Rally to bring troops home

Shaun Ho / The Collegian..

Protest marks four-year anniversary of Iraq War

Four years is more than long enough and now we must bring our troops home — that was the sentiment voiced by many local Fresno organizations, including Fresno State’s Campus Peace and Civil Liberties Coalition, during a protest in downtown Fresno Sunday afternoon.

“Rally in the Valley for Peace and Justice: Bring the Troops Home Now!� was an event sponsored by Peace Fresno and one of many protests across the nation this past weekend recognizing the four-year anniversary of the war in Iraq.

On Saturday, as many as 20,000 people marched in Washington D.C. protesting the war, and Sunday dozens showed up downtown in Eaton Plaza to make their voices heard.

Bill Simon, president of Peace Fresno, embodied the anger and frustration felt by many of those gathered downtown as he gave his speech to begin the event.

“I am mad because we are here for the fifth time to end a war that should have never happened,� Simon said. “There is no justifiable reason for the war; it’s unjust, immoral, and illegal.�

Local organizations have protested the war in Iraq for five years now, first to prevent it from happening and from then on to end it.

Members of Fresno State’s Campus Peace and Civil Liberties Coalition strongly agree with that statement, which is why they helped co-sponsor the event and showed up to make sure students’ voices were heard.

Campus Peace President Donna Hardina said in a telephone interview that the organization is working hard on campus and within the community to spread the message that it’s time for our troops to come home.

“We want to raise awareness and get support from those who do not endorse the war efforts in Iraq here in the Valley,� Hardina said.

Members of Campus Peace who attended the rally agree that now is the time for the war to end, and they do not see any positive outcomes from “staying the course.�

Eddie Torres, Campus Peace member and women studies major, said war should never be the answer to conflict.

“War just causes too much destruction,� Torres said. “It is disturbing that we are a nation bent on globalization and that is addicted to war.�

Many Campus Peace members at the event wished more Fresno State students were out protesting Sunday, but they acknowledged that times have changed: without a draft or constant televised coverage like during the Vietnam War, students these days cannot find a reason to be concerned.

“This war is not on our soil, and students, unlike back in the ‘60s, are not seeing the devastating effects; they have no conception of how horrific war really is,� said Ashley Wells, also a Campus Peace member.

Wells believes students need to band together and do something quickly, because the future looks bleak with our government now targeting Iran.

“If the powers aren’t checked, the aggression will just keep building,� Wells said. “It is scary.�

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