Friday, August 29, 2008

Heroes: Then, Now, and Still...

Cynthia Orange

Yesterday at lunch, my husband Michael asked Twin Cities peace icon and Vets for Peace member Marv Davidov who his heroes are today. Without hesitation, he nodded at one of the many Iraq Veterans Against the War who are here holding their own conference in conjunction with the Vets for Peace annual conference. “These young vets are my heroes,” said Davidov. “And my surgeon…”, he added.

Marv, some 70 years young, is still waiting for a kidney transplant. When he first met the doctor who will do the surgery, Marv asked him right off what he thought about the Iraq war. After stating his strong opposition to it, the doctor shared that he had been kicked out of the Air Force during Vietnam for refusing to drop cluster bombs on villages there. “I got kicked out of the Army!” Marv told him. The fact that Marv was the founder of the Honeywell Project—the corporation so infamous for making those horrific cluster bombs—only intensified the bond with his doctor.

Marv showed us a gorgeous book that has just been published about the 1960s freedom riders who rode buses to Mississippi to register southern blacks to vote. Of course Marv (who spent 45 days in a Mississippi jail for his civil rights activities) was one of the featured activists.

That was just one of his over 50 arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience, and he was lamenting the fact that he should probably no longer risk getting arrested because of his health. He has dialysis three times a week but was able to change dialysis days next week—so rest assured he’ll be marching on Sunday with Vets for Peace and on Monday during the RNC.

Through the years and various peace actions, we’ve had the privilege of listening to Marv tell his tales that are dotted with other paragons of peace: The Chicago Eight, Noam Chomsky, the Berrigan brothers, etc. etc. etc. etc.

This place is filled with heroes like Marv—the brave vets and their sisters and brothers in the peace movement, including the Gold Star families, who are also here, grieving together over the loved ones lost to the insanity of this war. They are threads in the colorful tapestry of peace we continue to weave. And in their tireless efforts, a bright hope emerges. . .