>Requiem for a Park

>By Jill Holslin

SAN DIEGO | On Saturday, Feb 21, US Border Patrol forcibly denied US citizens access to Friendship Park, an historic plaza overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the US-Mexico Border. At noon, a group of 150 of us–local church choir members, university students, professors, human rights advocates, and environmentalists–gathered to hold a service and concert, joined by friends in Tijuana, including members of the Tijuana Opera.

Upon our arrival, Border Patrol agents with PepperBall stun guns and tear gas canisters at the ready forcibly pushed us back and threatened to arrest any who would approach the fence.

This video captures much of the chaos of the day’s events, along with some of the sheer, astonishing loveliness of the Faure Requiem–the strains of our music rising up into the clouds gave us a tremendous sense of power and strength.

We performed the Faure Requiem Mass in harmony with the musicians on the Tijuana side. Here I am, singing side by side with Enrique Morones of Border Angels.

The men barking into our faces with bullhorns and whistles, shouting slogans about illegal aliens coming across the border with drugs, were five San Diego Minutemen, one wearing a t-shirt from NumbersUSA, a registered white supremacist hate group. A good portion of this video follows John Fanestil and Dan Watman as they are being led away by Border Patrol–they were both detained briefly that day, and then released without charge. John Fanestil, our leader, and a methodist minister was detained while attempting to serve communion to celebrants on the Tijuana side of the fence. Dan Watman was also detained, leader of Border Meetup, a group that hosts social gatherings at the border including yoga, salsa dancing, kite-flying festivals and park and beach cleanups.

Video Credit: TravelGayle, YouTube
Photo Credits: Pedro Rios, Scott Bennett


One response to “>Requiem for a Park

  1. >It’s good to see someone make an effort to change a bad situation and make a difference for themselves. Unfortunately no one here seems to want that. Can you please tell me, aside from your singing and protesting, that you are doing so the Mexican people change their situation and problems in their country for the better? Can you tell me what you and your fellow organizational members and associated groups are doing, so that the Mexican people (fathers, sons, mothers, daughter, aunts, uncles, grandchildren and the like) no longer have to cross the United States/Mexico border; as I see it running away from their problems instead of facing them and fixing them?You would say that my writings are nothing more than hate filled, that is due to your one sided aspect on things. I am actually trying to be open-minded and would, in all seriousness, like those questions answered. Personally, I find the actions that go on now to be nothing more than a band-aid to a serious on going problem. A “south-side” fix would mean that husbands and wives are no longer separated. Fathers and sons no longer must leave the safety and comfort of their homes and families. Whole communities in Mexico would no longer be emptied, with fields going to waste and ruin. Those tears and hardships would be removed. Think of the pride and self satisfaction (dangers and hardships faced and overcome), the ability to say “I am one of the ones that stayed and made my country great.” If only the efforts, blood sweet and tears were turned to the actual problems of their society. But a song, prayer and way to small band-aid seem to be all that those human beings will ever get from you. “That” is truly the sad aspect of this heart rending story. “A little revolution can be a good thing.” Truer words… and all.

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