[OPE-L:5995] a walk through the park

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Sat Sep 22 2001 - 17:09:23 EDT

A sunny day in New York -- and a hopeful one.

A while ago I walked to Union Square to go to the
Farmers' Market that they have on Saturdays on the
W. side of the Park.  As I passed by the park, I saw
some incredible, beautiful, and poignant sights. 

There were the 'usual' sights: posters with haunting
pictures of the 'missing', candles, flowers and posters
that read "Mourn the Dead". But there was more:

As I entered the Park, I heard gospel singers and Hare Krishnas. 
There was a classical band playing
which reminded me -- due to their appearance and
music selection -- of the band that played while the
"Titanic" was sinking.  Most poignant musically, 
perhaps, was a young woman who played soothing 
chords on the harp surrounded by a silent and
contemplative crowd. 

Thousands of people were walking through the park reading 
the posters. My eyes brightened as I read them.

There were lots of religious messages, but they were
mostly in theme ANTI-WAR and ANTI-RACIST.

For instances, there were banners that read:

"Please don't hurt our Muslim neighbors"

"War can't heal our wounds. Only peace can heal"

"War is terrorism"

"NY loves Peace. Hate crimes are crimes"

""Peace - yes; Revenge - No"

"Act now to Stop War and End Racism"

"Stop the backlash against Arab-Americans"

"What would Gandhi do?"

"'Only light can drive out darkness' - MLK, Jr."

There was also a reproduction of an AP photo hanging from a fence 
which read: "Iranian women holding a candlelight
vigil in Mother Sq. in Tehran 9/18 in memory of the
victims of the attack ....".

And, in a throw-back to the 1960's:

"Love & Peace"

"Give peace a chance".

There were some pro-war messages (like "Don't be
fooled by protestors -- Anti-War = Anti-Justice")
but they were in a distinct minority overwhelmed by
anti-war and anti-racist sentiment.

As I left Union Sq with a bag of apples, I ran into a
former student of mine named Lisa who was in a
class I taught on "Urban Economics". She is a
physical therapist training to be a nurse and had
just returned from three days at ground zero giving massages
to rescue workers. She described her work as "hard".
I mentioned to her and some of her friends that I
was encouraged by the signs in the Park. Two of her friends
said that last week there were even more banners and crowds. 
I didn't hear about that on the news, though: did you?

As I walked home, I passed a shop with a poster that 
read: "I love NY more than ever" with a picture of an 
apple with what looked like it had a wound in the SW corner.
I nodded my head in approval. 

The politicians and the media beat the war drums. The
people of New York City, however (if Union Square
is any indication) feel grief rather than hatred and seek peace. 

In solidarity, Jerry

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