* “Die-in” street theater along the beach was very powerful and reached many hundreds.of spectators.* The model drone was a great way to engage people in conversation about the realities of drone warfare.* The military recruiting effort at the Air Show was widespread and extremely offensive. Lego kits to make toy Lego weapons and toy army helmets were being given away at the recruiting tables. An announcer described events at the Air Show and this was blasted to all the spectators from speakers up and down the lakefront. It included a constant glorification of the military. I felt like the Air Show is used for military propaganda. I noticed corporate sponsors included Boeing. I’m so glad our peace contingent was there.- An activist who is a school teacherThe drone model did attract a lot of people who probably wouldn’t have stopped for anti-war protesters alone. Some people knew quite a bit about drones and were alarmed about them, while others repeated the line that they’re okay because they “save American lives.” We had a lot of conversations about what’s wrong with that! But most were almost completely ignorant, so our 4 page brochure was important.One young graduate student from Pakistan came over to the drone model expecting to meet US military personnel explaining how great they are. He was so taken aback to find us with our enlarged pictures of victims of drone attacks calling for an end to drone warfare and wars for empire, he took pictures and said he was sending them to friends in Pakistan as we spoke. He also contributed to help pay for our expenses.In addition to our anti-drone brochure, we also distributed 100s of copies of our We Are Not Your Soldier flyer, “Want to end wars? Sick of recruiters? Start in Your School!”The die-in was great! The message was powerful and provocative. While some who disagreed with our message chanted “USA! USA!,” other people applauded each time we finished (the die-in was done at least 10 times up and down the beach AND in front of the recruiters’ stands) and some people came up to find out more about what we were doing.One woman thanked me and said her daughter was getting out of the military after 20 years and she (the daughter) was disgusted with all the lies and propaganda about the wars, which they both thought were “unwinnable.” She said she had been a Republican, then supported Obama and now realized none of them would end these wars.Several of the young Occupy Chicago people told me that they had never really thought about what the A&WS represented but becoming active in Occupy had helped them “connect the dots” and now the glorification of war machinery made them sick and they were so glad to be part of this protest. One young woman wrote, “I’m so proud of OCCUPY CHI people today who came out and supported this action and I am also glad I was able to be part of it with you. It was especially important to me as a daughter of a Vietnam Veteran who died of Agent Orange.”- A Chicago World Can’t Wait Activist
Chicago will witness the annual Air & Water Show this weekend. Weapons of mass destruction will screech across the sky and military recruiters will prowl for ‘warm bodies’ among the hundreds of thousands who come for an afternoon at the beach.
On Saturday, Aug 18, Chicago World Can’t Wait, Occupy Chicago, No Drones Illinois, Protest Chaplains, Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ and many friends will challenge this glorification of war for empire and engage thousands who will be there. Dynamic political theater, interactive art, and the counter-recruitment message of We Are Not Your Soldiers will turn the biggest day of the year for military recruiting into a day for mobilizing to stop these wars for empire.
Meet us at the west end of the North Avenue bridge on Saturday afternoon, August 18, any time between noon and four pm. Come earlier if you can. Look for our 8′ tall replica of a Reaper drone!
Join our event on Facebook and invite your friends – Help us expose the reality of death and destruction for empire that these weapons mean to the people of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and the growing list of people targeted – without any due process – on President Obama’s ‘kill list.’