Lake Superior
Bayfield County, Wisconsin
March 2
, 2003

                                                                                                                                                                                               Design: Christopher Lutter    Photo: Bob Olsgard

Activists defy cold, make statement
Form dove outline on frozen lake

The Daily Press (Ashland, Wisconsin)

TOWN OF BAYVIEW - Despite temperatures of four degrees below zero and a penetrating northeast wind, over 100 peace activists gathered on the frozen shores of Bayview Beach Sunday to make a symbolic statement for peace.

The 102 demonstrators, bundled against the bone-chilling cold came to the beach to form the outline of a dove, complete with an olive branch (actually a bough clipped from a balsam fir) in its bill. To form the picture, visible only from the air, organizers walked out a short distance onto the frozen lake and stamped out a  pattern in the snow. Then on a signal, the participants trooped out and lay down in the snow to form the outline of the symbol of peace. Meanwhile, a prearranged flyover by a small plane with a photographer on board captured the scene.

According to organizer Brenda Goetz of Ashland, the point of the exercise was to gather together a community of people who oppose a possible war with Iraq.

"We have something in common, we are not for this proposed war," she said. "I was inspired by people all around the world who are doing the same thing."

Among those protests was one that occurred in Australia, where 750 women formed a heart and the words "NO WAR" with their bodies.

Their nude bodies.

"That's a bit much for northern Wisconsin, especially on the second of March when it's below zero," said one participant. "It's summer in Australia."

Goetz said for people who don't believe in the war, trying to figure out what they could do to prevent it could become overwhelming.

"This was just something I thought would be light and fun," she said.

Before the lay-down demonstration, people gathered around a pair of bonfires. One fire held a 20-gallon cauldron of steaming chili, a reward for demonstrators following the event.

The demonstration went off as planned at 1 p.m. but the event drew a pair of counter demonstrators riding snowmobiles. One snowmobiler carried a small American flag and yelled out "Support our troops" while repeatedly circling the prone anti-war demonstrators. Finally, the pair took off across the lake, leading one protester to say, "It's a shame they left, they could have had some chili."

Wendy Stein of Washburn said she came to the event to show support for community peace efforts. She said she wasn't troubled by the cold.

"We dressed appropriately," she said.

"We are here to try to stop this stupid war," said Stein's partner, Phil Freeman. "It's important, not only because of the lives that are at stake, and the tax dollars that we are wasting, but there are are principles involved too; the principle that our country doesn't go to war preemptively, to attack people that we think might be a threat to us."

Those taking part in the event ranged from infants carefully bundled in multiple layers of blankets to 79-year-old Susan Dexter of Madeline Island who attended the event wearing a peace-symbol sweat shirt she got at a Vietnam war protest.

"I can't talk, my lip is frozen," she said after the event.

 Dexter said lying down on the ice was not too bad.

"My hands were cold, otherwise I was OK," she said.

 Was it worth it?

"Oh, sure," she said with a big grin.

Baring Witness photo album           Baring Witness home page