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APRIL 2, 2003 · The war in Iraq has drawn protesters on both sides -- against the war and for the troops. Sometimes the two sides face each other as they did the other day in Portland, Ore.'s Pioneer Courthouse Square. On one side was Rachel O'Rourke, executive director of the Oregon Peace Institute, who helped organize a "dead-in" -- antiwar protesters spread out on the ground in an attempt to convey the image of war dead. On the other side, Kathy Erdolf was with a group assembled in support of the troops fighting in Iraq. This is their diary.
Rachel O'Rourke: "Hi, is there a representative from your group or are you guys just all together?"
Kathy Erdolf: "We're just kind of all together because we're here to support the young men and women... fighting for our freedoms here. And we're proud to be out here to say that we support the troops."
O'Rourke: "I want to increase dialogue between people in the peace movement and people that are supporting troops because I myself see us as supporting the troops but perhaps in a different way..."
Erdolf: "We're just out here today basically to support the troops. We don't want to be in a dialogue with you. I'm here because I support my son-in-law and all the troops and the men and women that are over there."
O'Rourke: "Do you think that it would..."
Erdolf: "I'm not in a dialogue. Why aren't you carrying a sign that says we support the troops and all the men and women over there?"
O'Rourke: "The reason why we don't today is because it's a..."
Erdolf: "You were here yesterday. You didn't have a sign there either."
O'Rourke: "We weren't here yesterday. This is a different organization. We're the Peace Institute. We're an educational institution and we are really interested in building bridges and building dialogue with people. So the reason why we don't have that today is because it's a silent protest, it's an art action, so the bodies are representing everyone that's died in the war..."
Erdolf: "We've come over because we're a silent protest, too. We don't want to discuss it necessarily with people. We just want to show our support for the troops."
O'Rourke: "OK, thanks."
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