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A New York judge denied United Peace & Justice a permit to march in protest of a potential U.S. invasion of Iraq. This sort of saves me some of the intense conflict I was experiencing at the prospect of marching. I absolutely believe in the cause and think, particularly in New York, it's an important public statement to make. However, I hate chanting. Really hate it. I don't even like applauding, and I have always resented that first guy to initiate a standing ovation after a performance. It's often far too generous, but puts others in the awkward place of accomodating a social obligation out of guilt. I usually protest this move, but I do hate to be the one guy who has to defend his honest but preferably silent opinion of a lukewarm (or even good) performance. "I'm sorry I didn't give ZWAN a standing-O. I just thought their sound engineer could have worked a little harder. The bass was mixed too low. There! I said it!! The show's up there, everyone."

That's how I feel about protests. I come for the same reasons everyone else does, but that doesn't mean I'm just like everyone else. If you don't chant at a protest, sometimes you're regarded as an interloper. I don't interlope. I swear, even if it seems the contrary is true.

But this has very little to do with the NY Times article I just read. The story mentioned the city's proposed alternative to a march on the UN. Here is a section of that counter-proposal:

The city's counteroffer included the rally at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 47th Street and First Avenue, which is within view of the United Nations. An overflow crowd of any size could be accommodated in pens on First Avenue, the police said.

Pens! Just like freedom, only more organized. It's like the city is constructing ready-made holding cells for the protestors. I'd hate to have to go back to the group with that proposal.


"OK, here's the deal. We can still protest, which is great. Let's not forget how great that is. We won't quite be able to march on the UN building, though. Please. Please just give me a second. We can't march on the UN, true, but we can march a few blocks away, where some of you, if you crane your necks hard enough, will be able to see bits of the UN building. It is recommended that these people describe what they see to the others who cannot see the building. That way we will all be apprised of which direction to face while yelling from the safe confinement of our chain-link and razor wire 'protest pens.'

"Alternately, to avoid confusion we have been granted persmission to construct a fake UN building at 3/5 scale, using 100% recyclable materials. Remember, that is a time-permitting item and, provided our view of the UN building from 47th street is decent, the model construction will become priority level 'tan.'

"Oh, and technically we can't march. This isn't such a big deal because it would be difficult to march inside our protest pens, anyway. But before you get upset, our lawyers are working very hard right now to grant us a "walking in place" permit which would enable us to simulate a march on the UN building. I've already recruited several volunteers who are willing to drag the 3/5th scale UN model -should its construction be required - behind their pickup trucks to give the appearance of being 'marched upon' by our 10,000 protestors.

"What's that? No, that wasn't a mistake. I said '10,000.' It seems the city is only able to guarantee the protection and safety of 1/10th of our projected masses for this anti-war march-in-place near the United Nations building. But let's make the best of it. The government is about to feel our mighty roar of protest, and clearly it is already listening! Get ready to march in place!! Oh, one more thing: no chanting. The residents of Tudor City have said they'd call the police if it's too noisy. FOR PEACE!!!"

WE FIRST MET ON 02.11.2003

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