Sunday, January 12, 2003

Activists urge opposition to war

By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Although war with Iraq hasn't begun, local opposition is under way.

At a workshop for People Against War, held Saturday at St. Joseph Church in the West End and organized by the peace committee of the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, the focus was on nonviolent solutions.

"This is not a football match," said speaker Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Mary Evelyn Jegen, co-founder of Global Peace Services USA.

Sister Jegen addressed the crowd after a speech by Rania Masri, a board member of Peace Action and Education for Peace in Iraq Center.

Sister Jegen said war must be seen not in terms of winning and losing, but with compassion for those who are suffering. "The power of active nonviolence resides in all of us," she said.

She urged those angry about the threat of war to channel their emotions creatively. She suggested sending "political love letters" to President Bush and others "who can decide to destroy hundreds of thousands of lives."

Among the audience members was Cincinnati City Councilman David Crowley, who said his opposition to a war partly stems from his own experiences in Bosnia dealing with victims and refugees as a relief director for a charitable organization.

He said that although he's convinced a war with Iraq is on the horizon, he thinks it's a "terrible, terrible mistake" that will have consequences not just in the Middle East, but in Cincinnati as well, as attention is diverted from local issues.

Rania Masri will speak tonight at 8:30 p.m. on the Faith and Justice Forum, WVXU-FM (91.7).

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