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Central Mexico Joins World Wide Anti War Protests
By Cliff DuRand via email Feb. 16, 2003
San Miguel de Allende, February 15, 2003--Thousands of Mexicans and North Americans joined together today to call for peace. As millions around the world demonstrated against Bush's war on Iraq, this central Mexican city also showed its support for staying the military might of the U.S.
The weekend's anti war activities were initiated largely by U.S. and Canadian residents, but were strongly supported by Mexicans who were especially delighted to see U.S. citizens take responsibility for their government's actions.
The day began with a noon peace mass at La Parroquia, the large cathedral on the city's main square, which was filled to overflowing. The gathering was a powerful expression of solidarity between Mexicans and North Americans. All ages from school children to elderly ladies, campesinos, business people welcomed foreign residents and visitors in an emotional service for peace. In his sermon, Monseignor Vidal Moreno Hernandez called for nations to find peaceful solutions to problems. 'War only breds more war,' he warned.
As the throngs left the church, they joined the anti war rally in front of the imposing gothic structure. Decorated with colorful banners and giant puppets made by Mexican artists, the same square had seen its first anti war demonstration only one month earlier.
Arthur Silvers, founder of the San Miguel Peace Center, told the crowd that Bush can either choose war, making the U.S. 'a pariah in the world', or let the inspections go forth and then declare victory, taking credit for what they accomplished, and bring the troops home. 'If you do the latter, Mr. President, there would be celebrations and joy around the world,' he said. 'And then,' he added, 'remember to return the civil rights and liberties that have been taken from your citizens.'
The demonstrators carried home made signs saying, 'Mr. Bush, the world is not your ranch,' 'To make war, Bush needs your silence,' and 'Stop Terrorism: Disarm America.'
The speech that brought the most enthusiastic response from the crowd, especially the Mexicans, came from Guatemalan Julie DuRand. Chronicaling U. S. interventions in Latin America, she demanded to know, 'who has given the US government the right to invade our countries, starve our children, take our resources?' In these aggressions, she concluded, 'they are working for transnational corporations.'
The newly formed Peace Center took out a full page ad in the local San Miguel newspaper. Signed by hundreds of persons of various nationalities, it opposed pre-emptive war and U.S. unilateralism. Earlier in the week, the Peace Center had sent messages to each member of the United Nations Security Council opposing the U.S. 'bid for military, political and economic dominance in the Middle East.' Speaking for U.S. citizens living in Mexico, it implored the Security Council 'to save us from our own government,' adding, 'this may also be your last best chance to also save international institutions,' such as the United Nations.
The weekend of anti war activities had began Friday afternoon with a lecture by Professor Cliff DuRand. Titled 'We Have Seen Our Future, And It Does Not Work,' he described the politics of fear by which the Bush administration has gained public support for its reactionary policies, pointing out that this is degrading the nation's ethical values. Speaking to a standing room only audience, social philosopher DuRand warned, 'our nation is now on a slippery slope into a moral abyss.' =20
The people of San Miguel have now joined hundreds of cities and towns around the world in a grassroots movement to stop the war machine of the superpower. Will the world ever be the same again once this power of the people has been unleashed? At the very least, this day gives hope that another world is possible.
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