[R-G] 911 relatives protest US war plans
bstoller at utopia2000.org
Wed Sep 11 20:36:31 MDT 2002
Guardian. 12 September 2002. Relatives protest at war plans.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Relatives of the victims of the September 11
attacks brought a packed Baptist church to its feet in downtown Los
Angeles on the eve of the anniversary, with calls against a war on Iraq.
The meeting was one of many addressed by relatives of those who died but
who are opposed to military action in retaliation.
The occasion at the First Baptist church was advertised as A Gathering
for Civil Liberties and Peaceful Tomorrows and as a way of remembering
those who had been killed. Its organisers said they hoped it would be a
forerunner of many others aimed at stopping a war in Iraq and addressing
the issue of civil liberties.
Kelly Campbell, the sister-in-law of Craig Amundson, who was killed in
the Pentagon, and Craig's brother, Barry, are one of 40 sets of
relatives involved in the organisation, September 11 Families for
The title is taken from Martin Luther King's saying that "wars are poor
chisels for peaceful tomorrows."
Both told the gathering they did not believe that a war was a suitable
memorial for the dead.
"After Craig was killed, there were so many memorials that turned into
war rallies," said Kelly Campbell. "This September 11 we wanted there to
be alternatives in a way that looked at where we go as Americans, where
we go as humans."
Ms Campbell said at previous rallies people had told them: "Go back to
the 60s." "As someone born in the 70s," she said, "I think what we need
to do is say, 'We're building a movement, we're not throwbacks, we're
living in the present time.'"
"With regard to Iraq, we can stop this but it's going to take all of us
and then some to stop the suffering of Iraqi families and American
military families. Our grief is not a cry for war."
Earlier this year the organisation visited Afghanistan to meet families
of those killed in theconflict there.
The Rev Jim Lawson, one of the original Freedom Riders and a colleague
of Dr King, said: "All patriotic Americans ought to be drawn to places
like this. Justice is to peace as oxygen is to breathing."
The Rev George Regas said: "God save us from another war... Join us in a
new peace movement."
Medea Benjamin, founding director of Global Exchange, won a standing
ovation when she called for a "regime change here at home."
Maria Elena Durazo, the president of the local branch of the catering
workers' union, said, "They should arrest the real criminals -- and
start with Enron."
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