Last Wednesday, March 19th, marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S invasion in Iraq. As on previous anniversaries, protestors from all over the country gathered to express their aversion to the war. It seems to me, though, that the nature of these protests has evolved: smaller crowds, more arrests, and certainly more aggressive tactics.
One compelling example came from Syracuse, NY. Protesters created a mock Baghdad street scene with people dressed in camouflage lying “dead” on the ground while others crouched, weeping over the bodies. Twenty people who were participating in this event were arrested for blocking traffic. Right here in DC several more were arrested for jumping barricades put up around the IRS building and sitting in front of the entrance.
Why were there so many acts of civil disobedience this year? Perhaps because protestors feel the need to shake people up! In an article written by the Associated Press for MSNBC, Laurie Wolberton of Louisville, KY (whose son just returned from his first tour in Iraq) believes that American economic problems are causing citizens to forget about the war:
"We're not paying attention anymore," she said. "My son has buried his friends. He's given eulogies, he's had to go through things no one should have to go through, and over here they've forgotten. They just go shopping instead."
Is it true that we’ve become disinterested? If so, what does that mean for a non-violent resistance movement? For people who are passionately against US military involvement in Iraq, the fact that people aren’t listening just means that they have to speak louder. As protesters look for more creative ways to get people’s attention, I wonder if these acts of civil disobedience will become even more prominent in their strategy; and perhaps even escalate into violence.