EMAIL PAGE THIRTEEN
COLUMN SIXTY-FOUR, OCTOBER 1, 2001
(Copyright © 2001 Al Aronowitz)
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Against Terrorism & War
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2001 18:35:42 -0400
September 21, 2001
of peace and restraint begin to emerge on campuses
SARA OLKON, BETH REINHARD AND LISA ARTHUR
a week of absorbing the shock and mourning the dead, those who oppose full-scale
military retaliation to the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history have started
to stir, straining to be heard over the growing drumbeat for war.
at more than 140 universities from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., to
the University of California at Berkeley held peace rallies at noon Thursday
calling for a diplomatic, peaceful response to terrorism.
Miami-Dade Community College and Nova Southeastern University staged peace
forums that drew more than 4,000.
diverse nationwide coalition of religious leaders, social activists and business
leaders---organized by Rosa Parks, Harry Belafonte and others---have issued a
message that echoes what's being said by some on college campuses: Those
responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon should be
brought to justice, but indiscriminate military retaliation would incite more
violence, not end it.
Thursday, nearly 1,500 religious leaders had endorsed a statement by the
National Council of Churches of Christ USA calling for ``sober restraint,'' not
calling for restraint are decidedly in the minority. A recent Gallup/CNN USA
Today poll found that 88 percent of Americans favor military action not only
against the guilty parties, but also against countries that harbor them. The
Steim, a political scientist at Florida International University, said despite
being outnumbered, those disagreeing with war might have an easier time
expressing their views than in past military conflicts.
attacks on Sept. 11 left little room to argue whether the U.S. has a valid
reason for being involved in a war, unlike the debate over Vietnam. The
disagreements center on how we should respond.
isn't a situation like Vietnam where you are going to have sharp divisions, with
pro-war and anti-war people lining up on different sides,'' Steim said.
``Everyone I've talked to, especially my students, reacts with anger, grief and
disbelief to what happened. . . They are not against all military action, but
they are not saying let's go out and bomb a country or the entire region.' ''
local students feel they need to keep their views to themselves.
believe in nonviolence and peace,'' said Gabriel Hermelin, 35, who is completing
a graduate degree in conflict resolution at Nova Southeastern and attended
Thursday's peace forum.
don't have to be pro-war to be a patriot. . . .I find myself in inner conflict
because I turn on my radio and hear people getting lambasted for wanting to hold
prayer vigils. I feel like I have to keep quiet.''
discussion about nonviolence was one of four forums on the university's campus
in downtown Fort Lauderdale Thursday afternoon. About 60 people attended.
Simon, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said
his organization has received several calls from people feeling intimidated
about expressing their beliefs.
doctor in mid-state is getting sanctioned for saying `America got what it
deserved,' '' Simon said.
who believe U.S. foreign policy has caused many to hate America so deeply they
are willing to die to hurt its citizens are cautious about voicing that
don't really seem to care that we got bombed for our politics. It wasn't
jealousy over our materialism,'' said Christy K. Sweet, 40, of Key West. ``I
have had to be very choosy about where I say these things.''
others, the reluctance to join the call for war is rooted in concerns for their
am nervous because I have two teenage boys, 17 and 15, and I feel that it's easy
to say `let's go to war' if you are going to send someone else's boys,'' said
Robert A. Hittel, 49, who owns Hittel Books in Fort Lauderdale.
Keane, whose husband, Richard, was killed in the World Trade Center attacks,
would understand Hittel's reluctance despite having a burning reason for seeking
vengeance. She helped organize a prayer vigil near her home in Wethersfield,
Conn., Sunday evening. The event drew more than 5,000 people.
World Trade Center [attack] was in retaliation for something else, and that was
the retaliation for something else,'' Keane said in The Washington Post
Wednesday. ``Are we going to continue this in perpetuity? We have to say at some
staff writers Draeger Martinez and Nicole White, as well as Tony Pugh of the
Herald's Washington Bureau contributed to this report, which was supplemented
with Herald wire services.
for Peace holding event on north steps
Rally Set for Monday at Capitol
Samuel McKewon September 21, 2001
-- No doubt, any rally opposing U.S. military action against the terrorist
organizations behind the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington and foreign
nations harboring those groups is bound to catch the heat of nationalism in the
name of patriotism.
