April 20th: March for Peace and
by Corey Eastwood
its post September 11th quest for revenge,
the U.S. military has decimated the already war-torn country of
Afghanistan. Nearly 4,000 Afghans, many of them innocent civilians,
have already lost their lives. Towns and cities have been destroyed,
leaving thousands of people without homes, running water, adequate
food, and proper sanitation coverage. President George W. Bush
would like us to believe that this death and suffering will eliminate
terrorism and protect our freedom.
The foreign war on terrorism is not limited to Afghanistan. Over
the past 11 years, the U.S.-led United Nations sanctions and bombings
on Iraq have led to the deaths of over 1.5 million men, women
and children. According to the London Observer, the U.S. and Great
Britain are currently assembling a force of 250,000 ground troops
for a planned invasion on Iraq. Despite the fact that statements
suggesting Iraqs connection to the September 11th attacks
and to the subsequent anthrax threats have proven unfounded, the
U.S. government continues to use the war on terrorism
as a pretext to build an offensive against their long-time enemies.
In Israels escalating war against the people of Palestine,
the U.S. continues to provide billions of dollars in weapons and
political support. While our media has distorted the conflict
portraying the Palestinian movement for self-determination
as a series of terrorist attacks our Congress
maintains support for Israels government-sanctioned violence
that continues to claim the lives of innocent Palestinians.
On the domestic front, the Patriot Act and other anti-terrorism
legislation has led to the racial profiling and FBI investigations
of over 5,000 people of Middle Eastern descent. According to The
Partnership for Civil Justice over 1,200 Arab men are still being
detained without trials or due process.
At NYU, the administration has just come to an agreement with
the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to hand over
all personal files of foreign students while holding them to stringent
academic standards under the threat of deportation.
Many of our civil liberties to assemble and speak freely risk
being trampled on. Our right to privacy is being stolen by new
search and seizure powers granted to these intelligence agencies,
which run unchecked by the discriminating eye of the criminal
The ACLU noted that the Patriot Acts expanded definition
of terrorism will inevitably ensnare many non-citizens who have
done nothing wrong on the basis of their political beliefs and
associations. For the first time, domestic groups can be
labeled terrorist organizations, making membership or material
support a deportable offense. Non-citizens could be detained on
charges such as minor visa violations, or for providing assistance
to groups that are not designated as terrorist organizations at
all, as long as the activities of the group satisfy a new, extraordinarily
broad definition of terrorism that can include legitimate forms
of protest and civil disobedience.
While the Bush administration has handed out billions of tax-payer
dollars in post-9/11 corporate bailouts, many of these same troubled
corporations have laid-off large numbers of their workers. The
Nation reports that in New York City alone over 95,000 workers
have lost their jobs as a result of September 11th. These massive
corporate bailouts along with increased spending inside the military
and domestic law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau
of Investigation have led to tremendous budget cuts in social
To help the faltering economy and support the war on terrorism,
New York State has substantially cut its college Tuition Assistance
Program while increasing the cost of tuition at the City University
of New York (CUNY). These tuition hikes from Albany have come
right on the heels of a November decision by the CUNY Board of
Trustees to begin charging immigrant students at the out of state
tuition rate; in effect doubling their cost of education. It is
no surprise that these cutbacks have had the greatest impact on
poor communities and communities of color, forcing many CUNY students
to decrease their number of classes or drop out entirely.
Is it our pursuit of liberty that makes us deny people their right
to education while we spend tax dollars on bombs?
As New Yorkers, weve witnessed the absolutely horrid effects
of terrorism. As we mourn the victims of September 11th and support
their families, we believe that terrorism will only end when the
cycle of violence and hatred ends. Each innocent victim anywhere
is a victim too many.
On April 20th, 2002 tens of thousands of people will march on
Washington, D.C. to stop the war at home and abroad. We, New York
City community members, will march in solidarity with the millions
of people worldwide who want to end the human oppression and exploitation
that is being carried out by the US war on terror.
We will march because it is our duty as citizens - as true patriots,
who firmly believe in the values of freedom, democracy and equality
to raise our voices for peace and justice. Together, we will be
heard! Together we can STOP THE WAR! Please join us.