Left Justified: I wasn’t convinced

Left Justified: I wasn’t convinced

By Stanley Campbell

I wasn’t convinced by Secretary of State Colin Powell’s speech before the United Nations. I was convinced that the inspections should continue, and that Saddam is a ticking time bomb. But the tactics of sending in our armed forces would only worsen the situation.

Our leaders in Washington haven’t heard our pleas for peace. I don’t think they’re listening. So Rockford Peace & Justice, along with a number of other organizations and individuals, will host another rally on the corner of Alpine and State, this Saturday, Feb. 15. Call it a Valentine for our government. There’ll also be demonstration in Chicago, DeKalb and Sterling (Sterling!?!).

But we’re asking the participants to do more than carry signs and chant “No war!” Afterward, we want them to come to the Unitarian Universalist Church (just four blocks north and east) and sign a petition that we can send through the congressman to the president. We also want people to put signs in their windows, cars and front yards saying “No War in Iraq.”

And we want to teach people about civil disobedience and other tactics. So, after a nice hot bowl of soup, we’ll have a few speeches and then invite everyone back to the Unitarian Universalist Church the following Monday, Feb. 17, for a 7 p.m. program on civil disobedience. One of the best leaders of civil disobedience (“CD” as it’s known in the business) Tom Cordaro will be in Rockford that Monday. He taught me “CD” at the Strategic Air Commands demonstrations during the ’80s. I trespassed on their precious air base just outside Omaha and was arrested, convicted and given a “ban & bar” letter prohibiting me from visiting again. All in one afternoon.

I don’t expect very many people to actually “step across the line” in opposition to the war, but there has been talk of more passionate protests in case of war. For example, when the bombs start falling, people will vigil at the Federal Building in downtown Rockford (211 S. Court St.) the day and the day after they begin bombing. That would be a candlelight vigil starting at 5 p.m.

Some national peace leaders are suggesting calling in “sick of war” and staying home when the bombs begin to fall. Others propose sitting in at our congressman’s office. I don’t know what we’ll do here besides light some candles, say some prayers and write letters. But I do believe that people should take at least one more step in advocating peace instead of war.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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