An Arching Peace in Vancouver

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As I write this, I can still feel my cheeks tingling from today's warm sun. I feel good inside and out. This march was not a show of defiance, but a show of unity across the Canada-U.S. border.

No Way FTAA Rally
Peace Arch, British Columbia
Saturday April 22

At least two people wore the turtle outfits at the rally, held on the Canada-U.S. border, about half an hour south of Vancouver. These mascots were first presented at the Battle of Seattle. At that demonstration, there had been hundreds of them on the streets - symbols of a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling many believe endangers sea turtles. It brought back good memories, seeing these green costumes here in Vancouver.

There were Raging Grannies, Radical Cheerleaders and Labour Choirs from both sides of the border. Other musicians sang songs of joy and peace, raising our spirits high.

Two Raging Grannies wearing flowery hats posed with several U.S. State Troopers wearing big blue ones of their own. A Granny told me later that she whispered to one of them, "Wanna swap hats?"

As we marched through the Peace Arch, drummers played. Once through the arch, spontaneous dance broke out. The energy really built up - in a peaceful sort of way. It was reminiscent of the Be-Ins I went to at Stanley Park as a young child in the 1970s.

Beside me, I noticed a fellow grooving away on harmonica. I looked up and saw he had a NO TO FAST TRACK sign. It labelled him as an American. I thought to myself, How nice to be side-by-side with progressive Americans, supporting each of our particular national struggles against this trade deal. Then the music drew me in again.

The fact is, we know how to have a lot more fun than the free traders do. Throw a party, and the people will come.

Feeling Left Out?
There are still a few hours for status-contrarians to join the spirit of protest. Go to the Peoples' Summit march on the Internet - a presentation of the Peoples' Summit of the Americas.

Jessie Smith works for RAIN - Real Alternatives Information Network - "Engaging and Educating on Global Issues."
Contact: [email protected]

For more rabble news coverage of the Quebec Summit and its aftermath, please click here.

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