Kent Anti-War Committee to discuss life in Iraq

Jenna Staul

The Kent Anti-War Committee will host a forum on the Iraq War tonight featuring firsthand accounts of the war from the perspective of peace workers, activists and veterans. The event will take place at 7 p.m. today in the Student Center Governance Chambers.

Speakers at the event are Patricia McCann, a National Guard Iraq War veteran, Iraq humanitarian worker Cliff Kindy and Raed Jarrar, an activist and political analyst. Pat Coy, director for Kent State’s Center for Applied Conflict Management, will moderate the event.

“I think the primary goal of the forum is to provide alternative perspectives on the war,” Coy said. “We all live in a democracy, so whether we support the war or not, it’s being waged on our behalf. Taxes are due next week, and a very sizable portion of our income taxes will be spent for this.”

Isaac Miller, junior history major and member of the Kent Anti-War Committee, said he hopes the event will provide students with a frank discussion about the realities of war.

“The basic point is we look at American causality statistics, but what about Iraqis?” Miller said. “What’s hit me is the official statistics that come out of the Iraqi government are just morgue numbers. No one really knows for sure, and we don’t get that from the media.”

Miller said he hopes the event gives students a better perspective on life in Iraq.

“We hear a lot about Iraq, but most Americans don’t understand what it’s like to be there,” Miller said. “What its day-to-day hell is really like – we want to get that across.”

Kindy, who does humanitarian work with the Christian Peacemaker Team, said he hopes to

highlight aspects of life in Iraq that are not commonly talked about in the media.

“I’ll be sharing what it is like for Iraqis,” said Kindy, who has been to Iraq four times. “I think that’s an important perspective to share. What are the costs for Iraqis and us, economic and military costs, and what cost does it have on society?”

Kindy said he will discuss the effects of depleted uranium on Iraqis and U.S. soldiers, which he observed firsthand.

“There are babies born with all kinds of deformities, and cancer rates are up,” Kindy said.

Miller said he hopes the forum will promote a more active discussion among Kent State students about war.

“I’m hoping that kids will come away from this thinking that this is something we have to deal with,” Miller said. “Most kids on this campus are against the war, but they don’t do anything about it. We hope this is a mobilizing thing.”

Contact student politics reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].