This years annual protest at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as School of Americas, and sarcastically by the folks on the inside as School of the Julios, was a little less then in the past, which gives rise to the argument that there is a professional class of protestors in this country. Apparently there simply weren’t enough to cover the OWS protests and this one also. That is due in part also to the decreasing numbers of hippies from the sixties still capable of making it on the pilgrimage.
For years, the question on the closing day of the annual SOA Watch protest has been not whether demonstrators will be jailed after trespassing onto Fort Benning, but how many.
The number of activists staging acts of civil disobedience was 85 as recently as 2002, but had dwindled to just four last year. On Sunday, authorities said only one person scaled the fence separating the military post from the crowd of protesters calling for the closing of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, underscoring the event’s diminished participation this year.
Martin Sheen, who played a president on television once, managed to make a guest appearance at this years quorum.
Sunday’s event featured an appearance by actor Martin Sheen, who excited the crowd with an impassioned address. He quoted Robert F. Kennedy and recited “Where the Mind is Without Fear,” the poem by Nobel Prize laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
Having had the misfortune to endure a few of these hippie hate fest filled gatherings in person, which even back then were not that spectacular for all of the press coverage they got, these events will continue to be nothing more then a nostalgic reunion of sorts for the aging hippies to get together and share a toke together in remembrance of their brethren who are environmentally friendly compost for somebodies community organic vegetable garden.