Sedona, Arizona, USA
Sedona is a small tourist and retiree town of about 17,000 people, while Flagstaff, which is home to Northern Arizona University, has a population of about 61,000 folks. In Sedona, 75 people showed up to voice their opposition to a war with Iraq, They gathered at 10AM on one of Sedona's busiest intersections and waved signs at passing, honking, mostly supportive cars. In Flagstaff, at least 1500 folks gathered at Noon at a park near Flagstaff’s City Hall to hear speeches and listen to peace songs. Following a worldwide trend, the local police reportedly estimated the Flagstaff gathering at 200 people. But having been there myself, I can confirm that this report, if indeed there was one, was grossly inaccurate. There were at least 1500 people that participated in the Flagstaff rally.
After about an hour and a half of listening to songs, hearing speeches, passing out anti-war material, and hooking up with friends, the Flagstaff crowd marched down several streets that were cordoned off by local police. They waved signs, played drums, danced, walked on stilts, road bicycles, pushed baby strollers, sang peace songs, chanted, and yelled peace cheers into bullhorns.
Sedona’s small crowd consisted mostly of middle-aged and retired people and there were no police officers in sight. In Flagstaff, numerous police were on hand to direct traffic and keep a friendly eye on the crowd. The Flagstaff gathering consisted of folks from all levels of society, especially college kids, young parents, and lots of colorful, tie-died hippies, young and old. Contrary to the Sedona gathering, which was more conservative and reserved, the Flagstaff gathering was rambunctious and full of alternative, counter-culture people of all stripes.
As might be expected, I knew many of the people who gathered in Sedona. Some were neighbors, while others were long time friends, like NHNE’s own Vice President, James Gregory (James is the fellow holding the “There Is A Better Way: Inquire Within” sign).
I shot both the Flagstaff
and Sedona rallies using a miniDV camera, and turned some of the footage
into QuickTime movies and photographs to post
on the web. Since there were a lot more people, and a lot more interesting
things happening in Flagstaff, the Flagstaff rally has the lion’s
share of both. I attended the Sedona gathering by myself and was accompanied
by my three daughters in Flagstaff. Since I had to rush back to Sedona
to film a wedding, my daughters stayed behind and filmed the march for
Altogether, I shot about two hours worth of footage in Sedona and Flagstaff. This footage was edited down to a 3 minute movie for Sedona and a 11 minute movie for Flagstaff. The Sedona movie contains shots of locals, their signs, and a few quick interviews, while the Flagstaff movie contains more of everything -- rally songs, clips from speeches, interviews, marching footage, and a stirring “People’s Resolution Opposing A War in Iraq” that Flagstaff Peace Activists wrote, read at the rally, and delivered to local and regional leaders. The smallest version of the Flagstaff movie, which doesn’t allow you to clearly see the colorful signs and happenings, is a whopping 14.9 MB. The largest version weighs in at 29.7 MB, but is much clearer and more enjoyable. I did my best to compress everything down into a short clip that faithfully captured the events of the day, but due to file size concerns, I was forced to leave many interesting things out.
AN IMPORTANT REQUEST: IF YOU END UP DOWNLOADING AND WATCHING THE FLAGSTAFF MOVIE, especially the larger version, PLEASE WRITE ME AND LET ME KNOW IF IT WAS WORTH THE EFFORT. When most of us have broadband connections, it will be easier to use the Net to share movies like this. Until then, I’m not sure it is worth the time and hassle.
In other words, if I receive enough positive feedback, I may try it again sometime soon. Otherwise, we may have to wait until broadband connections catch up with more of us.
What impressed me most about these rallies?
- There were a surprising number of average, mainstream folks who attended both rallies, including many people who had never attended an event like this before.
- The police in Flagstaff were cheerful, good natured, and friendly. This was wonderful to see. Far from being the ominous, threatening presence we often hear about, these officers felt like neighbors and friends.
- Most of the people at the rallies, especially those who served as organizers and speakers, seemed well-informed concerning the various aspects of the Iraq situation.
- Many different minority and special interest groups used the peace rally to empathize with the people of Iraq and, at the same time, champion their particular goals, agendas and perspectives.
- And, finally, I couldn’t
help but notice how a significant number of people seemed blinded by
angry, resentful, and mean-spirited attitudes.
Many signs, for example, were bitter personal attacks on Bush. Strange,
I thought, to see violent, uncharitable thoughts expressed so self-righteously
at a peace rally!
--- David Sunfellow
P.S. Special thanks to Cynthia Sheldon
for letting me know about the Flagstaff rally and Susan Perry for letting
me know about the Sedona
Sedona, Arizona, USA:
Sedona QuickTime Movie (For Modem)
Flagstaff, Arizona, USA:
Flagstaff QuickTime Movie (For Modem)
Flagstaff QuickTime Movie (For Broadband)