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AFTE 0 I BY EMILY DEPRANG Confessions of an Ex-Protester 1. orange 2. yellow 3. blue 4. red 5. pink 6. purple 7. green illif hen I was 10, George Bush Sr. kicked off the first Gulf War with a dramat ic countdown to midnight. Either Saddam pulled out of Kuwait, or it was war. I remember watching the news with my parents, but I don’t remember discussing it. My impression was that war was bad under any circumstances, but that our involvement in this war was particularly suspect. In the days before the deadline, I made a collage of war-related newspaper stories, alone in my room, with no audience in mind except posterity. On the morn ing after the deadline, I wore a black armband to school over my T-shirt. I don’t know where I got the idea, though I harbor the suspicion that hippiedom is hereditary. Moreover, I don’t know what I meant to achieve. It seemed to me that war was a big, bad deal, and that people ought to do something with their hands or their mouths or their money or their clothes to acknowledge this. This impression of mine was no less strong or better thought-out by the time George Bush Jr. declared the second Gulf War. Shock and Awe seemed like a fireworks show that charred the innocent. Careening into Iraq while al Qaeda huddled in other countries disturbed me. Worst of all was the sense that we were attacking Iraq just because we were angry about 9/11, which made us, in my mind, the bully who hits younger kids on the playground because his dad roughs him up at home. It seemed like something should be done, and protesting was what was available. The protests comforted me. I was in Austin, a student at UT, and protests were almost the only time I felt part of the larger community. On weekends, well-dressed, older couples would show up sporting anti-W buttons, and the anarchists would wear their black ski masks. People would bring dogs, kids with flags painted on their faces, and NOVEMBER 16, 2007 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 29