Peace rally a success
By Darryl Newman/and Cassie Nicklen Original at NMSU Roundup
Published On Line Nov 3 and in paper Oct 31, 2002
New Mexico State University students,
faculty and members of the community gathered on Monday to communicate a
message of peace.
There were 18 NMSU organizations and four from the Las Cruces community present at the event, according to Boje.
Neil Harvey, a government professor at NMSU, also helped organize the events of the day.
"The goal is arguing for peace rather than war. We wanted it to be fun as well, so we had bands, poetry and theater acts," Harvey said.
Harvey said the event showed that a lot of people are opposed to President Bush's policies.
"It's unjust and unnecessary. This is part of an international movement for peace," Harvey said.
He also mentioned the event did not only have speakers with views against a possible war with Iraq.
"There were people who spoke at the open mic who said they support Bush," Harvey said.
He said there were people shouting from a distance, making remarks such as, "Go back to Woodstock, you hippies," a reference to the historic concert in 1969 that focused on peace.
"Everyone just laughed about it and carried on. It's been extremely peaceful," Harvey said of the hecklers.
Scott Krahling, a graduate student majoring in government, shared his view on the "hippie" remarks.
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. Dialogue is the best way to make a decision. It is important to hear all views–pros and cons," Krahling said.
Several NMSU students contributed their concerns and opinions about to the activities.
Kim Bilbro, a freshman majoring in sociology said she saw what was happening and stopped to watch.
"I'm a big advocate of peace and support everything everyone is saying," Bilbro said.
She said she thinks the proposed war is
an effort to reduce the world population.
Emily Colby, a Las Cruces resident who attended the event, commented on the turn out by the NMSU students.
"Students don't really seem to care. If I was a student, I would skip class to come," Colby added.
Marsha Hicks, a freshman dance major, said she heard about the event from a history professor.
"It's good to know that there are people who feel the same way," Hicks said.
Hicks also said she enjoyed the music from the participating bands.
"It's cool that it's not just all talking — not that the talking is bad," Hicks commented.
There were also chants, with people shouting, "Drop Bush, not bombs!"
Ińigo Garcia-Bryce, a history professor at NMSU, said he was "sort of disappointed with the turnout."
Garcia-Bryce, who said he specializes in Latin American studies, expressed his opinions on Iraq and the United States.
"You can't fight terrorism by fighting a conventional war," Garcia-Bryce said.
He said he also emphasized to his classes the need for them to hear different positions on the issue.
Christine Nelson, a sophomore majoring in government, commented on speakers Neil Harvey and Jason Ackleson.
"For me they clarify and put things in perspective about war," Nelson said.
"I am pro-peace, but it would be good to have a rally for the opposing view," Nelson said.
Molly Harrington, an undeclared freshman, said, "Ultimately, peace is what we all want, but action needs to be taken against Iraq."
Jeremy Weeks, an undeclared freshman, said he did not agree with the speakers.
"No, I really don't agree with what they are saying or even this event," Weeks said.
"Fight war, not people," said Erick Druva, an undeclared junior when ask to state his view on war.
Bert Sacks, the keynote speaker who flew in from Seattle for the event and has traveled to Iraq nine times, commented on what he shares with most people from Iraq.
"My general feeling about Iraq can be summed up as 'great despair'," Sacks said.
"My first time in Iraq I was a bit scared, but I knew it was just any other place when I saw a sweet boy selling a newspaper in the lobby at my hotel. That child gave me the safety I needed," Sacks said.
To cap off the day of peace, a group of about 30 people who attended the other festivities lit candles and marched the NMSU campus and up University Avenue, singing songs relating to peace.
Boje said the candlelight vigil was a nonviolent peace march.
"These people have peace in their hearts," Boje said with a smile.