By Stephen Funk of Dialogues Against Militarism
Dialogues Against Militarism (DAM) is working on report-backs for the first few days of our delegation. We’ve already held several meetings with groups like New Profile, Council of Unrecognized Villages of the Negev, the Shministim, and Coalition of Women for Peace, among others. From these dialogues we have discovered so many similarities in the harmful effects of militarism in Israel/Palestine and in the U.S.
We are making these connections and creating infrastructure and camaraderie so we are better able to work together across international borders and link our common struggles. Check back here and here every few days for updates.
While we still have an exhaustive schedule ahead of us, I’d like to first acknowledge the work and support that has made DAM possible. A series of fundraisers were organized, including house parties, speaking engagements, and concerts. Code Pink organized an ice cream social and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) dedicated a Winter Soldier to the subject of military resistance. We created events that were in themselves working against militarism, and San Francisco IVAW (a chapter of many firsts) created the organization’s first drag show and first theater piece. In the first show I debuted Consuelo Sintetas (named after my grandmother), in the second a dozen other veterans joined me to “Make Drag, Not War!” – a night of anti-militarist performances by IVAW members and a talented cast of performers including Suppositori Spelling, Raya Light, Garza, Miss Rahni, Lil Miss Hot Mess, fAction, and SF Boylesque.
As writer, choreographer, and artistic director of the event, I have to admit it was a lot of work to “Make Drag, Not War!” and so many people came together to make it possible. It miraculously went from idea to conception in about two months. The idea just popped into my head one night and I just happened to be meeting with Krissy Keefer of Dance Brigade the next day. She loved it and told me I could use Dance Mission Theater for free on Halloween! That also meant that I had two months to find performers (listed above), find costumes (donated by Theater Rhinoceros), and convince a bunch of [straight] veterans to dress like girls and perform in front of a (packed, oversold) audience next to some of San Francisco’s fiercest top-shelf drag queens. But the fellas did not disappoint, and they not only wore the wigs and heels but gave moving and capable performances. We followed the show with a costume dance party and pulled in much-appreciated money to make DAM happen, which is good because we flew out for Israel the next day.
We’ve received so much enthusiastic support by a diverse list of groups and people for which we wish to express our gratitude. Whenever we shared our hopes for DAM, communities came together to raise money, spread awareness, and in the process began actualizing some of the project’s goals. Now that we’ve begun the work we are relying on continued support and to help spread the word.