Members of the Cornell community protested against a possible war on Iraq yesterday with people and communities around the U.S. and the U.K. as part of an international “Target Oil” campaign. Hundreds of groups protested at their local gas stations to demonstrate possible connections between the motivations for war and American reliance on foreign oil.
Steve Romaniello ’05 said that the national day of action “was declaring the fact that our nation is going to continue to face wars like this if we continue to use oil the way we’ve been doing.”
The campaign called for peace and national security via reduction in American dependence on oil, not war, according to Target Oil’s website.
In order to have a greater impact on students, Cornell students and faculty and Ithaca community members protested yesterday afternoon on campus rather than at a gas station. Beginning with a short rally at Ho Plaza and marching around campus, the group of about 40 students and community members energetically chanted and carried banners expressing their opposition to spending money on war and risking American “blood for oil.”
The march, organized by the Cornell Anti-War Coalition and Cornell’s Society for Natural Resource Conservation (SNRC), took protesters from Ho Plaza, around Olin Library, down Tower Road, through the Ag Quad and back past the Engineering Quad in a loop.
Though its members have participated in previous antiwar actions, this was the first official antiwar demonstration by SNRC in the growing movement on campus which includes a circulating petition and a Student Assembly resolution. Campuses across New York will also be holding a series of antiwar events next week as part of the New York Campuses for Peace and Justice’s Week Against War, culminating in a national rally on Feb. 15 in Manhattan.
“This is the largest antiwar movement before the beginning of a war in the history of the world,” said Alicia Swords grad.
Toward the end of the march, holding banners reading “No Blood for Oil,” “Drop Bush, Not Bombs” and “Say No To War,” protesters halted at the corner of College and West Avenues.
“One banner was signed by 50 students before the march and will be traveling down to New York City for the rally on Feb. 15,” said Romaniello, a member of SNRC.
“It’s a giant environmental concern. Wells are going to burn, oil fields will alight and there will be massive consumption of resources to kill each other,” Romaniello said, explaining SNRC’s motivation for protesting. “Increasingly, as resources become limited in our growing population, we have to become a global family.”
Other students had different reasons for opposing a war on Iraq.
“I was in Bosnia this summer and I saw the effects of the war there. Americans won’t see the effects of this war, but the Iraqis will,” said Odette Mucha ’05, a member of the Cornell Greens.
Kari Getchonis ’05 felt that the protest was important in raising awareness on campus.
“Even if we make only a few more people examine their views and decide to raise their voices, then we’ll get more accomplished,” Getchonis said. “I’ve always had strong beliefs about nonviolence. War of any kind is unacceptable.”
As the protesters could be heard leaving Ho Plaza chanting “No Blood for Oil” and “Dick and Bush: Make Love Not War,” several activists stayed behind to gather signatures from passersby for the circulating antiwar petition.
Through their chants, protesters expressed dismay that valuable government resources would be wasted on war; their chants of “Money for education, not for war. Money for housing, not for war. Money for the environment, not for war,” were an extension of the antiwar movement’s persistent chant of “Money for jobs, not for war.”
Archived article by Aliza Wasserman