Nebraskans for Peace will go ahead with its demonstration Monday on the north
steps of the State Capitol at 5:30 p.m. The group's president, Carol McShane,
said Friday that each anti-war rally captures a certain amount
group that bills itself Nebraska's oldest organization in defense of justice and
peace firmly believes, McShane said, that any military action against terrorist
cells or states that support them, such as Afghanistan, will be
counter-productive and possible invite more attacks on American soil.
for Peace favors an alternative plan where terrorists responsible, including
Osama bin Laden, should be taken to the International Criminal Court to be tried
for war crimes, much as the criminal court in Nuremburg, Germany did to Nazis
after World War II and the newly convened court has done to Yugoslav dictator
said she'd "be smiling" if 50 people showed up for the rally, though
she was encouraged by a recent rally at Union College along similar lines, which
had success when signs asked cars to honk for peace.
each wave of traffic two to ten cars honked," McShane said.
other speakers are planned for the rally: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Foundations Professor Paul Olson, of the "Turn Off the Violence"
project in Nebraska, UNL Associate Professor Jessica Coope, who specializes in
Islamic history, and the Rev. Steve Ratzlaff of First Mennonite Church.
said he was shocked by the attacks, but was against military retaliation.
don't think the right thing to do is give the government a blank check to fight
terrorism all over the world."
he said, it might be helpful to "try and figure out why people hate us so
much" and attempt to solve those disagreements.
Campus, Rumblings of Peace
BETTINA BOXALL RICHARD COLVIN and REBECCA TROUNSON TIMES STAFF WRITERS
thoughts before last week were: Where am I going to work? Where is my
future?" said Nicholas Newell, a 21-year-old senior at USC. "Now I am
thinking: Am I going to be in a foreign country dodging bullets?"
events of Sept. 11 have introduced profound new worries at college campuses
across the nation. Fears that the government might reinstate the draft are
widespread, despite U.S. assurances that there is no immediate plan to do so.
students also voiced generalized fears about terrorism and the prospects of a
war like Vietnam--a conflict most know only from their parents or history
classes. In a nation gearing up for a war on terrorism, these fears among
students prompted nationwide demonstrations for peace on Thursday. Only
days into the fall semester,
students staged a coordinated series of peace rallies, candlelight vigils and
petition drives at more than 150 campuses, from Caltech
and UCLA to Harvard University and MIT.
events, evoking images of 1960s activism, were aimed in part at remembering the
dead and perhaps in larger part at encouraging a restrained response to the
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
this to turn into an excuse to have a war and kill more people, it seemed like
it would just be too horrible," said Sarah Norr, a junior at Wesleyan
University and one of the demonstration organizers.
or not they demonstrated, many students were worried.
expressed uncertainty about attending a football game at the Rose Bowl---a
place, when filled with 70,000 fans, that could be a tempting target for
terrorists. Worries were even greater among students here on visas from the
Middle East; some were preparing to return home rather than risk being
stranded in the United States if war breaks out. As many as 30 dropped out of
Cal State Long Beach.
this is the biggest tragedy I've seen in my lifetime---[and that]
anyone my age has seen in their lifetime," said Michael Duignan, a
film major at UC Berkeley, where 12,000 students attended a memorial service on
Monday. "Everything will be different forever."
a focal point of antiwar radicalism in the 1960s, was again the center of a
storm this week when 100 protesters jammed the offices of the student-run
newspaper to demand an apology for a cartoon perceived as belligerent toward
mood on Thursday, as nearly 2,000 students rallied in Sproul Plaza, had calmed,
and clearly opinions were mixed. Antiwar signs---"An eye for an eye makes
the world go blind"---competed for attention with American flags.
student Renee Floyd, distracted from her studies, said she'd been involved in
vigorous discussions with her antiwar friends.
think war is kind of inevitable," she said. "If you don't take action,
events like this can occur again."
conceded she has never experienced the hardships of war. "Everything has
been so secure. Now I know America isn't completely impenetrable. We actually
are vulnerable. I don't know what I should feel or what I should do. . .
. I've been thinking about this nonstop. It's pretty hard to concentrate."
sentiment was a pervasive theme in rallies that were sparsely attended at some
campuses. "Nerds Against War," declared one of the student-made signs
at MIT. "War Is Also Terrorism," proclaimed another sign at Harvard.
About 350 students in Boston disrupted rush-hour traffic with a march from
Copley Plaza to Harvard Square.
demonstrators acknowledged uncertainty about their antiwar message coming
so soon after the attacks, and some restaurant diners observed with
disapproval. "I think they're sick," said a man named Bud, a
66-year-old MIT graduate who declined to give his last name.
the marchers kept up a chant: "One, two, three, four---we don't want
another war! Five, six, seven, eight---stop the violence, stop the hate!"
