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Protest marks Iraq war's eighth year

Organizers plan to continue the weekly Claremont rallies until the war ends.

Debbie Allison
Staff Writer

Signs bearing messages like “Peace not war,” “War is not pro-life” and “War is not the answer” were held aloft by more than 70 protesters at a war rally in Claremont last Friday.

The rally marked eight years since the invasion of Iraq under the Bush Administration.

Though last week was a sobering anniversary, people have been gathering Fridays in Claremont to protest the war since it began in March of 2002.

The group, consisting of people of all ages, from toddlers to senior citizens, lined the intersection of Arrow Highway and Indian Hill Boulevard.

Most participants held crosses, peace signs, drums and tambourines as passing cars honked to show their support for the cause.

“We want people to know that the war is a terrible thing,” said Eva Sleischner, one of the protesters.

“Today is special because it is the memorial of eight years after the invasion of Iraq.”
And because many of those in attendance saw the day as a memorial, they dressed in all black, as a sign of mourning, Sleischner said.

Sleischner also said that she hopes their efforts will show that there is still an opposition to the war.

“It only makes things worse (that the war is also) creating billion dollars of debt,” said Stanley R. Moore, another protester in attendance Friday.

“We could be in Afghanistan building schools instead of shooting people,” Moore said.

He added that all the war is doing is creating anger, hostility and people who want much revenge.

“They’re not angry for nothing,” Moore said.

Eleanor Meyers, another protester, said that the alternative to war is understanding.

She also said war is the direct result of misunderstanding.

“We need more effort learning about people who are different,” Meyers said.

She stressed that it is imperative for people to realize that all culture, beliefs and ways of living are just as valid and valuable as ours.

She urges people to realize that war is not the answer.

“We’re all human beings,” Meyers said.

“Every soldier is some mother’s son or daughter. We don’t want to kill our daughters and sons.”

Moreover, she said that this war is hurting our already struggling economy.

“Where is it leading us? We’ve impoverished our nation. We’ve spent trillions of dollars,” Meyers said.

“It’s costing us about a half a million dollars a day to stay in Iraq.”

Meyers added that if more people understood the startling statistics, there would be more people on the streets protesting alongside her.

“We have uneducated citizens,” Meyers said.

But most of all Meyers wants people to understand that are alternatives to war.

Instead, she says, we must talk, listen and learn about the happenings due to the war.

These rallies against the war have been taking place every Friday since the beginning of the war, and will continue until the fighting is over, the protesters said.

They go from approximately 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. at the same location, the intersection of Arrow Highway and Indian Hill Boulevard in Claremont.

Anyone wishing to join in is encouraged to show up, Meyers said.

Signs are provided, though participants can also bring their own.

Debbie Allison can be reached at deborah.allison@laverne.edu.

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