I went to the peace march today with my 3 kids and David, the kids’ father. I really enjoyed the march. The marching band was awesome. Was it the Noise Brigade? (Forgive me for my ignorance.) I saw a lot of familiar faces, a lot of fellow activists from many peace marches in the past. I was touched again by the love of the people of San Francisco and their dedication to end the war. God knows I love this city. It’s not the best place to raise kids so I don’t plan to live here as much as I otherwise would. But I can really relate to the spirit of San Francisco.
I was born and raised in Moscow. I’ve lived in many different cities since then. I loved many of them, but San Francisco is more intimately close to me, even though there is so much that needs to be healed and changed here. Having been deeply immersed in the hippie culture of the Grateful Dead tour and other jam bands, and having allowed it to deeply heal and change my life, I can say that I feel one with the hippie spirit that is still alive in this city even if disguised and hidden. The city streets reflect our internal moods. I see a lot of pain here. Yet behind the sadness and the vulnerability of this city there is so much love. There are so many loving and giving people here. Their smiles, their affectionate words, the love light in their eyes are so hope giving, so magical. We are only human, no more and certainly no less. It’s so inspiring to see people come back to these peace marches. We haven’t given up. So many people went back to apathy and denial. But not everybody. There are still a lot of people who are determined to manifest the dream. The crowd is so mixed, different races and nationalities, marching together and singing for peace. This is my dream come true. I used to dream this beautiful colorful crowd singing, chanting, expressing anger and sadness, demanding peace on earth. This is the beginning of the world that I’ve dreamed of creating.
My favorite part of the march was a huge flag made of different flags that was carried horizontally by, I believe, “Latinos contra la guerra” (Latinos against the war). Happy music was playing and children were happily running and jumping under that big world flag. More and more kids joined the fun as the march progressed. I don’t know if this was originally intended or was it spontaneous? But what a powerful statement, our children together under that big flag representing unity and happy coexistence of all nations. The big flag was raised and lowered every so often making the kids under it scream in ecstasy. Carrying the front of the flag was a Latino man with a warm smile and a T-shirt that read:”Nadie es illegal” (“No one is illegal”) I am so proud of San Francisco’s pro-immigrant-rights stand. Our city is really in touch with what it means to be human. San Franciscan peace movement is not divided on the very important issues of immigration, gay rights, women’s rights. We are strongly pro-human. Human spirit is deeper and bigger than nationality, gender, and sexual orientation. If you are in touch with the human spirit you will not get stuck in the shallowness and ego-centeredness of discrimination. Discrimination is a blatant sign of soullessness, of being out of touch with your own soul and the souls of others. I love San Francisco for its soul.
And there was also something that deeply upset me, as always, at so many of these peace rallies. I have a lot of respect for Richard Becker, the main organizer of ANSWER. He always has something sincere and real to say. This man definitely knows compassion. His voice and his words always touch my heart. But I have to say that I don’t always care for his choice of speakers. Some of them are great, and others make me sick. I am sure many people will get mad at me for saying this, but it makes me sick when a mother of a soldier gets on that stage and starts playing victim and blaming Bush for her son’s death. How would you people feel if a Nazi mother got on stage and started playing victim? Well, what’s the difference between the Nazis and the US Military? I will tell you one big difference. The Nazi soldiers were drafted, many against their will. The US soldiers enlisted voluntarily. They sold their souls for dollars, for college degrees (supposedly), for comfortable sofas in front of TVs, for status quo. Or is it that their rage against the world was so blinding that they believed pathetic transparent lies told by Bush? What kind of values would you have to be raised with to believe that it is right to carpet bomb people because of one bad guy who is supposedly hiding there? Obviously, American lives are by far more important than any other lives. Is this not fascism? So here is this mother who sent her son to kill people overseas. Don’t tell me that she didn’t know he had a gun on him when he went. She though he would go to war, murder thousands of people, come back covered in medals from head to toe and she wouldn’t even have to pay his college tuition. She had it all planned out. If her son returned unharmed she would be proud of him and continue voting for Bush, I bet. But as it turns out when you kill people they don’t like it. And sometimes they kill you. What a surprise! I suppose Bush was supposed to explain to her that in a war people don’t just kill but can also get killed.
Look, I have compassion for the soldiers too. I understand that anyone can make a mistake. But I only respect the soldiers who take responsibility for their mistakes and who come back and become peace activists. I have no respect for soldiers who murder innocent people and expect everybody to respect them and feel sorry for them because they didn’t get away with murder.
As for military mothers, I have some questions. If your son joined the gangs and murdered people in your town in order to pay his college tuition would you be proud of him? What if he joined the biggest gang in the world called the US military and murdered a lot more people but overseas, then what? Oh, well, then the picture is totally different. He is a hero and you are a victim, right?
What kind of abuse did you put your son through that he thinks nothing of picking up a loaded gun and aiming it at a human being he had never met before? If he did this in your town his behavior would be called sociopathic. He would be on the most wanted list. But he put on a military uniform first and then murdered a bunch of people. Oh, yeah, this is called “patriotism”. I was raised in communist Russia. The concept of patriotism was so exploited there, it was to the point that people felt like puking whenever they heard that word on TV or radio. I learned very early that “patriotism” equals “fascism”.
What is “patriotism”, really? Does it not imply separation from the rest of humanity? Does it not imply division based on nationality? Does it not imply putting your nation above other nations? Then how is it different from fascism? The only difference between Nazi German army and the US army is that the US army hasn’t been officially exposed yet. Hitler is dead and his regime has fallen. Bush (or should I say Cheney?) is still alive and the regime hasn’t fallen yet. But believe me, as soon as Bush regime falls (and it will happen) his deeds will be in the history books right next to Hitler’s deeds and his army will be right next to the Nazi army. Germany learned from its mistakes. German people took responsibility and because of that were able to change and transform into a much more peaceful nation. They are still paying life long pensions to Jews who even remotely suffered from the holocaust. And that is great, such level of responsibility.
America needs to find its heart and its true power. True power comes from the heart, it comes from love. America needs to stop lying to itself and playing victim. Many Americans have already transitioned to that place of power that comes from the heart. But it will take a nationwide awakening for America to be able to live at peace with itself and with the rest of the world.
Watch my TV shows discussing the psychological and spiritual origins of war:
War and peace part 1
War and peace part 2
War and peace part 3 (with photos from Iraq)