Monday, June 9, 2008

Homeless in Seattle & Noa Noa

Last night I slept again in a tent on City Hall Plaza in protest of the inhumane sweeps of homeless encampments on public land. The lives of homeless people are endangered by the destruction of their survival gear, done in the name of "public safety" and "hygiene." This morning that protest was followed by a civil disobedience. Fifteen of the protestors obstructed a downtown street in Seattle, a street that just happens to lie precisely between the offices of the mayor and the county executive.

First, there was a memorial service conducted by Women In Black of Seattle. They read the names of 283 people who died on the streets in King County from 2000 to date.

Homeless remembrance Service, Seattle

In the Polynesian traditions a law (taboo) can be broken only if rituals are carefully followed. It's called Noa Noa in some places. Sometimes translated as Freeing, or Release, or, Declaration of Freeing. The rituals demand a statement of purpose, and the invocation of the god governing the taboo, petitioning for release from it. That's exactly what you see in the next video, plus initial arrests.

Stand Against the Sweeps

The rest of the arrests, including a scene in which Anitra, my woman, appearing in the role of a hooded gang banger, is processed for arrest outside of an SPD bus, while I explain to someone that her being arrested and me filming is all part of the plan. "Division of labor" as I call it. Her arrest was well planned by the Real Change Organizing Project, and was joined by participants from SHARE/WHEEL, Women in Black, and members of the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness, and others.

The Usual Suspects

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