On Wednesday evening, March 10th, Karl Rove gave a talk to push his new book, Courage and Consequence, at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. About a dozen people picketed outside with a banner, posters and leaflets identifying Karl Rove as a war criminal and calling for his prosecution. Many of the passersby had been unaware of his presence in their community. For the people going in to the Y for a number of events and activities taking place that night, this was also a surprise – for some, not a pleasant one. The following is a report from a World Can’t Wait activist who went inside the event.
By Richie Marini
It’s kind of a surreal feeling to be sitting inside an auditorium with a few hundred people who decided to buy a ticket for a night out to hear someone speak who is responsible for the death of over one million people. As if the metal detectors and x-ray machines on the way in weren’t enough there are security officers in every corner of the room continually scanning the audience along with a wall of police officers, with flex-cuffs dangling from their belts, lined up in the back of the auditorium. It’s a true testament to the system of oppression under which we live when city-paid police officers are ordered to protect a war criminal with my tax dollars.
As I sit there for a few minutes listening to the moderator introduce Karl Rove as an "architect," a "good man," I feel disgust overwhelm me. I know that if I try to disrupt these lies and scream the truth I will be repressed instantly. Photographers and reporters are taking pictures of Rove as if he’s a rock start. Video cameras have him focused in their lenses and the audience is listening to him justify, in his and their minds, the genocide of over one million people.
"What’s wrong with you? This man is a war criminal!" I scream out with all my might while unfurling a banner that was hidden in my jacket which read ”Consequences of Lying: One million+ dead in Iraq." "This man should be in jail. Others have committed lesser crimes and spent their lifetimes in jail. He should be prosecuted for war crimes," I continued to scream. I then noticed him shake and put down his head as if I’m a petite little creature who doesn’t understand the realities of the world. The security guard is
standing next to me with his hands out as if he’s blocking me from the stage and the audience starts yelling at me, "You idiot sit down, let him speak".
I’m taken aback by this reaction. Let a war criminal speak? Hell no! I continue yelling "war criminal" and throw my banner at the stage and start to escort myself up the aisle where I’m greeted by a police officer who escorts me the rest of the way out. Cameras are now panned to me and the program has stopped and I continue to yell "war criminal" and point at Karl Rove. I’m in the hallway now with police officers surrounding me and I notice them also kick out a reporter who was photographing the event. I learned after that they kicked him out for photographing me disturbing the event. They couldn’t have the fact that there are people out there calling Karl Rove a war criminal in the news so they threw out the news reporter too.
I just can’t comprehend why someone who created over four million refugees and is responsible for the death of over one million people is allowed to travel around and profit from it. I don’t understand why people sit back and allow this to happen. I for one, will not be silent and I can only hope that if Karl Rove ever comes to a town near you – you will speak up too.