adults too......a good cross-section of the U.S. population. The messages on the home-made placards were wonderfully creative. Thanks to the U.S. WILPF staff for being there in the peace tent to serve as a meeting point and to hand out WILPF materials. Visibility is important.On Saturday,October 1, we in the Catonsville WILPF branch celebrated our 10th anniversary, along with our "mother", the 81 year old Baltimore branch. The program featured as speaker Sr. Carol Gilbert, OP, who shared with us the planning and carrying out of the Plowshares Action in October 2002 that landed her and two other nuns in prison. She and Sr. Ardeth Platte are residents of JonahHouse here in Baltimore. I recommend you go to www.jonahhouse.org
for more information about these courageous women and their "Citizen Weapons Inspection" action at a missile site in Colorado. There is also a nice account of the celebration and a good picture of us WILPF women and Carol surrounded by Lynn Robinson and the giant Peace Puppets.Oh yes, I almost forgot, on Sept. 2o, Baltimore and Catonsville branches met at Goucher College for a report back of the National Congress in SF and also to welcome our new younger sister branch at Goucher College. This coming Sunday both WILPF branches will have a table at the UNA - MD United Nations Celebration.So, the beat goes on. Last week I watched a re-run of the first episode of Ken Burns' documentary on the Civil War. As those young men marched out from Washington to their first experience of battle at Manassas, VA, and for many, to their deaths, it was the little drummer boys and musicians that kept their spirits up, that kept them marching in step. We are not military, but we are waging a battle against war and violence. And, being involved in this effort does take courage. Let's hear it for the drummers and muscians who keep the beat for peace going!