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News ::
TAX DAY mock OCCUPATION in Boston!
17 Apr 2002
Modified: 18 Apr 2002
On April 16th, TAX COLLECTION DAY, numerous
demonstations were held around Boston, protesting the U.S. tax dollars spent on military spending... When one street peformance enacted a mock Israeli occupation, a high tension arose, marking a new powerful mode of demonstration in this community.
On April 16th, TAX COLLECTION DAY, numerous
demonstations were held around Boston, protesting the U.S. tax dollars spent on military spending... The
focus for the organizers was to call attention to the
current imposition of an annual 3.7 billion aid to
Israel. There was a large picketing group at the
Central Square post office, with banners and signs
displaying proclamations, such as "Should our taxes pay for healthcare or destroy Palestinian hospitals?" , and "Another Jew who opposes the occupation". Meanwhile, another group was gathering at the post office at South Station....
Here, many of us gathered and began to hand out
leafletts and set up banners, while waiting for the enormous puppet, "War God", the main attraction of this street performance. When the truck with the supplies
pulled up, we were met by a tax-funded police officer
who was peering into the truck, scanning it for
anything he might decide to be illegal for that day.
He told us we weren't allowed to use the fake guns for
the fake soldiers that had been masterfully created
out of cardboard, because it would "disturb the
public." We were also told that it might be shut down
if we were getting in the way of pedestrians on the
sidewalk.

At 5:30 pm, a rather amusing performance soon ensued in the midst of a brief rush of commuters.. There were about 4 men and women dressed as soldiers, bowing down to the enormous puppet, marked w/ an Israeli flag and "War God" pin, intendending to represent Ariel Sharon. The soldiers were being delivered very haughty orders by the puppet, like "finding all those who hold any bit of dissent to be arrested or shot", and "to collect all the tax dollars from the people so that he may have a magnificent army of ammunition, tanks," ect.. to conquer Palestine. The "soldiers" in typical army decor would then jump up to his every command throughout the performance. They ran up to strangers on the street with their helmets in their hands, begging for money, and asking them if they
would help give them taxes to pay for their war....

One "officer" kept going up to cars, asking them if
they had paid up, were "patriotic to their county...
We need to kill all the Palestinians(slip) I mean
terrorists." The soldiers would then come back with a
bunch of fake bills and put them in Sharon's pocket
and rub them all over his body, while the puppet
sometimes pretended to masturbate to the landfill of
money.. At one point Sharon ordered the soldiers,
"You will now collect more money for my war chest from
the American president.." A soldier then responded,
"Where is he sir?"... "He's in Texas."

At various other intervals, the soldiers would be
ordered to shoot all Palestinians and journalists, as
other actors took part in the scene as peaceful
citizens and occasional stone throwers against rapid
gunfire. "Beware of their high velocity stones,"
roared the arrogant, snooty voice from within the
puppet..."

A large crowd of teenagers had gathered amongst the scene being played out on the sidewalk, and even spung at the opportunity to participate in the unfolding
events... They appeared to be rather perceptive to
this form of political communication. At the end of
Act 1, they were asked by a mock taxpayer if it was
right for us to be spending our tax dollars on this
kind of injustice, and they all yelled "No!" with much
enthusiasm.

The rush hour traffic eventually ceased, so small
groups of demonstators attempted to enter South
Station, where there were tables set up with
assistants to help the public with their tax forms.
The groups of threes and fours were quickly met by security and police, however..
They were escorted out of the building and told that
"banners, leafletting, and filming was illegal in the
MBTA." The sign they were carrying silently through
the station said "Should our taxes build schools or
kill palestinian children?"

After this defeat, the group decided to join up with
other members of groups such as "Boston Citizens for
Palestinian Rights" and "Jewish Women for Justice in
Israel/Palestine" at the Central Square post
office.... They started another performance here at
8pm and went until 9:00, when the post office
officially closed.
The enactment intensified here, as the absence of
police presence enabled them to carry their "guns", while the "soldiers" utilized the crosswalk, during red
lights, to carry out the scene directly into the street. They dragged "dead bodies" across the street
to be buried in "mass graves" and sometimes ran after
"Palestinians" with their guns in their backs.

A lot more pedestrians stopped in Central Square out of bewilderment, outrage, and pure amusement to witness the street theater and accept leafletts and sign
petitions. One leaflett was designed to look like a
check, made out to "The State Of Israel" for 3.75
billion dollars by the "Bank of the Lapsed Conscience"
for military occupation, signed by the one and only
"Uncle Sam". On the back it had specific information
and resources to empower the concerned citizen.

There was one "tax payer" actress, who kept
questioning where her money was going to and would
eventually refuse to give her money to this form of
violence against innocent people. She would send out dramatic wails of dissent and throw all these huge bills up in the air, to exemplify the
wasted funds.

Towards the end of the dramatization, even young
children bystanders suddenly became a part of the
scene... One soldier asked a boy around 9 yrs of age
to... "give him money to kill the terrorists... The
Palestinian children are bad kids... They're terrorist
kids." The boy kept shaking his head, saying "No
they're not.. They're not terrorists."

At the conclusion of the events for the day, the
soldiers all dropped their hats and refused to serve
in the army any longer and peacefully carried signs,
that mostly said, "We join with the other 400 Israeli
soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied
territories."

I was fortunate enough to speak speak with Merrie from
American Arab Anti-Discrimination Commitee at the end of the demonstrations:
"We're seeing a massacre and a strangulation of the
Palestinian people all with 3.75 billion dollars of
American tax money..... This form of street theater
catches some people's attention in a way a flier
won't. It creates a tension. It creates a mode of
motivation for activists. It's a different venue to
explain the same kind of information. We thought it
was important to have multiple ways of explaining and
telling a story that doesn't get told in the
mainstream American media."
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what about
18 Apr 2002
"The Palestinian children are bad kids... They're terrorist
kids." The boy kept shaking his head, saying "No
they're not.. They're not terrorists." "

What about the little ones that get paraded about with submachine guns and fake explosives strapped around their waste? Will you at least admit that their parents are "terrorists"?