War, what is it good for?

By Вen Li

\About 200 U of C students and Calgarians protested against the war in Iraq on Fri., Apr. 4. After leaving behind less than a dozen supporters of the war, the group marched for 30 minutes through campus.

“I’m a student who is concerned about the war,” said Tim Cole, who helped organize the event. “We’re here to raise our voices against it, to build a strong message that students at the U of C are against the war.”

Not everybody at the protest opposed the war.

“I’m for freedom too,” said one pro-coalition attendee after being encircled by anti-war demonstrators. “We’re taking weapons away from him [Iraqi President Saddam Hussein] so that he can’t kill his people anymore.”

Organizers and speakers dismissed supporters of the war.

“There were two of them,” said Cole. “It speaks a great volume about the difference between supporters of peace and war. There are more of us for peace than for war.”

Friday’s protest was the first against the war at the U of C. It follows weeks of similar protests at campuses across eastern Canada and a rally at the U of C supporting the war on Sun., Mar. 30.

“Obviously, I’m against the war, I feel it’s illegal,” said English student Melanie Reinboldt. “I feel like we need real democracy. We need to be voices of dissent.”

Following the march, protestors and speakers gathered at MacEwan Hall.

“War violates nature when fathers bury sons,” said Sheikh Ahmad Said. “Only the young people suffer for the scourge of war.”

Said asked attendees to pray for peace.

“This war isn’t in the nature of liberating people, we conquer in the name of peace,” he said. “Those who make peace will be stronger for they receive the help of God.”

U of C International Relations student Regan Boychuk questions the war on Iraq for different reasons.

“I’m skeptical about excuses the U.S. has offered to justify its attack against Iraq,” he said. “First it was September 11, then weapons of mass destruction. Now it has become Operation Iraqi Freedom to liberate the Iraqis. Why do their excuses keep changing?”

Boychuk criticized the U.S. for attacking Afghanistan as a part of the war on terror and installing Hamid Karzai as president.

“In the last year, not a single dollar was budgeted for Afghan aid,” he claimed, fearing a similar fate for a liberated Iraq.

“If Iraq is an example of the war on terror, let’s make sure [U.S. Vice-President] Dick Cheney is wrong when he said the war on terror will last a lifetime.”