P.J. O'Rourke in the current Atlantic
on the growing spate of pointless protest marches:
" And on the Ellipse, behind the White House, the U.S. war on terrorism and Israel's West Bank incursions were being denounced by ANSWER. Act Now to Stop War and End Racism is a group that awes any fan of acronyms. I was distracted from covering their event by an urge to scribble in my reporter's notebook, trying for a one-up: Quotidian Undergraduates Eagerly Supporting Terrorist Internment On Neptune.
According to The Washington Post for Sunday, April 21, "Organizers at the march privately urged their participants to strike swastikas from their posters." They didn't comply. but many of the protest signs had the swastikas turned backward, perhaps in an effort to soften the Nazi reference:
= SHARON =
. Thus some placards could be construed to mean "American Indian decorative motif = the Prime Minister of Israel = Hindu good-luck charm." Jews were in the crowd, JEWS FOR PEACE, read one sign. JEWS SAY NO TO ISRAELI STATE TERROR, read another. A chant went up nearby: "Two, four, six, eight, Israel is a racist state." Diverse advocacies mixed in the crowd. THE RICH MUST SHARE, DOWN WITH CORPORATE CAPITALISM, DESTROY ALL BORDERS, and a giant cardboard turtle labeled MOBILIZE. Everyone got along fine. A young man carried a birch-bark mock-up of a television, captioned "How much of your life is lived through a screen?" Another young man, a representative of something called the Independent Media Center, pedaled through the march on a bicycle equipped with a homemade duct-tape-and-PVC-pipe rig that held a video camera. Messages ranged from the disprovable ("We Are All Palestinians") to the dumbfoundingly true ("Trees are not Terrorists" — although the day before in Washington a tree had blown over in a thunderstorm and killed a passenger in a van).
Some messages conveyed no sense: GIVE ME FREEDOM OR GIVE ME PALESTINE. Some conveyed too much: PRO PALESTINIAN AND PRO ISRAELI HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES. Some messages were open to interpretation. A young woman carried a picture of herself smiling broadly and embracing a large, happy mutt. Written beneath was "My dog has more rights than Palestinians."
Max found campus feminists to interview. One admitted that the Taliban's treatment of women was terrible and said the United States should have done something earlier, "in the name of women."
"Wouldn't that involve war?" Max asked.
"Yeah, it's a tricky one," the feminist said. "There might be some nonviolent approach such as micro-lending.""