Oriflammes are gleaming! The rabble is roused! T-shirts are free for the taking! Five Years of War, Five Days of Action has reached its apex out on Low Plaza. A devoted cadre of protesters walked out of class at noon. Though the crowd has dwindled, there’s no reason to think any of the 236 people who confirmed their attendance via Facebook flaked out. Since then, they’ve encircled the sundial, which has been recomissioned as a podium. The professors invited (Hamid Dabashi, Rashid Khalidi, Zainab Bahrani, and Bruce Robbins) wrapped up their speeches earlier. Three veterans (one a Columbia grad student) have told their war stories. But as the speeches end, hijinks await. The group has promised protestacular mischief at 2 o’clock. An anonymous tipster informs Bwog that Butler, Alma Mater, a banner, and some unfurling may be involved. Stay tuned for live(ish) updates.
Update, 1:52 pm: Much of the crowd is now sitting. One speaker, a postdoc student, asked the crowd whether it wanted to engage in any chants–response was unenthusiastic. Bwog is stroking sweat away from its brow, and regretting having bought a black, heat-absorbing laptop. Talk has turned to divesting Columbia from business with Iraq war contractors (some $5M invested!), and to demanding that Columbia introduce scholarships for Iraqi students. This has raised audience engagement to a low whooping level.
Update, 2:14 pm: The event reached a monumental finale when a banner was flung from Butler (Bwog was mighty impressed) and Alma Mater was veiled and surrounded by a militant bunch of arm-linkers. Bwog remains a bit confused about why the banner looks like a pink dress, and about why the veil looks like it was made of some sort of do-rag material. Sunbathers seemed befuddled but engaged. The clanging of the bell has recommenced.
Photos after the jump