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COLUMN

If Even Rain Deters You...

Guest Column
Jefferson Parker

I would like to relay my thoughts on a personally disturbing event that I witnessed the other night. I was heading to the T station in Harvard Square at the “pit” entrance. On the benches outside the station, a peace demonstration was being held. There were probably 50-60 people ranging from their late teens to early twenties gathered around a young man who cheered about how war won’t solve anything in the fight against terrorism; don’t slaughter the innocents, etc. This is all fine and good, but that didn’t bother me. What bothered me was the rain. OK, it was actually a stiff drizzle, but that is not the point. There was water falling from the sky.

What bothered me was the demonstrators leaving. Since I am not telepathic any more, I can only assume they were leaving because it was raining. They left the demonstration for which they had gotten dressed up in their peace sign stickers and had made their glitter-coated signs on multicolored poster board, because it was raining. Raining water from the sky.

I was bothered and maybe even angered by this because rain is pretty harmless. OK, it makes non-colorfast dyes run, but that isn’t so terrible. It shouldn’t fade your resolve on a matter that is important to you. It shouldn’t make you leave something that you believe in, like peace, or war, or freedom of speech, or your right to eat marshmallows.

Rain shouldn’t break up a demonstration. Not now, not ever. So I ask you, and the demonstrators who went home, and the demonstrators who got wet, and the readers, and I especially ask myself: what will it take to make you go home? Will you leave when it rains? How about when it snows, because it does that sometimes around here. I might head in during a Nor’easter; let’s face it, an umbrella just won’t do the trick then. What about when the police show up? What if they bring dogs, and sticks, and shields, and the plastic handcuffs that cut into your skin because there are too many people to use the pinching metal ones? What if they come with gas?

What if they come with guns? Will you go home, or will you stay and stand up for what you believe is right?

Jefferson Parker is a graduate student in the Department of Biology.