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Letter to Parents from Wife/Mother of Two Arrested at Pershing Park
My Dear Fellow Americans,
Let me tell you what was done on Friday, September 27th. It was done in your name in your capitol city to your children.
They are so young and so idealistic that they still believe in the preposterous notions we taught them in kindergarten. They still believe in peace and justice.
They are so young and so energetic that they can still sing, dance, drum, march, build beautiful banners and puppets, create street theater, and yes, express rage.
They were doing all this for you. They are trying to tell you that you have lost your way. To point out to you that you are actually discussing as a rational proposition that we bomb a small country as a “preventative” measure. They want you to see that this proposition is the negation of every moral principle that stands between us and utter chaos.
They spoke to you with dancing and singing and beating on drums. (So young and so beautiful!) They obeyed the orders of the policemen, those policemen you taught them to run to if they were afraid. They followed the rules. “You have a right to speak freely and to assemble to express your grievances.” Isn’t that the rule you taught them?
Let me tell you what the nice policemen did. They said, “don’t go over there with your protests. Come over here into the park.” Your children obeyed them. Then they said “Go further into the park. Stand close together. Do not move. No, you may not leave.” Then they bound their arms behind their backs with plastic straps, tight. Then they loaded them onto the buses, and transported them across the river. There they were kept, bound and seated, for fourteen hours. Some of them cried. Some pleaded. Mostly they sang songs and played games to encourage one another.
After midnight they were taken from the buses into the large gymnasium of a police training building. There they were strapped into plastic shackles: left-wrist-to -right ankle. They could not stand or kneel. They were kept in this position for another fourteen hours. Because they are young and strong and loving they kept one another’s spirits up.
The police are “the law” isn’t that right? The “law” told your children that they had to pay a fine and sign a paper admitting that they had “failed to obey”. If they didn’t they would be kept in the gymnasium in the painful shackles for two more days, until Monday. Perhaps because you raised them right, but more likely because the young are also vulnerable, they believed and signed.
I saw many of them sobbing as they left.
I was there to pick up my daughter on Saturday afternoon. along with her father, my husband. He was corralled and cuffed and transported from the park too. He was dressed in his best navy blue pinstripe business suit. He just came for an hour, the park being just a block from his office. He likes to go with her to encourage her to participate in these demonstrations “legally” so as not to go to jail. It has been so painful to us when she has been jailed in other protests. He’s “elderly” though he’d never answer to that description. He’s sixty-nine and a half. Bad knee. Poor circulation. Although he’d be quick to point out that he can still jog four miles or play a round of handball. He was shackled for fourteen hours as well. Left wrist to right ankle.
So my Dear Fellow American parents, I hope you have some tears left to shed for your children. We’ve shed so many this year. They are your better selves. They still believe that you can be “good”. If you do not allow them to speak, if you refuse to listen, what measurement will you use to judge the morality, or even the wisdom of your actions? Ignore these voices at your own peril. It is never the “other” who is our greatest threat. It is us.
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