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    A stream of consciousness from the brain of B.K. DeLong

    07/27/2004

    Mr. Kerry, Tear Down this Wall!

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 12:05:18 am

    My son & wife are home. YAAAAAAAY! So before I depart for the evening I’ll leave you with this gem from Jim Atkinson.

    I was recently able to examine the so called “Free Speech Zone” located near the Fleet Center in Boston, MA at the site of the Democratic National Convention. I walked around the outside perimeter, and I walked around inside of it.

    What I saw was an absolute abomination, not only to the eye, but also to the very spirit of our nation. This cage should never be torn down, and should be preserved with a museum built around it to signify just how low we as a nation have fallen. This area and the surrounding land was once the birth site of democracy, patriotism, and freedom. This sacred ground has now been sullied with this contraption and it’s significance.

    It was mere feet to the South that the Boston Massacre took place, and only a short distance to the North that the Battle of Bunker Hill was waged. To the West of this site we have the Old North Church, where Paul Revere saw the lights that sent him on his ride, and to the East the location where our Colonial forefathers expressed their outrage at King George by dumping his tea into Boston Harbor.

    These locations are not miles, tens of miles, or hundreds of miles from this site, but feet, from where people gave their lives to protect our freedom. The soil directly underneath this so called “Free Speech Zone” contains the blood of those early Americans who had the bravery and faith to stand up for what they believed in, and who were willing to die for it, in turn soaking this very ground with their life’s blood.

    Not far from here are two old Colonial-era graveyards, which contain the mortal remains of those who died fighting for our freedom in the early days of our country. These graves include both rich and poor, sailors and preachers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, both the well-educated and the simple. The markers in this graveyard list patriot after patriot, hero after hero, and yet the United States Government, the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and City of Boston saw fit to desecrate this holy ground with what has become an embarrassment to our entire country.

    When the City of Boston was summoned into court concerning this abomination the Judge could not believe the description that was given, and had to come out of the courtroom to observe it in person. U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock was deeply disturbed and blasted the “Free Speech Zone” in his published decision, and stated that it was “an affront to free expression".

    The “zone” is poorly constructed, no building permit was ever obtained for it; no building inspector every certified it for occupancy. Around the perimeter, this death trap is lined with a highly flammable fabric to hide the protester from public view, and yet no fire extinguishers can be found in the enclosure. Above the “affront to free expression” (as the court has deemed it) the government has positioned soldiers armed with machine guns and chemical weapons to quell any voices that become too unruly, or unmanageable.

    The “Free Speech Zone” does not serve any legitimate security purposes, does not foster “Free Speech", and instead only exists to muzzle the voice of protest, and to try to hide it away under an old decrepit bridge.

    History records that following World War II, the Russian forces began their oppressive occupation of East Germany. Those living on the wrong side of the wall had to suffer under the iron rule of the Communist system, and risked imprisonment or death for speaking out or trying to seek freedom. Between 1949 and 1961 over 2.6 million East Germans escaped to West Berlin. The Communist government could find no way to control this mass exodus. On August 13, 1961 the Soviet Government officially closed the border between East and West Berlin and began building a series of walls through the city. These series of walls came to be known as the “Berlin Wall", and became a black mark in history, noting the Berlin Wall as a structure of oppression. Ironically, the United States considered the Berlin Wall as the centerpiece of the Soviet oppression present in East Germany during the Cold War.

    The Soviet Union permitted three places in this wall where a small number of their “politically correct” citizens could cross into West Berlin, and where diplomats could meet to exchange spies. During the Cold War, the government posted signs at these three checkpoints that said “You are now leaving the American Sector". These same signs, with this same message could now be hung in Boston near the Fleet Center where the DNC convention is taking place.

    On June 12, 1987, the President of the United States of America, the late Ronald Reagan addressed the people of West Berlin, in Germany at the Brandenburg Gate. During this speech, President Reagan called on the leader of the Soviet Union and proclaimed: “Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

    The “Free Speech Zone” is only a few hundred feet from where the DNC candidates will be speaking about freedom, democracy, and the American ethic. This zone can be easily reached from the speakers platform of the convention by walking a few yards to the elevator, going down one floor, take a left though the glass doors to the street level, and then take a right to walk along the media pavilion. Directly ahead, and across the street will be the area in question… it is hard to miss as it stands like some monument to oppression, and demonstrates to the entire world that some Americans, and the nation as a whole can, in fact, be muzzled. Is this a message that we as a democratic society wish to convey to the rest of the world, Mr. President?

