[R-G] Columbus Dispatch Articles on the March 20 Rally
furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Tue Mar 23 09:20:29 MST 2004
My own estimate of the number of activists at the March 20th rally is 600-800.
Cf. Columbus March 20th Program,
<http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/M20program.pdf>; Columbus March 20th
***** Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
March 21, 2004 Sunday, Home Final Edition
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 03A
LENGTH: 458 words
HEADLINE: HUNDREDS DENOUNCE IRAQ WAR;
Local rally, vigil mark anniversary of U.S. invasion
BYLINE: Janice Podsada, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
It would have been unthinkable for Laura Barndt to have skipped
yesterday's prayer vigil at the First African Methodist Episcopal
Zion Church on the Near East Side.
"I have been active in the peace movement since I was 12," said
Barndt, 87, of Worthington. "It's always seemed terribly important to
The vigil marked the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. For
many, it was a day of prayers, marches and rallies in support of
peace and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
More than 70 people attended the church's interfaith vigil that had
Sikhs, Buddhists, American Indians, Muslims, Hindus, Christians and
others sitting shoulder to shoulder under a stained glass dome.
Muna Al-Aseer, a Muslim, and Norma Hurt, the mother of Margo Doers, a
U.S. soldier injured in Iraq, lit two candles at the start of the
Al-Aseer recited a Jewish prayer for peace. The Rev. Ron Atwood, a
Catholic priest, called for the end to human-rights violations in the
war's aftermath. Donna Hamilton offered a Buddhist prayer.
Barry Thomas offered an American Indian prayer. "We know after 500
years the one that has the biggest stick isn't always right," he said.
Tarunjit Singh Butalia, one of the vigil's organizers and a follower
of the Sikh faith, said he could not in good conscience have skipped
the day's activities.
"I have an 8-year-old daughter, Jasjit," Butalia said. "What if she
comes to me 20 years from now and asks, 'Dad, why were you silent?' "
Many participants wore tennis shoes and rain gear, anticipating the
march from the church at Bryden Road and 18th Street to the
Statehouse, where an afternoon anti-war rally was scheduled.
A score of peace groups sponsored the rally, which drew 300 people.
But a handful of people stood apart from the crowd. Their banners
read "Victory first, then justice."
"As long as we're there let's finish the job. World War II did not
end with appeasement, it ended with victory," said Jeff Hall of
Hall denounced the crowd's simplistic cry for peace.
"There are people who want to kill us," he said. "After victory, we
can all march for peace."
Chris Kaiser, 49, of Alabama, happened upon the Downtown rally. He
found himself in agreement with the students and musicians who spoke
and sang for peace.
"I think this war is a waste of time," Kaiser said. "They need to
bring the troops home so they can take care of their families."
A similar protest took place in Cincinnati, where more than 250
people gathered for almost two hours at downtown's Fountain Square.
Protesters, some dressed in tie-dye T-shirts, carried signs such as
"Bush Lies. Thousands Die."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.
jpodsada at dispatch.com
GRAPHIC: Photo, ERIC ALBRECHT DISPATCH/, Tarunjit Singh Butalia
helped organize yesterday's interfaith vigil on the, Near East Side
and attended the rally that followed at the Statehouse. *****
***** Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
March 19, 2004 Friday, Home Final Edition
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 10A
LENGTH: 536 words
HEADLINE: IRAQ: A YEAR OF WAR;
PEACE ACTIVISTS STILL COMMITTED, PLAN WEEKEND STATEHOUSE VIGIL
BYLINE: John Futty, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Nearly every Saturday afternoon for more than a year, Janet
McLaughlin has stood on a Worthington street corner, joined in her
vigil by a few other central Ohio residents who hold signs and
banners promoting peace during a time of war.
"Our feeling is, OK, we didn't prevent the war in Iraq, but we're
still committed to peace," she said. "A commitment to peace isn't a
one-time event. It's a lifetime commitment."
The Northwest Side resident is a member of Central Ohioans for Peace,
a group formed in February 2003 when about 100 people met at a
Worthington church to express their concerns about the impending war
The resulting peace rallies at the corner of N. High Street and Rt.
161 didn't stop when the war began March 19.
And members of the group say the organization won't go away, even
after the troops come home.
Although the number of demonstrators has declined, the group attracts
about two dozen people to its weekly organizational meetings and is
seeking nonprofit status.
It also has seen its mission broaden.
"There is social injustice all over the world, and our group is
concerned about that," said Sue Simon of Westerville, another regular
at the Saturday demonstrations.
"If our mission is to promote peaceful resolutions to problems, we
can't discriminate about where."
At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, they will join with other peace advocates for
an interfaith prayer service at the First AME Zion Church, 873 Bryden
Road, marking the first anniversary of the war.
It will be followed at noon with a rally outside the church and a
march to the Statehouse at 1 p.m., organized by the Central Ohio
The prayer service is sponsored by Faith Communities Uniting for
Peace, which formed after more than 200 people attended a similar
service the day after the war began.
"We're very much grounded in our faith traditions," said Tarunjit S.
Butalia, a co-director for Faith Communities. "Our responses aren't
The group, which includes Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews,
Muslims and Sikhs, sponsors a monthly gathering at the Main Library
to pray for peace and promote dialogue about social justice.
"The issue of peace and justice is not just about Iraq," Butalia said.
At its monthly meetings, Faith Communities discusses and takes action
on a variety of topics, including AIDS/HIV funding for Africa and
vandalism to churches and synagogues.
Yoshie Furuhashi of the International Student Forum at Ohio State
University said the peace movement lost some momentum when the war
began, but gained supporters when the United States met guerrilla
resistance and failed to uncover weapons of mass destruction.
And local peace groups still battle the perception that they don't
support U.S. troops.
"When we started our rallies, we heard from a lot of people who
thought if we wanted peace, we were against our soldiers," Simon
said. "That was hard, because it's not how we feel."
She said negative reactions have become rare at the weekly rallies
and passers-by seem increasingly supportive.
"We plan to continue indefinitely," Simon said. "If we can make one
person think every time we're out there, it's worth it."
jfutty at dispatch.com
GRAPHIC: Photo, ERIC ALBRECHT DISPATCH/, "A commitment to peace isn't
a one-time event."/, Janet McLaughlin peace activist *****
* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus:
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://www.solidarity-us.org/>
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