A teach-in regarding the war with Iraq began last Thursday with a moment of silence in memory of those who have died during the war.
“We are deeply saddened by the deaths that have occurred . the deaths that will come,” Alan Dawley, history professor, said.
Together, those in opposition to the war described their perspectives and participated by sharing songs and poetry as a means of encouragement. They linked arms and sang “We Shall Overcome.”
Religious aspects as well as historical and ethical issues were addressed in the meeting, giving several students, faculty and members of student organizations the chance to express their views during the three-hour teach-in.
“We protest, because the invasion of Iraq is being carried out in our name to defend our freedom and the world’s freedom, and they are not doing it in our name,” John Landreau, modern language professor, said. “Protest is saying I do not consent to sending our troops to kill innocent people. This is not being done in my name.”
“These are difficult times,” Rev. Gabe Zeis said. “War is a horror and in Catholic religion, considered evil.”
Zeis’ main concern was whether or not the United States has the competent authority in this situation to declare war. Zeis questioned the decision of war with Iraq by challenging the intention of the Bush Administration and the absence of investigation of the needs or concerns of those involved in the war.
Manar Darwish, professor of modern languages and adviser of the Islamic society, explained her thoughts on the war from a Muslim perspective. Darwish said that although all people worship different things and have different ideas, many of the students in her classes think that the war is patriotic and troops should be given support. However, they rarely stop to think of where Islam stands in this war.
According to Darwish, the media has blown Islam out of proportion saying that it is in support of the war, when in fact, Islam preaches peace, not war.
“Jihad means struggle,” Darwish said. “Struggle within ourselves, not struggle with war.”
Shedding some humor on the event, Morton Winston, philosophy professor, explained his new meaning of “March Madness.”
“We are going to ignore the U.N. to make it clear to Hussein that the U.N. cannot be ignored,” Winston said. According to Winston, one of the most troubling features is that the Bush Administration sells the idea that it is necessary to remove Hussein in order to promote peace and stability.
“What if every nation on earth followed the same doctrine by invading other countries that might someday pose a threat?” Winston asked.
Hoda Rifai, sophomore member of the Muslim Students Association, spoke about the Islamic religion and the affect the war has had on it.
“As a Muslim and an American, I see a lot of injustice being done,” Rifai said. According to Muhammed, you change injustice with your hands, or with your mind, but if not, with your words. I cannot change it with my hands because President Bush has already decided to go to war, but I can and will with my words tonight,” she added.
“We are out here because we are patriotic. Suffering is something we have to care about,” Landreau said.