Occidental College in Eagle Rock, 94 people signed up for membership in Students
United for Peace, a new campus club. It was sign-up day for all clubs, but
organizer Robert Wallace was nonetheless pleased with the response.
people out there who are working for war 24-7," the freshman said,
"and we felt it was foolish for us not to put in the same effort."
Cal State Northridge, students expressed conflicting feelings of fear, anger,
confusion, patriotism and anti-patriotism. The day after the hijackings,
military recruiters set up tables on campus, and they have been there ever
since, students said.
get students who come in and say: 'I'm ready, dude. I'm ready for war,'"
said professor Roberto Lovato, head of the Central American studies program.
"I ask them: 'Can you find Pakistan on a map? Do you know the history of
U.S. foreign policy? Have you been in a war?'"
along with several other professors, organized a discussion Thursday about the
tragedy and its effect on everyday life. Speakers focused on
is like a 24-hour Bruce Willis movie," he said. "In the media, in
pulpits, on the streets, on this campus, I have never seen such a blatant
disrespect for objectivity."
similar discussion at USC on Wednesday drew some 300 students to a lecture hall,
while Muslims took to the quad to distribute literature about Islam. Not
far away stood a memorial for attack victims decorated with candles,
stones and peace signs.
experts have said a war against Afghanistan would probably involve a
relatively small number of special forces units, rendering a draft
unnecessary, the subject dominated the conversations of many young men.
studies major Rafael Matos, 23, said his stepfather was on the ground floor of
the World Trade Center's north tower when the first hijacked plane struck; he
survived. Matos, though, was in no hurry to avenge the attack by joining the
armed services, and he did not want to be drafted. He would rather go to jail,
a man of color in this society, I get treated as a second-class citizen no
matter what," Matos said, while helping fraternity members collect
donations for a New York City relief fund. "If I go fight in a war and come
back, I'm still going to be treated like a second-class citizen."
Dante Manalo, 21, the American-born son of immigrants, indicated he would serve,
but with reluctance.
parents came to America for a better life," he said. "For me to die in
a war would defeat the whole purpose."
Zimmerle and his friends sat at a lunch table at Oxnard College, imagining the
scenarios and scheming to stay out of the Army.
pretend I'm gay," Zimmerle said. "I'm against war. It's scary."
Camarillo spoke up, saying his father returned from Vietnam "all crazied
formed everywhere. At Moorpark College, fitness instructor Bobby Prokenpek, 21,
termed himself a "perfect candidate" for the draft and said:
would be a big life change. It would scare the hell out of me. I don't know who
exactly we're going to war with, but I would risk my life for my country."
Stevens, at the same school, disagreed: "There's a very good chance you
might find me in Canada."
of students from Arab nations are dropping out of colleges and returning home,
though the exact numbers are unknown. As of Thursday, USC reported only
one, a Kuwaiti man, while Cal State Long Beach has lost 30, according to
the director of that school's
Center for International Education.
with several Middle East embassies in Washington said they have not---contrary
to some reports---ordered students to leave the United States, but
they are offering to help make arrangements for any who want to.
Meanwhile, some feared their visas might be revoked, although State Department
officials say there are no plans for that.
fleeing students were being ordered home by their parents, embassy officials
said. Some students feared reprisals for the attacks.
understand people are looking for some way to show their anger," said a
24-year-old Muslim student at Santa Monica College who vows to stay. "But I
came here to get an education."
seven other Arab or Middle Eastern students have quit the school, one official
said. A dozen more have entered counseling.
far, there have been no significant reports of anti-Arab incidents on American
campuses. However, one group of departing students was detained by FBI and
immigration agents Tuesday night at an apartment in Irvine. Mohammed Saheed, 21,
was to fly home to Yemen today with his brother, Abdullah, 20, and a cousin,
Gassha Saheed, 18.
three men, enrolled at colleges in Orange County, were seen packing up by a
neighbor who imagined they might be terrorists and called police.
Mekhail, an 18-year-old math student at UCLA, said he shaved his beard last week
to look "less like an Arab." His parents are Jordanian, but Mekhail is
an American. Despite the backlash against Arab Americans, he said he would still
die for this country.
was on his way to donate blood.
not one of them [terrorists]," he said. "I'm not [Osama] bin Laden.
I'm not Saddam [Hussein]."
attacks are already changing the course of studies at many campuses, professors
said. Kassem Nabulsi, who teaches history at USC and Pierce College, said his
classes usually center on recent historical events, including the 1993 World
Trade Center bombing. Now he engages in live analyses of the unfolding
of all, this will give students better perspective and incentive to understand
the presidency and the larger context in which it exists," Nabulsi
said. "And now the students are much more interested in the Middle
East and Islam."
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