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Asphalt Strawberry: News

Family Gathering
The Anti-War March in San Francisco, January 18, 2003

Woke up at 8:00am and had a grapefruit, tangerine, chai and peanuts. Checked the e-mail, posted my friend's peace song on the web. Tried to print the other peace poster grid of 12 posters, but printer is too slow. Threw together the flyers, snack kit, African bell, and camera and biked down to Berkeley BART.

Anti-War March in San Francisco, January 18, 2003

Click here for larger image


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Family Gathering: 120,000 March in San Francisco

Kerry Richardson

Arrived at Embarcadero Station in San Francisco after a very crowded BART ride from Berkeley. Lots of people at 11am. Walked down Market sidewalk for several blocks and still couldn't see the beginning of the parade. Market street is completely packed and not moving at all. I climb on a concrete trash bin and take a set of photos to be assembled in a panoramic view of Market street, completely packed with people and anti-war protest signs as far as the eye could see in both directions.

Walked back to Embarcadero and started drumming. Lots of strong anti-war statements in the people's signs. The march slowly starts moving forward. We're drumming and moving forward but all I can see is a sea of people in front and behind. People are in great spirits. Street theater performers mime all sorts of scenes from bombed-out starving mothers and their children to bloody-handed executives, and white-gowned fairies and earth maidens with wreaths of leaves and flowers around their heads. Street theater also act out the plight of Immigration and Naturalization Service detainees, bound and gagged. People from all walks of life are there. Lots of cell phones, cameras and video cameras. Lots of groups march together with coordinated signs expressing different angles on the reasons against the U.S. administration's war plans against Iraq and other parts of the world, as well as other wars in the world. The drumming works well when really grooving, and I'm always shifting position within the moving collections of drummers intersecting each other, trying to bridge the gaps between conceptions of where the beat really is. Sometimes holding the bell high to give everyone a chance to hear the tick-tock of long-worn wood stick on hand-crafted gonkogi bell. Drummers face in in several layers on the sidewalk, chanting songs of peace while the marchers slowly move by in the street. After a long time drumming and stopping with some break pattern, the crowd does a sustained "ahhh" and "oooooo" for a couple of minutes.

I see the earth woman again who is friendly and strokes my beard, and my hand slides down her braid. I want to see her again, but where? When? Could this be a love long lasting and savory, waking every morning with that bright light in our eyes? We could lope up woody hills and have juicy fruit.

Got a refreshing fruit and soy juice at a store on Market. Then back to the drumming, coming up to play with the swirling white dancing ensemble, where Namita gives me a wonderful caress. Then off she goes again. We could have a picnic in a sunny meadow.

Drumming, crazy, with a funky collection of saxophones and trumpets. It just seems endless, towering buildings on either side. Out from the morning shadows of the taller buildings, the crowd makes another spontaneous long swelling cheer for joy with the warmth of the sun. I see Mika and trade my bell for his hefty Brazilian surdu bass drum, a weight slung around the shoulder, two wooden sticks, and a small bell and mini-drum attached. A different end of the spectrum, the surdu drives the rhythm from the bottom with hip accents pulsing with the heart of the dancers.

We near the plaza, groups form spontaneously, no longer marching but enjoying the music, sun and resting moment. 50,000 people are already packed in the plaza listening to the Anti-war speeches and music. I roam looking for Mika to return the drum. I see so many friends and get involved in more drumming in a house-bus and over by the electronic trance music of Dr. Spook in the center of a densely packed pumping set of one of San Francisco's musical specialties.

Then Mika appears and my load is lightened. I go roaming again, just looking for friends. It is a great time relaxing, just seeing the sea of faces. The plaza is packed and the speakers passionate. Another DJ is playing funky lounge electro at the corner. A string of barbeques fills the air with hearty aromas. I round my way down by the booths with vendors of brainy political papers, books, newspapers, organizations, with a couple t-shirt and button vendors. Still not many familiar faces to be seen.

Back to the quiet side of the plaza and climbed on top of a bus to take another panoramic photos series, scattered groups in recovery after an invigorating march. Young folk are lined up on the gently rocking curved yellow top of the bus. A strong guy helps me climb up the side of the bus. I'm a little wobbly on top, feeling much too tall and stepping nimbly between the others to find a spot to do the photo shot. People look pretty small and sparse from this back side of the plaza.

Busloads of out of towners gathering for the ride home. Some friends and I make our way towards the BART and I stop and get a spicy hot chai from a young woman with a backpack and a small cooler. This was a powerful event for a gathering of the global family, to work on a pressing issue of misguided government, and to celebrate a unity and openness of expression and love. Love.

Home again and assembling photos of the day and some recent paintings of our earthly existance in states of pollution and creatures in joyous sunshine.

Surfing the web's diverse news and worry how sad the lives of the certain news media must be, daily fabricating lies and half-truths so that the masses will continue to live in fear until the incredible pyramids of gold and power are sealed and the facade crumbles away. Clearing away the rubble is on everyone's chore wheel.

Hi love. Let's go for a picnic and dance in sunlight. My love is so shy, I have some kind of media-induced disease with love. My eyes fall away from yours because of the constant brainwashing. What is happening with the women I see? What are they seeing in their mind and what is the reality once I start to talk and touch, sound and dance?

More anti-war protest stories and photos at Independent Media Center:

Action sites: ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

[Asphalt Strawberry]