Monday, September 24, 2007

Political Demonstrations

Yesterday afternoon I got to go to a concert by Guitar Slim. Good heavens, this man knows how to play the Blues! Really good. If you like Blues then buy one of his CDs. I have 3.

On the news I have seen many really large demonstrations. I guess for civil rights and ending the Vietnam war Washington, D.C. used to see thousands of people in these demonstrations. I have only been personally involved in a few political demonstrations.

Once before the war ended I marched in a demonstration in El Paso carrying a sign. The CIA guys in dark glasses were there, and they took my picture several times with their really nice Nikon 35 mm cameras, and General William Westmoreland was only about 15 meters (50 feet) away. He established eye contact with me and held it for several seconds.

Once in London, a couple of days after Tieneman Square, I watched and sort of participated in a very large demonstration. But mostly I was there as a tourist. I didn’t even know what had taken place in Bejing.

After hearing Guitar Slim I drove over to the west side of El Paso where there was what to me was the largest demonstration I have ever been involved in. Here in El Paso, Texas the large and heavily polluting ASARCO copper smelter wants to re-open. There were probably 5,000 participants there. Maybe more. It was an interesting group of people. Virtually everyone was either in their late teens to early twenties, or old farts with grey hair who remembered how terrible the air pollution was prior to the smelter closing down.

The mayors of El Paso and Anthony were there as anti-ASARCO demonstration participants. I met a guy who teaches linguistics at UT El Paso and had a nice chat. The artist Hal Marcus was also there.

The neatest guy I met was a fellow who had a long full grey beard much like my own. His name sounded like “Q” the evil fellow on Star Trek, but I finally got it right as Pew. Like myself he grew up in El Paso, and recently lived 20 years in Europe working. He lived in Germany about 50 miles east of my house in Cologne, Germany. He worked for the symphony there. He had also worked for the one in Frankfurt. I really can’t say I am a real symphony buff, but I have attended symphonies at the opera houses in Liege, Belgium, Cologne and Frankfurt. Another example of “Wow, what a small world.”

After the demonstration was finished and I was driving away I took this picture.