Volume 96, Issue 78
Tuesday, February 18, 2003

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War protests and a resignation

The Gazette mused about the positive, negative and the blatantly repugnant events that have recently transpired on campus and around the world.


THE GOOD

Millions of concerned people around the globe, including here in London, took to the streets to protest against a seemingly imminent United States-led war on Iraq. The largest gathering of anti-war protesters came in Rome, Italy and Barcelona, Spain, where the country's respective leaders have backed the plans of George W. Bush to unleash the U.S. military might on a non-compliant Saddam Hussein. The right to express concern over issues is at the heart of democracy and protesting is one of the most visible and peaceful means of presenting a message, while uniting groups of people regardless of race or creed. It's encouraging to see people exercising that right.

The City of London is set to release the official ruling on the decision to fully enact the smoking ban throughout the city, a decree that has loomed over London for far, far too long.


THE BAD

Although anti-war demonstrations are a peaceful activity that creates a lot of media attention, it's also important that the people raising a ruckus are informed about the issues and motivated by good intentions. Many advertisements for this weekend's gatherings encouraged people to "bring a friend" to the protest. Voicing opinion publicly should be done by properly informed individuals, not people looking for something to do on a Saturday afternoon. Massive anti-war protests that are sure to be highly salient, unfortunately, attract groups with agendas other than peace who want to find an outlet for their own cause.

Even though it's widely assumed London City Council will unveil official plans for a total smoking ban, there is still a possibility of them putting off the decision until a later date. Maybe the city's plan of attack is to wait until everyone that currently smokes is dead before they impose a ban so they won't have to deal with any flak.

Liam Arbuckle, the former national director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, tendered his resignation from the federal lobby group last Friday after it was confirmed he disclosed confidential information pertaining to the upcoming CASA election. Good to know the shadiness of politics is not limited to the realm of "grown-up" politicians.


THE UGLY

It was reported that anti-war demonstrators in Athens, Greece burned a car and smashed several shops and bank windows. A protest for peace loses all legitimacy and its message is undermined when even small pockets of violence flare up.

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2002 THE GAZETTE