PROTEST AT RECRUITING OFFICE SUCCESSFUL
BOSTON - On the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a group of local activists staged a dramatic protest outside the Armed Forces Recruiting Center at 650 American Legion Highway in Roslindale. At noon, the Boston Direct Action Project dumped five gallons of fake blood and then took up positions on the doorstep. The activists portrayed a dead Iraqi woman, her grieving husband, a dead U.S. soldier and his grieving wife.
The action lasted 90 minutes, and there were no arrests. The blood flowed forty feet into the parking lot, attracting scores of local residents. The community was largely supportive, and many onlookers stopped to talk to members of the Project, who handed out informational flyers with suggested alternatives to military service.
"As the occupation of Iraq continues, more people are beginning to resist this illegal, immoral war," said Christian Williams, of Roxbury, a spokesperson for the group. "Over the past two years, we have killed over 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians and over 1,500 U.S. soldiers have died. Our goal today is to bring home the horror and brutality of what's happening in Iraq."
The group demanded that the $5 billion spent each month in Iraq and Afghanistan be used for community needs. "This money could be spent to provide housing, job training, education, and healthcare to people in Boston and across this nation," Williams said. "It's shameful that veterans' benefits are being slashed while billions are spent on war in Iraq."
By focusing on this Recruiting Center, the group sends a strong message to the U.S. military. "Stop recruiting young people from our neighborhoods to die in Iraq," said Williams. "It's that simple. They're lying to our kids about what they're getting into. Support for this war is dropping as deaths skyrocket, and we want to make sure that young Bostonians don't fall for the false promises being offered by military recruiters."
According to the National Priorities Project (www.costofwar.com), Boston taxpayers have spent over $330 million on the Iraq war. This money could have funded 16,000 four-year scholarships to Boston universities, 2800 units of housing, or 5,700 additional public school teachers for one year.
"This war and recruitment policy are racist against the people of Iraq and communities of color here," Williams said.
A Haitian man observing the action spoke with one of the group (in French) saying, "In all wars it is the poor people who suffer and the rich who get the money."
A former Marine drove by and said, "I think it's very effective—I used to be a Marine. A lot of those guys don't want to be over there. A lot of people in the military want to be home with their family, especially since they're just standing there waiting to get shot."
A number of onlookers initially feared the scene was authentic but were quickly assured that it was a dramatization.
A Roslindale resident with his 7-year-old son said, "People don't realize things until they are immediately affected. We don't see this everyday. We can go grocery shopping without worrying about getting bombed on—I don't think war is good at all."
When asked about letting his son witness the scene, he continued, "I was debating whether or not I should let him see it. Maybe they should see it. Maybe more kids should see it. Perhaps we would be less involved [in the war]."
Link to high resolution photos:
Boston IndyMedia Story