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Navy Daze and Vegan Nights PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Monday, 09 October 2006 06:40
Navy Daze and Vegan Nights

PEJ News
- Janine Bandcroft - On the day that Canadians lost their 40th soldier in Afghanistan, the Canadian Military was in Victoria with Navy Days, promoting war and recruiting new young lives.  In response, Victoria's Women in Black and the Raging Grannies peacefully protested.


Navy Daze and Vegan Nights

Janine Bandcroft

PEJ News
October 7, 2006

I stood in silent vigil, for an hour, looking at a helicopter and a lineup of people waiting to view it.  Behind me were warships, nearby were military personnel showing off their equipment and expertise.  A man's voice announced, over a megaphone, a welcome to the Women in Black who, he said, were there to protest Navy Days.  It's not quite as simple as that, I thought, but having agreed to silence I kept my thoughts to myself as he further erroneously explained that our ability to be there has nothing to do with our own courage, but is all because of military excursions around the world. I disagreed, but sighed relief.  They couldn't dare arrest us after such an endorsement of our right to freely express ourselves.

We stood in our line, brave women and men in black (some not so black) and quietly watched and listened as passers by looked questioningly at us.  One man yelled 'shame,' a couple of people took leaflets, and about halfway through a military fellow offered us each a bottle of water which was silently refused.  As if our presence, our silence, and our banner declaring our attempts at 'Creating A World Without Violence' weren't courageous enough, our vigil was completed when Art Farquharson liberated his guitar from its case and we sang a couple of peace songs.

Outside the gates, across the parking lot, the Raging Grannies were noisily and busily gathered around Alison's car which had been redesigned as a tank.  Some were organizing the petition table, others stood with a banner (Don't Be A War Toy, Join The Peace Workers) near the Navy Days entrance.  Again, we were greeted in a variety of ways, with one young man determined to move the car away from the entrance where it wouldn't be so clearly seen.  Again we were offered bottled water, but this time we could express our discontent - thanking the young lad for his kindness, but shaking our heads in protest.  "Oh no," he said, "is this bad too?!"

I could hear the chuckles, and the privatized water explanation began as I donned my bike helmet in preparation to depart.  I'm not sure where Alison's tank/car ended up, but I'm certain that our efforts to build a world without violence were indeed forever chronicled in our own individual and collective historical memories, equally as certain that they had already been dismissed by the military mindset.  But whether we make it into their lesson books or not, our presence had been noticed, we had turned some heads, we had made a difference.  I had a date for a vegan thanksgiving dinner and rode contentedly away, proud that I had so bravely crossed the line into Navy Land and out again, wondering what I would tell my Air Force Mom and Navy Dad when they asked me about my day. 

A radio podcast interview with Raging Grannies' Clara Halber and Alison Acker, and a movie with Art singing, are available online at http://relativenewz.ca.  A photo slide show of Saturday's events is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xShuhKprrJ8 and another movie with Art is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_fC9T0Mfto (thanks youtube!).

If you'd like to support my alternative media work, please donate at http://www.givemeaning.com/donate/n-ggprofile.aspx?gg=512 or send a cheque to Janine Bandcroft, 407, 1939 Lee Avenue Victoria BC V8R 4W9.  Thank you - the future you co-create may be your own.

the truth is in herehttp://relativenewz.ca

Last Updated on Monday, 09 October 2006 06:40

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