The U.S.-led military campaign preparing for a war with Iraq has resulted in anti-war protests not only in New York and Washington, but also at USF.
An anti-war protest against the possible war with Iraq was held in front of Cooper Hall Wednesday. Boontarika Klinchongkol, a member of the Alliance for Concerned Students, said the protest, referred to as a “Die-In”, was based on the idea of a Teach-In.
“We are reaching out and teaching people that this is dying. We are showing people that this is what death looks like, and that this is what war looks like,” Klinchongkol said.
Students from the Alliance for Concerned Students and Campus Greens organized the “Die-In.” Protesters played dead in the grass with signs protesting the war while other students made fiery speeches about the consequences of the upcoming conflict.
One of the signs read, “I’m 18 years old. I was shot and killed in Iraq. I was going to be married to my high school sweetheart. We would have named our first child Megan.”
One of the students, Christopher Devis, had bullet holes drawn on his chest and passionately spoke out against the war with Iraq.
“It is up to U.N. weapons inspectors to show the burden of proof. The U.N. is doing their job, but the U.S. is trying to hinder,” Devis said.
During the protest, there were arguments between pro-war and anti-war students. Some pro-war students yelled and cursed at the demonstrators, as they blamed Iraq and Saddam Hussein for the possibility of war.
As the protest escalated, campus police arrived to ensure that the situation did not get out of control. Six University Police officers arrived to observe the protest.
One of the pro-war students, Jeff Oliveira, held a sign that said, “I will not lay down in the face of danger. Go Bush.”
Oliveira, who is in the USF ROTC program, said if a war is organized, he will support the United States.
Though Oliveira supports a war against Iraq, he said it is difficult to find a solution because everyone feels differently about the situation.
Klinchongkol said the United States should not get involved with the Iraqi government.
“If we lift sanctions and get rid of outside oppression, (Iraqis) can see for themselves what a jerk (Hussein) is, and then they can make their own decisions, and it would be a more meaningful regime change instead of it being forced on them,” Klinchongkol said.