The Guardian October 3, 2001


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."

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