Vigil at Palazzo Chigi with Articolo 11 / Ostinati per la pace
May 5, 2005
Members of our group joined the Italians at their vigil outside Palazzo Chigi calling for the withdrawal of the troops and an end to the occupation. The following is Stephanie's account of the evening.
This was the third time we had joined Ostinati per la pace for their vigil outside Palazzo Chigi. In fact, we were becoming regulars.
I arrived on time, but things were already set up for the vigil. Peace flags were flying; banners were tied to the railings. It was the first time I had the pleasure of seeing the setup from the outside, from across the square.
I had a few of our signs from the anti war demonstration in March, so we wedged them into the barricade.
Ilaria was there. And we got a chance to meet Walter. From our group we had Marco, Patrick, Stephanie and Judith. Walter had sandwiches, vegetarian and organic, perfect! We spread out some sheets and sat on the piazza and had dinner. Walter and Ilaria went to get some wine.
We talked about our film series and Ilaria filled us in on the Control Arms campaign. At a certain point, a woman walked up and asked how much the peace signs cost, in Italian but with a very definite accent. I took a chance and responded in English. In fact, she was from the United States, California to be exact. Her name was Rose and she was in Rome on holiday. Marco took the opportunity to get some information from her on local California elections.
We explained that the flags were not for sale and where she could get them. And we also explained what we were doing there. I found out from Walter and Ilaria that it wasn't the first time people had stopped by wanting to buy flags.
She was on her way to the Trevi fountain so we gave her directions. She even stopped back by to give us her email address and we put her on the mailing list so she could follow along with what we are doing in Rome. She designs and sells anti war buttons, stickers and other paraphernalia on her site What I Did in the War.
I am now kicking myself for not giving her my flag. It's also quite new as my original one turned black from smog and faded in the sun. But I wasn't thinking.
Later a couple of Judith's friends stopped by. They are members of the choir at S. Paolo entro le mura. We spent some time talking with them as well.
Patrick had just been telling us about a debate at the university regarding Venezuela and Chavez when a group of Venezuelans walked up. They wanted to know what our protest was about, so we filled them in, also regarding the debate.
But the most delightful part of the evening was when Giuseppe arrived, a Neapolitan singer. He entertained us with a number of songs. And he even sang one song for us in Italian.
At 9:45 we realized that Palazzo Chigi had already closed the doors for the night so we decided to call it a night as well. It was a good evening. We met some new friends, drank a little wine, and most importantly, we kept the candle burning.
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