Monday, March 22, 2010

March 20 Peace Vigil/Rally a Rousing Success

March 20 marked seven long bloody years since the US invaded Iraq. Bloodshed and instability continue there even as some US troop are pulled out, most shifted to Afghanistan.

There was a march and rally in Washington to mark this tragic anniversary, but little public notice was taken in this region.

Not so in Fayetteville, where Quaker House organized a vigil and rally downtown. Quakers from Durham joined in, as did Vets for Peace, and just plain veterans; NC Stop Torture Now and Code Pink were also represented.

In recognition of National Women's Month, the event featured woman participants reading the names of the more than 120 women US servicemembers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan thus far.

There was also special notice taken of the death toll among civilians in these wars: plausible estimates for Iraq range from a low of 95,000 to over a million. (Not counting about four million Iraqis made refugees, half inside and half outside the country.)

The vigil was favored with wonderfully warm and sunny weather. This combined with the infectious and insistent rhythms of Original Nature, a renowned local drumming group, to attract many newcomers from the surrounding downtown area.

“We faced a lot of hostility when we started our vigils about Iraq, seven years ago,” Quaker House Director Chuck Fager said. “But now we get many more positive responses from people going by than negative ones. A great many people here are sick of these wars. The troops and their families have paid a terrible price – and for what?”

The rally ended with a loud chorus of “War –What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing!” joined in lustily by those on hand.

News of the rally turned up in a photo in the Sunday Fayetteville Observer, and on Channels 11 and 14 news shows. Not bad for our small but intrepid band.

Here's the URLs to the TV clips and transcripts:
Channel 14 News Carolina.

and Channel 11 ABC News.

And next March? Roberta Waddle, president of the Fayetteville NOW chapter, said she hoped to hold another rally, to mark a definite end to the war.

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