I spoke with the editor of my college newspaper about covering the "Not in Our Name" Rally that was going to be happening in Eugene. Excited about the event, she said that she wanted to make it a top feature, but told me that I must write it in AP format, and tell it from an objective viewpoint.
I considered the proposition, but knowing that there is no objectivity when it comes to attacking Iraq, I declined the assignment. I did however, offer to submit photos and a commentary on the rally.
As it turns out the photo editor was thrilled with one of the photos that I submitted and decided that it should be on the front page, large and very visible, or in newspaper terms, three columns wide. He told me that he wished that he would have been at the protest.
This of course, is my prime motivation for submitting material to the newspaper, to inspire and motivate others so that when they pick up their copy of the Torch this week and see the protest photograph and read my commentary, it will stir in them the desire to get involved.
On the first day of school in my 'world religion' class the teacher began the session with a brilliant speech on dharma (social duty) and responsibility. He spoke about making a difference and how this fits with the idea of dharma and karma (action), concepts that we would be studying this term. He then asked how many of the students not already registered to vote wanted a voter registration card. An impressive number raised their hand.
A few days ago upon entering my world religion classroom the chalkboard read:
"Dharma - Civic Duty". Telephone numbers for Wyden, Smith and DeFazio were written next to this reminder. He explained the importance of our dharmic duty and urged us to call our Representatives and voice our opinion about attacking Iraq. This prompted a discussion amongst a few students, as we shared our concerns with each other.
This teacher is extraordinary in that he is the only one of my three instructors that have taken the initiative and the time to express concern and dissent. As an institution of higher learning I feel that this should be the rule, not the exception.
I personally am finding it hard to concentrate on my studies when all around us the world is in complete and utter chaos. I find it hollow and callous that an issue of this magnitude would be ignored on college campuses and that we carry on as if nothing is wrong, as if it does not affect us.
This mentality is all too pervasive in our society. We are sleeping, our consciousness suppressed under layers of propaganda and enculturation.
I am not keen on the approach of shining a floodlight in a sleeping person's eyes, but I understand the passion behind the intense desire to provoke in individuals a sense of responsibility and basic human concern. We must do something to illicit a response!
I feel that the best response is education, but there must be willingness, a passageway in us that opens to allow and usher in new perspectives. Education can take several forms. Certainly taking to the streets and protesting with signs is a good way to send a message to the world. Chanting is another method. Striking up conversation, debating about important issues that effect us all, is also a healthy way to educate one another.
Let us utilize every possible forum to educate and enlighten one another. Write for your school newspaper. Submit items to newsletters informing people of events (such as rallies) that are happening. Write letters to the editor of your community newspapers. Wear Peace and No War Buttons. Bumper sticker your mode of transportation too. Speak up and speak out! Now is the time to let your voice be heard!
Oh, my next assignment for my school newspaper is responding to a flier that was found on campus: hate literature, signed by Volksfront. If you've got anything that you'd like to contribute to this issue please share it here!