    I formally ask that both Mr. Kerry, and Mr. Edwards visit the inside of the “Free Speech Zone", and that while visiting that they take a pair of wire cutters and cut a hole in the fence to demonstrate that they support and are willing to defend the Constitution of the United States. Then Mr. Kerry, during the convention have the ones responsible for erecting this contraption tear it down, this wall, this slap in the face of our Constitutional Rights, to Free Speech, to Gather, to Raise our Voices, in OUR own land. We the people…

    “Come here to this wall! Mr. Kerry, open this gate! Mr. Kerry, tear down this wall!”

    James M. Atkinson, 7/24/04
    Gloucester, MA
    jmatk@brain-stream.org
    www.tscm.com

    11 Comments »

    1. Good essay. One minor correction: the Old North Church is east, not west, of the Free Speech Cage.

      Comment by Ron Newman — 07/27/2004 @ 8:58:38 am

    2. Gitmo at the Garden
      Jim Atkinson posted a piece on the openconventionblogging Yahoo forum expressing his profound shock and outrage at the “Free Speech Zone” cage. He exhorts John Kerry to come and “tear down this wall.” (He makes the Berlin analogy; elsewhere I…

      Trackback by BOPnews — 07/27/2004 @ 4:20:45 pm

    3. Gitmo at the Garden
      Jim Atkinson posted a piece on the openconventionblogging Yahoo forum expressing his profound shock and outrage at the “Free Speech Zone” cage. He exhorts John Kerry to come and “tear down this wall.” (He makes the Berlin analogy; elsewhere I…

      Trackback by BOPnews — 07/27/2004 @ 4:23:16 pm

    4. Surely, there’s a way for concerned citizens to draw attention to this… Perhaps a silent sit-in at the Free Speech Zone… Perhaps a webcam showing the area, along with your essay… Let me think about it for a while. I’ll come up with something.

      Comment by Mark Maynard — 07/27/2004 @ 4:35:29 pm

    5. Brad, I read Jim’s essay on the Yahoo forum, and thank you for putting it up here. I’ve put a paragraph on BOP linking to it, but for some reason the trackback didn’t work. I tried!

      Comment by Ellen Dana Nagler — 07/27/2004 @ 4:46:37 pm

    6. Oops. Looks like the trackback did work (I’d gotten an error message), twice in fact!

      Comment by Ellen Dana Nagler — 07/27/2004 @ 4:48:34 pm

    7. Re your comment on BOP, what I said there is: “I bet Brad has to explain to people, sorry, I’m Brad, not Ben, not the technologist! Thanks for pointing out the error.”

      Comment by Ellen Dana Nagler — 07/27/2004 @ 4:53:15 pm

    8. Gitmo at the Garden
      Jim Atkinson posted a piece on the openconventionblogging Yahoo forum expressing his profound shock and outrage at the “Free Speech Zone” cage. He exhorts John Kerry to come and “tear down this wall.” (He makes the Berlin analogy; elsewhere I…

      Trackback by BOPnews — 07/27/2004 @ 6:06:02 pm

    9. Gitmo at the Garden
      Jim Atkinson posted a piece on the openconventionblogging Yahoo forum expressing his profound shock and outrage at the “Free Speech Zone” cage. He exhorts John Kerry to come and “tear down this wall.” (He makes the Berlin analogy; elsewhere I…

      Trackback by BOPnews — 07/27/2004 @ 6:07:15 pm

    10. I paraphrased the same line from Reagan on the same topic ( http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/anderkoo/2004/07/26#a190 ) and of course I agree with you…

      Comment by Anderkoo — 07/27/2004 @ 7:14:03 pm

    11. Simply the best commentary I’ve seen yet on the subject.

      Comment by garym — 07/28/2004 @ 9:21:58 am

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