[sixties-l] Thousands at Central Park Rally Oppose an Iraq War (fwd)

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Date: Tue Oct 08 2002 - 15:03:05 EDT

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    Date: Mon, 07 Oct 2002 12:51:05 -0700
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Thousands at Central Park Rally Oppose an Iraq War

    Thousands at Central Park Rally Oppose an Iraq War


    October 7, 2002

    Those old enough to know said that yesterday's Central Park rally to
    protest a United States invasion of Iraq drew a larger crowd than similar
    gatherings in the early 1960's by those who did not want the United States
    to get further involved in Vietnam.
    "If this is an indication of how the American people feel, a large amount
    of them don't want our sons to be killed," said Frank Phillips, 89, of
    Long Island, who described himself as a peace activist for 60 years.
    Several thousand people filled the park's East Meadow yesterday
    afternoon, taking in the sun that bathed the slight slope facing a stage
    where speaker after speaker from activist actors to relatives of people
    killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to high school students strode
    to the microphone. Their messages were as diverse as those on the signs
    and T-shirts and leaflets in the crowd:
    "It Takes Courage Not to Make War."
    "Stop the Drug War."
    The event was organized by Not in Our Name, which has a Web site (www
    .notinourname.net) and a CD with the same title, by Saul Williams. It was
    one of several protests against an Iraq invasion organized by the group
    around the country yesterday.
    "Any religion that connects violence to God loses me, whether it's the
    murder of a doctor at an abortion clinic or busboys, police officers and
    firefighters in the World Trade Center," the actor Tim Robbins told the
    crowd. He condemned the "oil men" who he said want the United States to
    topple Saddam Hussein.
    Although Martin Sheen, who plays President Josiah Bartlet on "The West
    Wing," noted that "it's great to see a public debate on such a critical
    issue," no one in the crowd seemed to be in favor of a war.
    "You know what I say? I say the hell with the Patriot Act," one
    speaker shouted. "Victory to the women's revolution!" said another. One
    man urged everyone to take out their wallets as a show of solidarity with
    Amadou Diallo, who was fatally shot by New York police officers who
    mistook his wallet for a weapon in 1999. Then he urged them to reach inside
    and pull out money for the antiwar cause.
    John Earl, a salesman from Greenville, N.Y., held a sign reading
    "Exxonerate" and "BPrepared," presumably to register his unhappiness with
    dependence on Middle East oil.
    "When they confuse war with civil liberties and rights and lifestyle here,
    and our patriotism, it's all confused," he said.
    One man pulled out a comb and silently scrawled in the dirt, "Over 800
    Puerto Ricans Die 9/11 No More."
    A 6-year-old girl named Sofia watched the man, then found a stick and wrote
    "No War" in the dirt, with a peace symbol.
    Emily Dische-Becker, a 20-year-old student at Bard College, 22 miles from
    Woodstock, and a native of Berlin, said she had come to the city with
    friends, and was leaving disappointed.
    "It's like pop culture, concentrated teen angst," she said of the rally.
    "The rhetoric is too heavy-handed. That's the problem with American
    activists. They need to simplify." Someone on stage railed against police
    brutality and she rolled her eyes.
    Susie Mee, a fiction teacher at New York University, said she had hoped the
    crowd would be larger, like those she remembered after the Vietnam War
    began. "Maybe," she said, "something has to start before it can be stopped."

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