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Sunshine, and a Storm of Roses

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This semester, I love my Thursdays. After three rigorous days of reading, reporting and research, my Thursdays let me breathe. And sunny Thursdays, like this one, are the best. My Thursdays begin with a quiet walk to the coffee shop just up the the street, where the proprietor has painted the walls with palm fronds and hammocks and waves, and whose smile is as warm as the languid scenes they evoke. My Thursdays are spent with my laptop on the warm wood of a small corner table by the window, which today is wide open to let in the smell of sunshine, and the pungent drift of Flint's BAR-B-Q from across the street, and the lulling sound of murmured conversation drifting up from sidewalk seats. It is the best of Thursdays.

The proprietor, his name is Mike. Mike who makes Mike's Special. Chocolate, espresso and coffee. And milk. Iced. Quite nice on the best of Thursday afternoons. And today, Mike has stacked the narrow shelf behind my seat with postcards and brochures noting sundry items of interest. Which brings me to the point, in a roundabout sort of way, of today's post, which is one such item of interest -- a bright red postcard dashed with roses that caught my eye. Perhaps it will catch yours as well.

It announced: On March 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco, the Dance Brigade is producing A Storm of Roses: Women Against War, as a commemoration and protest against the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq.

From their press release:

"An artistic, political and spiritual expression, the show brings musical artists Holly Near with Emma's Revolution, Ferron, Melanie DeMore and Mary Watkins together with dance companies Dance Brigade, Anne Bluethenthal and Dancers, Las Que Son Son, and Al-Juthoor in a program that fuses a social justice message with a feminist artistic aesthetic. Carole Migden, Barbara Lee, Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan and the Grandmothers Against War will be honored from the stage for their outspoken stances against their war and their commitment to social justice.

In 2003, the United States launched an invasion in Iraq under the pretext that Iraq was manufacturing “weapons of mass destruction. People in the Bay Area protested and shut San Francisco down. As people were arrested in the streets, the United States went ahead and began bombing. We were assured that it would be a short war, and that we would be welcome as liberators. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Since 2003, we have killed over 500,000 Iraqi citizens and 3900 American soldiers and thousands more are maimed for life. Over 2000 soldiers have committed suicide upon returning to the United States after their tours of duty. We have destroyed Baghdad, Basra and other historic cities, destroyed Iraq’s museums, art, and civic infrastructure, and dismantled their central government. To do this, we have spent almost a trillion of our tax dollars. Iraq will never be the same, and now the threat of a war against Iran looms on the horizon. As a preliminary cultural response, Dance Brigade presented 3 Women Against War shows in Northern California in fall 2002. These shows were performed at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco, The Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, and the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz. All shows were sold out. Now, in 2008, we will be presenting this show again on the weekend of the anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq."

Now, mind you. This is my sunny Thursday afternoon. And these are dark, cloudy thoughts. But the response - a protest of no less than a STORM of roses and dance - is a warm reassurance that after five increasingly weary years, women have not stopped paying attention, have not flagged in responding creatively, compassionately, and downright passionately to this madness that is our country's present foreign policy.

Anyone down Berkeley way interested in joining me for the evening? Tickets start at $20.

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Comments

Julie L's picture

Thanks for the eloquent

Thanks for the eloquent post. For Americans, our lives can be full of the privilege of quiet time in coffee shops and the sinking feelings of knowing the devastation our government causes. This sounds like a strong AND beautiful artistic protest--one of the best kinds of dissent.

Today I'm frustrated that a university and department that set the stage for my commitment to social justice--the University of Michigan's Women's Studies department--just denied tenure to Native scholar Andrea Smith, an incredibly admirable woman I interviewed just weeks ago. Fortunately, it's another instance of people taking action: http://www.woclockdown.org. Sure, we never know the full story in these cases, but we still need to take a stand to unite feminist, anti-racist, and peace work as often as possible.

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