"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

All They Are Saying Is Give Peace a Chance

Why pick Fayetteville as the site for an anti-war rally? I can think of at least 49 reasons. Each of those reasons has a name and each were members of our community prior to their deaths in Iraq.

Some may argue that voicing opposition to war in a military town is somehow disrespectful. Tell that to the military families and veterans from many wars, including the current one, who plan to gather in Rowan Street Park on March 19 for a three-hour rally. Thousands of their supporters will be there to join them. The majority of Americans now reject the reasons used to justify the war and most feel that the US government failed to successfully plan for what has happened.

Antiwar activity is not new to the park. During the Vietnam War a GI-led demonstration drew 4,000 people. On the first anniversary of the war last year, the park saw Fayetteville's largest demonstration for peace in nearly 35 years. That rally drew national and international attention. It was conceived and planned locally with support from groups like Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out.

Local activists lead the peace movement in our community.

Fayetteville Peace With Justice, a local grass roots group began to challenge the drumbeats for war immediately following September 11, 2001. The group conducted weekly vigils at the Market House during the opening weeks of the US invasion of Iraq. The early vigils met with catcalls from those in Fayetteville holding on to outdated opinions of peace demonstrators. As the disaster in Iraq became evident, derision subsided and vocal support emerged.

There are many NC military connections to the peace movement. Jeremy Hinzman left Ft. Bragg for Canada, applying for status as a refugee on the grounds that he was being forced to participate in an illegal war. North Carolina resident and former Marine Jimmy Massey left the military after 11 years, reeling from the senseless killing he witnessed in Iraq. Fayetteville's own Drew Plummer (my son) was convicted by the Navy for disloyalty for telling a reporter that the war was about oil and that "our guys shouldn't be dying in Iraq."

The incoming executive of Veterans for Peace, Michael McPhearson, is a Fayetteville native. He served as a field artillery officer in the first Gulf War. He has a son stationed at Ft. Campbell, Ky. He will speak at the March 19 rally, just as he did last year.

Kara Hollingsworth, a young African-American woman from Washington, DC now lives in Fayetteville. Her husband is on his second deployment to Iraq. She will speak here on March 19. Busloads of activists from her hometown are coming to lend support to Kara and to her message - that it is time to bring the troops home now.

On March 18, Lila Lipscomb, whose son died in Iraq, will visit Fayetteville. Many will recognize her from the documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. She will appear with others at a press conference in support of the goals of the local anti-war movement. The evening of the 18th will feature a concert with hip-hop artists Little Brother and Ricanstruction, to connect with the most vulnerable segment of our community, youth targeted by recruiters who continue to paint an unrealistic picture of military service.

A former NC-based Marine, Michael Hoffman, recently announced that the first national meeting of the organization he co-founded, Iraq Veterans Against the War, will occur in Fayetteville on March 20. On that day Military Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families for Peace will also hold their first national meetings ever. These groups decided to meet in Fayetteville. They chose Fayetteville because this community has been as involved in the antiwar movement as any in the country. They chose Fayetteville because this community is the home of many affected by the war like no other Americans.

The National Anti-War Coalition, United for Peace and Justice, and over 80 groups from around the state and country, are supporting the rally in Fayetteville as their national focus on March 19 for similar reasons. Groups like the North Carolina Council of Churches and other co-sponsors of the event believe that REAL support for the troops means Bring Them Home Now.

LOU PLUMMER, Up & Coming Weekly, March 2 - 8, 2005 March 02, 2005
©Up & Coming Magazine 2005


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