TERRE HAUTE — Judy Barnebey wanted to remind people that it’s OK to be against the war.
Barnebey, of Terre Haute, was one of many lined up Saturday along Third Street in front of the Vigo County Courthouse protesting the war in Iraq.
“I came today as a religious person who feels that we don’t have the right to bomb another country, to injure its citizens, to cut off their electricity when it’s 120 degrees,” she said, “and then when we see a civil war developing, not to say we made a mistake and we are going to leave and we’re going to send you some money to help repair the horrors we’ve done.”
Between 50 and 70 people attended the Statewide Rally Against the Iraq War sponsored by the Indiana Peace and Justice network and hosted by Terre Haute Stop War on Iraq.
At least half of those attending were not from the Wabash Valley.
Other than holding signs with messages such as “Impeach Bush” or “End the War,” participants also chanted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the Iraqi war has got to go!”
Several speakers were also present to fire up the protesters. Laurie Perdue from CodePink, an anti-war group started by women, offered insight into the goings-on in Washington D.C.
She was arrested three times while protesting the war. She said one of those arrests was false and only based on the color she was wearing — pink.
CodePink’s name is a play on this Administration’s Homeland Security color code.
“While [President] Bush’s color coded alerts are based on fear, the CodePink alert is based on compassion and is a feisty call for women and men to ‘wage peace,’” the organization’s Web site states.
Perdue urged the people to call Congress every day to make their voices heard. She emphasized that the call is toll-free and only takes a few minutes.
“Tell them to stop buying this war,” she said, noting that if funding for the war is ended then the war would end also.
By the end of her speech, Perdue had rallied the people to cheer “Power to the people!”
Another speaker who also brought on a lot of audience participation was Anne Feeney, a peace/labor activist and musician.
“Alone, we can’t do too much,” Feeney told the crowd, “but together we can do anything!”
Her statement was met with many hoots and hollers.
Feeney taught the crowd a song that she encouraged them to sing, in rounds, as they protested with their signs on the streets.
“To stop the war, you’ve got to call the president. Bring home the troops. Bring home the troops. Call George Bush and tell him, ‘Bring the troops home now!’”
The crowd soon joined in for a few rounds.
After the speakers, people lined up to volunteer to read off some of the 81 names of the Hoosiers that have died in the war. A bell was rung after each name was read.
Vigo County Clerk Patricia Mansard was the first in line. Terre Haute City Councilman, Todd Nation (D-4th) also read some names.
“It’s just incomprehensible, the pain, the suffering that that represents,” Mansard said. “Such a terrible loss.”
She said it’s hard not to participate in events like this one.
“… How can you know every night when you see the faces of our war dead and do nothing?” she said. “… I could not, in good conscience, just sit and let this go on and say nothing. There are sins of omission.”
In addition to protesting, Carl Klarner, an Indiana State University political science professor, writes letters to Congress and the president, signs petitions and tells his friends about ending the war.
“The majority of Americans are against this war, and we have to encourage them to make their voices heard,” Klarner said.
“Making a public statement like this helps mobilize everybody else.”
Eighty-one pairs of boots were also on display at the protest starting on the steps of the courthouse. The boots, a traveling exhibit from the American Field Service Committee called “Eyes Wide Open,” represented the 81 Hoosiers who lost their lives in the war.
A Midwest Mobilization demonstration in Chicago is set for Oct. 27. For more information, e-mail Nina Klooster at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.thstopwaroniraq.
Crystal Garcia can be reached at (812) 231-4271 or email@example.com.
TERRE HAUTE — Judy Barnebey wanted to remind people that it’s OK to be against the war.
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