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Peaceniks on parade

By Gregory J. Hand
web posted September 24, 2001

It didn't take long after the dust had settled over lower Manhattan for the freakish peaceniks, as if on queue, to crawl out from under their rocks. Dreaming of some sort of perverted sixties rebirth, they were almost gleeful for the excuse to stock up on contraceptives, marijuana and LSD, dust off the bell bottoms, and pull out those old Joan Baez, Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin LPs as they practiced singing "Give Peace a Chance."

Last Thursday was the big kickoff, with rallies at over 100 college campuses, the breeding ground of the leftist ideology infestation, in what was being called a national "day of action" for a variety of radicals to hold hands, whine about capitalism, and publicly posture for the world to see their compassion on display. As these events tend to be, it was not only a grab the ankles for third world terrorists type of day, but one to also fight racism, lest anyone think all Muslims radical terrorists. No doubt the "Free Mumia" crowd participated as well.

While the former site of the World Trade Center is called "ground zero" for the terrorist attacks, Berkeley is the equivalent for the protest movement. Berkeley, in fact, is a cesspool of such liberal nonsense. Full of anarchists, communists, and socialists of all flavors, it is what happens when the inmates run the asylum. There is no logic within the city limits; it is practically illegal; and everything that is done is to make as many people as possible feel good about themselves. One would think that with all the 'good vibes' and attention to feelings that this would be a relaxed, peaceful place full of love and harmony. On the contrary, it is filled with some of the most hateful, embittered people in the country, a Democratic Party convention notwithstanding.

It centers on the University, where students and aging radicals anxiously linger while hoping for the possibility of a return to the glory days of the protest era. Like those at other colleges and universities last Thursday, protests held there were ridiculous as more than 1,000 demonstrators, some wielding placards with stupid messages like, "An eye for an eye leaves the world blind," gathered in UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza to rally for peace.

"War is unpatriotic. We don't want to see the flag of the United States hitting and killing civilians," said Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian, which creates a somewhat comical image, "Send them food rather than bombs." he added to enthusiastic cheers from the mind numbed crowd. Hatem, pardon your ignorance, but we actually have already done as you requested. As President Bush stated in his well received speech the other night, the United States is Afghanistan's largest benefactor in humanitarian aid. This means, ironically enough, that we provide the food which gives those that chant "Death to America" the energy to do so.

"As someone who has been directly affected, I'm here to stand in peace against the killing of any innocent people," said Yes Duffy, a UC Berkeley senior in architecture and city planning whose aunt, a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 77, was killed when that plane crashed into the Pentagon, "We should have learned our lesson from losing enough innocent lives already."

Besides Osama bin Laden and his friends, who is for the killing of any innocent people? Although quite a popular leftist technique, it is so absurd to stand up to proclaim being in favor of something on which 99.9% of the world's population agrees with you. The unspoken inference in proclaiming something to the world, like "I support healthy children," is that there are those out there who do not, like a political opponent. Truthfully, however, how compassionate, much less intelligent, can one be stating something so obvious so publicly?

"Anyone involved in the terrorism should be taken to an international court and undergo a just trial." Duffy continued, not content to quit humiliating himself, "Indiscriminate bombs won't solve anything." Off to The Hague, they go. That'll teach those nasty bad guys a lesson. Osama is probably trembling in his boots at the mere possibility of being hauled off to a show trial in Europe.

As an aside, this call for an international court and a "just trial," strangely enough, seems somewhat out of place for a place like Berkeley. These are usually the people who decry the criminal justice system as unjust, especially for those in minority communities, of which Osama bin Laden and his cohorts are members. One could reasonably expect those in Berkeley to call for bin Laden and Co. to undergo sensitivity and diversity training along with a healthy dose of anger management and a lecture about how bombs pollute our fragile ecosystem, not to be placed on trial.

Berkeley, of course, was not alone in protesting an American response to the terrorist attacks that have claimed over six thousand lives. At Lewis & Clark College in Oregon, students formed a human peace symbol and sang, "Give Peace a Chance," but sadly enough came no closer to recreating the sixties, despite the good old college try. "I didn't stop crying for four days," Satya Bycock, a sophomore at the college whined, "But the cycle of violence can't continue." In that she is correct. Unfortunately, bin Laden probably is not going to stop because a hysterical teenager asks him to. That is the purpose of the United States Military.

Several hundred students gathered at Harvard Yard to do their part in the national rally. From the library steps, organizers pleaded for peace through a bullhorn. "In denouncing the terrorist attacks, we as a nation must not forget that while we have been grievously wronged, it will do us no good to wrong others in return," said Alisa Khan, 17, of Herndon, Va., who described herself as both a Muslim and an American, and whose statement makes very little sense. American retribution is punishment for crimes already committed. The United States is not going to "wrong others." It is going to penalize criminals and those that harbor them. How is that a 'wrong?'

