Message to the World: Not In Our Name

Revolutionary Worker #1172, October 27, 2002, posted at

The following quotes are from people who were at the October 6 Not In Our Name rallies in several cities around the country:

Naomi, student at Stuyvesant HS, NYC:

"I'm taking this Pledge because what is happening now affects everyone, but it especially affects us, the youth. This is our world and we are going to be around long after Bush and his friends head out. I'm taking this Pledge because this world is one that I'm expected to live in and I have to care what it's going to look like. We have to care, we young people. I'm taking this Pledge because youth everywhere are having war waged in our names and we need to speak out. We need to speak out because there will be no other time. It's today--not tomorrow! I'm taking this Pledge because we, the next generation, may wake up tomorrow to find that the things we love have been destroyed because we didn't say anything today! So this is the time and the place where we can come together and speak together and take this Pledge together and rise up together."

Young Black man from Compton College at the L.A. rally:

"I'm out here because I been watching the news lately and I'm really disgusted at what I see. This war in Iraq is really wrong and I want to support the movement against it. Not In Our Name is like this for me. There is our name and there is their name. You have to differentiate who is us and who is them. Us means us, we the people. And them represents who I would call the anti-people because they're not working in the interests of the people. I want the people of the world to know that if what they see in the media is a portrayal of something against them they should know that there are people here who are really trying to fight for them and fight for their best benefits. Like Chuck D said, "Don't believe the hype!" Don't believe what you see in the media. There are a lot of people who are really against the war and the people around the world should keep their heads up."

Teacher who is a member of Educators for Social Responsibility in NYC:

"I like Not in Our Name and what it represents because right now there is a total lack of critical analysis going on in the public debate. Not in Our Name means to critically think about statements like when George Bush says, `You're either with us or with the terrorists.' People are being brainwashed and it's important to stand up for what we believe in."

Activists organizing on UC Berkeley campus:

"It's especially important here in Berkeley because people across the country, both activists and the general public, look to Berkeley to lead and there have been some newspaper stories which have said Berkeley isn't doing much. Well we're going to show them. We're going to lead on the anti-war effort.

Mica, young Black woman in San Francisco:

I'm amazed at the amount of people here today. Everyone thinks: I'm just one person, I can't make a difference, but I know that everyone showing up and coming out is incredibly important and powerful--not only to the spirit of the movement but also for the legitimacy and documentation of what we are saying.

Woman from East Side Arts Alliance in Oakland:

"The media portrays Americans as being mostly supportive of the Bush administration and a lot of regular people see that information that the media puts out and they think that's how most Americans feel so that's how they should feel. They don't question it. And the voices of resistance are suppressed. That's why it's important that we express our dissent, because that will encourage other people to express their views and start thinking about what's going on. I'm here to represent the Japanese American community and that we say no to war and no to the targeting of the Muslim, South Asian, and Middle Eastern communities here in the United States. We don't want to repeat what happened to our parents in WW2."

Melitia Sarges, member of "Chicago Artists for Not In Our Name":

"I believe human beings have basic human rights. The right to clean air and water. The right to access food and clothing. A right to a home and a homeland. A right for education and a right to live. And whether these pepole call themselves Iraqis, Afghanis, Palestinians or Americans. They're entitled to these rights. I cannot support an open-ended war that targets entire communities, countries or a people or a religion. Not in my name."

Mohammed, a doctor originally from Syria at the rally in Chicago:

"I don't think that the reason for the war is really to get rid of Saddam Hussein. I think the reasons are much far beyond that: controlling the oil reserves in Iraq, having a foothold in the Middle East, and controlling basically the world.... I feel very happy that the American people are moving and defending our rights. We have to move more and ally with other people who are affected by these policies"

Vivian Gupta, Gabriella Network:

"Since U.S. troops reentered the Philippines in February under the auspices of the so-called U.S. war on terrorism, more than 5,000 Filipinas have been trafficked into the southern Philippines and South Korea to provide sexual services to the troops stationed there. More than two dozen Filipino men, women and children, members of Gabriella Philippines and the progressive Bayan Muna political party, have since been killed by paramilitary forces without any reproach... Even now, U.S. troops are poised to return to the Philippines to establish a military base in the southern island of Zabwonga and to secure and expropriate oil reserves recently discovered in the sea touching Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines."

