Thursday, January 12, 2012

UUs Join Vets' "Eat In" at Babylon Restaurant in Lowell

Table of folks from the UUCiA
This past Tuesday, January 10, several folks from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover joined Veterans for Peace and North Parish in an "Eat In" to show support and solidarity with Babylon, an Iraqi-owned restaurant in Lowell.  (I took the picture to the left, which shows some of the UUCiA folks who were there that night.)

What was the reason for the "Eat In"?  Last week, in the middle of the night, someone threw a very large stone (20 lbs) through the window of Babylon.  This was, of course, disturbing and intimidating for the Iraqi immigrants who own and work at the restaurant.

Pat Scanlon (right), talking here with a vet of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pat Scanlon, a Unitarian Universalist himself (member at North Parish), is the Coordinator of the Smedley D. Butler Brigade of Veterans for Peace, and he organized VFP and (in turn) local UUs to participate in the action, standing on the side of love.  (In fact, here's a write up from the Standing on the Side of Love site: click here.  There's a great photo there of the Rev. Lee Bluemel and the folks from North Parish, taken by Lowell Sun photographer Julia Malakie.)  Pat Scanlon is also a member of the Merrimack Valley People for Peace, an organization dear to many at the UUCiA and North Parish.  I snapped the photo of Pat above.

The story got wonderful coverage.  There was a front page story by Robert Mills in the Lowell Sun; click here to read. (More photos by Malakie here.)

There was lots of Internet and blog buzz about the story, including this piece by blogger CR Krieger: click here to read and see his pictures.

I am holding flags, with Leyla from Babylon Restaurant. (Credit: Julia Malakie)
To the right is a "Twit pic" taken once again by Malakie; I am the one in the yellow Standing on the Side of Love hat and Veterans for Peace coat/flag (I'm Secretary of the local VFP chapter). Also in the picture is Leyla, part of the Babylon Restaurant family.

Of all the coverage, perhaps the most incredible thing is the coverage the "Eat In" received from Rachel Maddow, who did a feature on it as a "best new thing in the world with zero percent politics".

At the end of this post, below, please click on the video of the clip from the Rachel Maddow Show.  Toward the end of the clip are some photo stills.  The first still shows folks from the UUCiA -- you might recognize the faces from the picture at the top of this post!  A photo still shortly thereafter shows folks from North Parish.  How about that?