Volume 96, Issue 88
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

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Anti-war efforts continue

By Kelly Marcella
Gazette Staff

With the seeming inevitability of an American-led war in the Middle East, antiwar advocates in London and across the nation are stepping up their efforts to make their voices heard.

"I think today we're feeling deeply troubled and sad at what looks like imminent war," said Rebecca Coulter, a professor in Western's faculty of education and organizer of Saturday's war protest in London's Victoria Park, which saw between 3,000 and 3,500 protesters. "I think that we're certainly not discouraged; it's going to be added incentive to show our disagreement."

In regards to United States President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair going against global public opinion and waging a possible war, Coulter said the word "outrage" came to mind. "The people who have been elected are ignoring those who elected them," she added.

According to Judith Berlyn, co-chair of the nationally-focussed Canadian Peace Alliance, their organization was pleased with the Canadian government's decision not to participate in Iraq unless there is a clear mandate from the United Nations. "[The government's] declaration of non-participation is fantastic and, in a way, a tacit denunciation [of war]," Berlyn said.

Berlyn said the UN Security Council must uphold their Charter and make it clear that the U.S., Great Britain and Spain, the three nation's who support an engagement with Iraq, are outlaws and working outside international law.

"We have to believe in international law beyond our borders," she said, noting that nations have to find a solution within the framework of international law. Berlyn said the only counterbalance to the sole superpower status of the United States is for the key middle powers, Canada included, to work together and form counter coalitions.

Madeline Lennon, a Western professor of visual arts, said she believes the peace movements around the world are very strong. "Many people can't believe that we are being pushed to the brink of another war," she said. "The people in Iraq have already suffered; I don't imagine they want another war."

Lennon said she is frustrated with the current situation and emphasized her belief that war will only set the scene for future conflict. "This is a dangerous time; it feels like it's out of control," she added.

"I don't believe that unilateral action in the Middle East is a good idea – it isn't necessary," said Glen Miner, a London resident and attendee of Saturday's protest.

He said he believes antiwar protests make a difference, and pointed towards Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's current non-participation stance as an indication of their success.

Coulter noted that a candle light vigil will be held at 7 p.m. in Victoria Park on the day that the U.S. begins their attack on Iraq. "It's an expression of our profound regret that the Americans didn't allow diplomacy to work," she said.

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