Protesters call for peace

“We want peace.” “Instead of war, invest in people.” “Peace is patriotic.”

These phrases, among others, donned the posters of nearly 100 protesters at the anti-war rally and march held by Saint Louis University’s Instead of War (IOW) group Monday afternoon.

Other quotes, such as “War is always a defeat for humanity,” said by Pope John Paul II, and “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind,” by Gandhi, expressed how some students felt about the war movement.

Senior Lubna Alam, an organizer of IOW, thought the attendance was good, considering the snow-covered ground and the time of the event, which started at noon.

“I think that this rally shows there are quite a number of students at SLU who are concerned about the war,” Alam said, “We’re getting a real movement started here on campus.”

For freshman Julie O’Heir, attending the rally was an issue of conscience.

“Starting a war is immoral,” O’Heir said. “I feel the money we’re spending on the war could be spent on other things, such as education, social security … [If we go to war] I think we’re more likely to be attacked by terrorists.”

After musical entertainment by sophomore Charlie Crowley, an organizer of IOW, who played the guitar and harmonica while singing his own lyrics, senior Pete Mosher spoke on the destruction that war brings.

“War is not peace … destruction brings not stability … hate is not love,” Mosher began his speech. “To say otherwise is double-speak.”

While reminding the crowd that the protesters have the support of millions, Mosher asked everyone to appeal to patriotism when saying no to war with Iraq.

Mosher spoke of the United States ignoring starving children and bombing countries, “all under the rhetoric of freedom and justice.”

“God did bless America, but he also blessed Iraq,” Mosher said. “It’s hard to believe God would want bombs raining down on Iraq.”

Mosher ended his speech by referring to patriotism once again, telling the audience to be “patriots for peace, not war.”

Freshman Jim Swift attended the rally, though he thought the attendees should have been more informed about the subject.

“The protesters didn’t seem to be presenting what alternate means there are,” Swift said. “They’re an intelligent group, and I enjoy talking with them, but in general I think they could be a little more informed.”

Swift, along with some of his friends who said they were tired of seeing all the anti-war posters, have formed a group called the Liberate Iraq Coalition. They have spoken with some faculty about working on developing a speaker panel composed of a diverse group of professors.

IOW is currently planning more events. In the case of war being declared, the group will hold a candlelight vigil that evening.