The Other American
July 4 2006 in Rome, Italy
July 4th, Independence Day, means a lot of different things to different citizens of the United States. For most, this holiday has come to mean a long weekend to spend time with family and friends and there usually is a barbequed meal involved, time spent outdoors, oftentimes engaging in sports.
That is how 200 U.S. citizens spent their 4 th of July here in Rome. They were invited to the U.S. Ambassador’s residence at Villa Taverna for a barbeque. (I wonder if this was at taxpayer’s expense?)
Did Ambassador Spogli read that a major hunger strike was being launched in front of the White House in D.C. before feasting? The Troops Home Fast was organized by Codepink and had obtained significant publicity because it involved many well known celebrities. Was he also aware that some of his fellow citizens were in Piazza Navona, keeping a symbolic day fast in solidarity with a much larger national one at home?
From 6-8 pm, on Tuesday July 4th, activists with U.S. Citizens for Peace and Justice-Rome together with Women in Black, Rome, gathered near the Four Rivers fountain in Piazza Navona, to celebrate Independence Day in a different way.
Holding a banner saying, “Troops Home Fast”, bearing both our U.S. Peace flags and PACE ones, equipped with our red, white and blue “No War/Military Occupation” signs, we handed out flyers to people passing by.
We received mixed responses, as is expected. Reactions ranged from refusing a flyer with a, “No, thank you to grumblings about why we were there-- to smiles of agreement and words of appreciation.
Here is a sample of two particularly meaningful conversations that we had-- one with a high school teacher from San Francisco who was actively involved in stop the occupation efforts in her community who was surprised and very glad to see that similar activities were happening in Rome. The other conversation was with a petite, 20 something woman, who identified herself as being in the military. Her question was, did our banner “Troops Home Fast” mean now, or did it mean, to never have gone into Iraq. She left us with the impression that she could support the former but not the latter. We gave her a lot of credit for stopping to engage and she left with a flyer.
We want to give the Donne in Nero Roma, a huge thank you for coming out in equal numbers as us, to further get out the message.
We had an interview that morning with Amisnet, a radio news agency, about our activity and our press release [versione italiana] was published on Liberazione as well as a number of web sites. The following day, an article was published in L’Unita about the 4th of July being celebrated in Rome in different ways and we were featured.
As always, a round of thanks to all those who helped organize for and participated in this event.
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Copyright © 2006 Kathy Ford All rights reserved
U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome, Italy