On Dec. 10, I was part of a very moving and spiritually uplifting rally organized by the National Council of Churches. It was a cold morning at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across from United Nations headquarters, but the camaraderie quickly warmed me. Clergy of different denominations and members of social action organizations took turns reading prepared statements making connections between the declining quality of life here in the U.S. and the war policies of this administration, especially targeting Iraq.
When we refused to leave the steps of the U.S. Mission to the UN, four of my comrades, I and 95 others were arrested, and charged with disorderly conduct. We were held at the 17th precinct for approximately four hours and then given citations which require us to appear in court in the near future.
Although I was assured our arrests would be routine – practically orchestrated – I still had an uneasy feeling, especially when I was handcuffed and led into a police van. While being held in the cell with all the others I couldn’t help thinking about what abuses might have taken place here. When I expressed this to one of the men who shared this cell he reminded me that we were being treated very well and with respect because we were among the privileged. He went on to say that he had been arrested before at a rally with students and the experience was starkly different.
The uneasy feeling was alleviated only because we made the best of the situation. We all introduced ourselves and some shared their stories of resistance. A Catholic priest said it is ‘the obligation of the ministry to integrate and make the connection between oil and the lifestyles of our constituents,’ to ‘preach’ this connection and show that there is another way than protecting, by force, the oil which is so tied into our economy and really holds us hostage, preventing us from moving forward.
I was happy to leave, but it was the necessary thing to do.
Gabe Falsetta is a member of the Internet Department of the Communist Party USA. He can be reached at email@example.com