Seattle Anti-War Protest on 7th Anniversary of Invasion of Iraq

Emma Kaplan
High school students
  

On Sunday March 21st in Seattle, hundreds gathered to protest the illegitimate wars and occupations. We got mainly positive response from people on the sides of the streets and some joined in the march on the spot. The We Are Not Your Soldiers flier was tremendously popular and people really like that we are doing something to actually STOP the wars instead of just dissenting against them. Teenagers in particular were interested and had though about military recruiting some but weren’t sure how to go up against it. There was an ex-school teacher who really were glad to see us out there, recalling the days when recruiters would come into the schools completely unopposed and try to suck on youth to join the military. He hated it but also wasn’t sure how to go up against it. We had 4 high school students join our contingent, all very energetic and wanting to do something that would contribute to stopping torture and the war. One high school woman said, “ I was in second grade when 9/11 happened and this is all we have really known.” Another high school student said, “You always hear about 9/11 but they don’t teach you in school why it happened, what led up to it (referring to what the U.S. does in the world), it wasn’t until my freshman year that I really started to understand this.” People are frusterated but they are also inspired to see others criticizing what Obama is doing and there largest applause came when we said that millions of people need to stay in the streets until Bush, Cheney and all war criminals are prosecuted and sent to jail for war crimes. People also expected to be more college students from the student strikes but this did not translate. One young woman said, “Maybe they are not coming out because this doesn’t affect them directly.” The approach some of the organizers had was to try to show that the war affecting students directly by building for the action by saying money for education not for war and occupation, thinking that would convince them to come out. However, what was compelling those who wanted to stop the war and have consistently been out in the streets have been those who have an understanding about what the reality of these wars are, the atrocities that are committed against the people in Iraq & Afghanistan and seeing that these are a part of wars for empire.

This is what needs to be brought out to people. One student said, “ If somebody could convince us that these wars are wrong, who’s to say we can’t convince the world.”