US students rally against war
While President Bush and the US military-industrial complex geared up for the super profits of a "war on terrorism", US students on September 20 staged nationwide demonstrations for peace. A coordinated series of peace rallies, candlelight vigils and petition drives against war were held at more than 150 campuses, from the West coast to Harvard University and MIT in the east. "For this [the September 11 terrorist attack] to turn into an excuse to have a war and kill more people, it seemed like it would just be too horrible", Sarah Norr, a junior at Wesleyan University and one of the demonstration organisers, told the Los Angeles Times". Anti-war sentiment was a pervasive theme in the 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. Two thousand students jammed Sproul Plaza in the Los Angeles protest. Some demonstrators acknowledged the difficulties of getting their anti-war message across so soon after the attacks. Anti-war signs — "An eye for an eye makes the world go blind" — competed for attention with American flags. Marchers kept up their chant: "One, two, three, four — we don't want another war! Five, six, seven, eight — stop the violence, stop the hate!" The Berkeley campus of the University of California, a focal point of anti- war radicalism in the 1960s, was again the centre of activism when 100 protesters jammed the offices of the student-run newspaper to demand an apology for a cartoon perceived as belligerent toward Arab Americans. At Occidental College in Eagle Rock, 94 people signed up for membership in Students United for Peace, a new campus club. Organiser Robert Wallace was pleased with the response. "There's people out there who are working for war 24 hours a day, seven days a week", a first year student said, "and we felt it was foolish for us not to put in the same effort." At Cal State Northridge, military recruiters set up tables on campus the day after the hijackings, and they have been there ever since. "I 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 at Cal State told the Los Angeles Times". "I ask them: 'Can you find Pakistan on a map? Do you know the history of US foreign policy? Have you been in a war?'" "CNN 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." Rafael Matos, 23, a student in art studies, said his stepfather was on the ground floor of the World Trade Centre'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, he said. "As a man of colour 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."