Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Peace Vigil: Red Lines And War

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY - Monday  9/9/13

It's a matter of lines not to be crossed.

On August 20th, 2012 President Obama stated that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government was a "red line" that wouldn't be tolerated if violated.  He suggested the US would seriously consider military action against any aggressor using such weapons.

During the conflict in Syria it's alleged that the government did use chemical weapons against rebel forces.  Obama's red line had apparently been crossed.*

Time for another war?  Not if local peace activists have their say.

Mary-Alice Shemo (right) speaks to other peace activists during the vigil she organized against US military involvement in the Syrian conflict.

Monday evening around twenty people gathered at the Greenway – the open park area next to the ROTA Gallery – to prepare for a vigil.  Flattened cardboard was crudely torn into blank signs.  Spray paint and magic markers were used to write messages urging the US to stay out of Syria.  Candles in paper cups were lit, symbolizing hope, light against darkness.

Then the group gathered along the Margaret Street side of the Greenway, displaying their signs.  NO WAR IN SYRIA.  WAR IS A RACKET.  MORE PEACE.  Sometimes during the vigil a car horn was honked, the passing driver showing solidarity with the group.

Songs for peace were sung.

The organizer of the event, Mary-Alice Shemo, shared her thoughts on the possible military incursion into Syria.  She expressed concern over the out of control US national debt, that another war like Iraq and Afghanistan would bankrupt the country sooner.  Money, she added, should be spent on services like Social Security and Medicaid instead of cutting such programs.

Then she asked others to share their thoughts.

The consensus was that the chemical attacks that reportedly killed 1,400 Syrians was tragic but US military intervention was not the answer, it would only turn the situation into a greater tragedy.

Among the comments one woman said that if the US started sending missiles into Syria more countries would get involved, possibly resulting in World War III. "How will this help the women and children, the innocent people?" she asked.

Referring to Obama's justification for war, the woman concluded: "This red line has got to go.  Red lines shouldn't start wars. This is my red line: No."

* It should be noted that Obama now says that his statement referred to the world's "red line," not his own.  So if I royally screw up anything at this blog, remember that it's not my blog, it's the world's blog.  Ergo, the world made the mistake.  After all, the world at large gets blamed for everything else.

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