Reverend Robert Jeffrey, New Hope Baptist Church in Seattle

"This is a world where half of the world's population of 6 billion lives on less than $2 a day, and 1.3 billion get by on less than $1 a day and the President wonders why the rest of the world with the exception of a few rich fans, are not with us in this unholy war?"

Mathew Kwatinetz, Rebirth Arts in Seattle:

"Last year I wandered the Arizona desert in September and felt a heat that erupted in the flames of tragedy. I thought to myself, `How horrible that it must come to this, before the United States people will finally awaken, take responsibility for the actions of our government." But that is not what happened. Instead the sword of sacrifice was raised once more, and this time the innocents of Afghanistan lay beneath its edge one year ago. And now one year later Iraq is next. War-torn, sanction- ravaged Iraq is our next target, as if decades of death were not enough. The time for silence is at an end!"

African-American woman who came to the L.A. rally from Long Beach:

"I believe in humanity, and I believe that we should put people before profits. I believe that we need to take a critical look at building a real global community where the foundation is people and their ability to live well in the world. Every society has an underclass of people that are hungry or starving and poor. We're at a time right now when we're having a world crisis: with AIDS, with starvation, and now the threat of nuclear war. These are the times we're in. And we must unify and take a stand against the minority of folks who are trying to lead us down the path toward destruction."

Young Latino NION organizer in L.A.:

"This is really like the kickoff of a lot more to come of people in this country resisting what's going on and the war moves that this country is making. This should really give air to that fire that's waiting to be ignited, that resistance that's waiting to be unleashed. "

Young musician at the L.A. Rally:

"They don't have the right to kidnap people, which is basically what's happening with the TIPS program and the detention of Muslim-Americans and Arabs. Bush keeps talking about how these terrorists are jealous of how we live here. Well, that's interesting. If Bush is so pro-American, so pro- Constitution, so pro-Bill of Rights, why is he suspending the rights of Americans as far as free speech and everything? They're suspending the Constitution right now. That's definitely a contradiction on their part. And that's pretty much what we're fighting for here today. We're fighting for our freedom and to free the entire world from U.S. imperialist domination."

An Imam who was born in India and lived in Pakistan. He and his wife, who is a Choctaw Indian, organized for NION at seven colleges in Pomona, a small city to the east of L.A.:

"I think we need to let the world know, especially Muslims in the Middle East because they feel they are besieged. If you look at a map, U.S. bases are all over now and the 6th Fleet. And the people are just counting the days until they are going to be bombed. It's not just Iraq that's in fear. Is it going to be Yemen? Is it going to be Iran? It could be any other country. We are very fearful. So any words against this that comes out of the United States from the people, we see the hope. This is my message: that when we come out on the street, when we organize teach-ins, when we give out speeches, we are telling those people, `We are with you. You are not by yourself. We are with you, we stand with you.' "

Young woman with the South Asians Against Police Brutality in NY:

"I work in a high school. All the high schools are being forced to take the Pledge of Alliance to the flag. And I want to take a pledge to something else which I believe in and which I hold true. And it was really important to hear it said collectively and it's really important to me that the words are we pledge resistance, not I pledge resistance. Because it's really about a group of people and a majority of people who are not in favor of the same things that this government is doing. It's just really beautiful to me, the words in it. I feel like they ring true to me and I wanted to be able to say it out loud with a bunch of other people echoing it. I got goose bumps. It felt exhilarating. It was really amazing. I almost wanted to just yell louder and louder and louder. It was really great.... The number of people here makes me feel like yes, I can go back to work tomorrow and realize that I'm not alone. I don't feel alone. I feel like, no, there is a huge number of people who don't believe in this bullshit that our government is forcing down our throats. So that's what I'm going to take away with me."

NION organizer Xochitl, in San Francisco:

"We officially say, enough is enough! No more pretexts, no more lies, no more misinformation. We stood by as they talked about peace and then killed innocent children. We listened as they spoke of democracy, and then talked of assassinating leaders and consolidated their power. We listened when they spoke of freedom and daily attacked and persecuted Muslims and Arabs. And today we say "Enough is enough!" We draw the line. Bush says are you with us or against us, and we say with one voice and one heart that we are against you!Think of all the beautiful people here! The thousands of people that are standing here, and I want you to think for a second what it means. Because sometimes you think `What difference does it make if I stand out here, I'm just one in a crowd?' But you can see that together we have power right now."

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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