Dan Hooper, 24, a member of the Army Reserves, stood at a peace rally at the University of Wisconsin-Madison holding a sign that read "War kills civilians, not terrorists," although one would hope that the Army is not that inept. "As much as I fear for myself and the role I'm going to have to play in this, I'm much more afraid for the innocent people who are going to suffer for this in other countries," said Hooper, a physics student, which is utter nonsense since his only concern is protecting his own rear end. Isn't it nice that the cowardly peacenik would take the scholarship money and other government compensation for being in the Army Reserves only to get cold feet when his country asks for something in return?

Florida International University, in doing their part for peacenik day, held four forums on the university's campus in downtown Fort Lauderdale Thursday afternoon, one of which was about nonviolence, where approximately 60 people attended. "I believe in nonviolence and peace," said Gabriel Hermelin, 35, who is completing a graduate degree in conflict resolution at Nova Southeastern and attended the peace forum, "You don't have to be pro-war to be a patriot. . . .I find myself in inner conflict because I turn on my radio and hear people getting lambasted for wanting to hold prayer vigils. I feel like I have to keep quiet." Oh, the humanity! Can you imagine her teaching a conflict resolution class?

Colleges, however, are not alone. "A diverse nationwide coalition of religious leaders, social activists and business leaders - organized by Rosa Parks, Harry Belafonte and others - have," according to the Miami Herald, "issued a message that echoes what's being said by some on college campuses: Those responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon should be brought to justice, but indiscriminate military retaliation would incite more violence, not end it." Who said anything about the military retaliation being indiscriminate? And Harry Belafonte as peace activist? What is this world coming to?

Also by Thursday, the nation day of action, nearly 1,500 religious leaders had endorsed a statement by the National Council of Churches of Christ USA calling for "sober restraint," not military retaliation. These are probably the same church leaders who have just returned from the U.N. World Conference against Racism, where between rounds of Israel bashing they were confessing their racist pasts.

There were even protests in New York of all places, where 1,500 protesters marched through the city, snarled traffic and drew hecklers as they walked up Park Avenue, over to the Avenue of the Americas and to Times Square. "This is the belly of the beast and this is where we need to be active," said a protester named Amy, as she drew up posters before the rally. naive, naive, naive. Give her a bucket and let her spend a day down at the ruins of the World Trade Center picking up the random body parts of over six thousand victims and see if her attitude changes.

Victim's relatives have also joined in the fray. Judy Keane, whose husband, Richard, was killed in the World Trade Center attacks, helped organize a prayer vigil near her home in Wethersfield, Connecticut, on the Sunday evening after, an event that drew more than 5,000 people. "The World Trade Center was in retaliation for something else, and that was the retaliation for something else," Keane said in The Washington Post Wednesday. "Are we going to continue this in perpetuity? We have to say at some point, OK, let's find another way of doing this." We are. By eliminating the terrorists at the source, this should prevent, or at least severely stifle, this sort of behavior in the future.

The peace movement, like other social movements before it, has seen its best times come and go. But like so many others, it will never realize this, and will continue to flail away on the dream that the glory days they once enjoyed can be recreated, if only for a moment. So every time a fighter jet goes into the air, out they come looking for another attempt at summoning the past.

"This is not just another (expletive) Berkeley march," said Orinda native Adrian Wilson, a UC Berkeley senior majoring in political science, at the Berkeley protest, "This could be the start of a movement. This is like the marches of the '60s. They stopped the war. We could do it again." No dear, you can't. You can certainly try, as no doubt you are going to do (repeatedly), but the sixties are thankfully dead. Please allow it to rest in peace.

It is a sad commentary that the pinnacle of some people's lives was in excess of thirty years ago. Like drug addicts looking for a better high, these aging hippies continue to futilely attempt to relive that heyday, unwilling to accept the reality that society has changed, and that while the clothes may come back one day, the set of circumstances that created that era probably will not. It is time to grow up and move on.

That the younger generation looks with affinity at this sort of nonsense only shows the lure of sex, drugs and really bad music, with a little bit of faux compassion and grandstanding thrown in for good measure. Having been continuously brainwashed by this country's education system, they look with awe at their loser professors in their ivory towers, lamenting the unfortunate timing of their birth and wishing, along with their elders, to also attempt to recreate this supposedly magical time.

Regrettably this 'hate America' crowd will always be with us. A parasite on society, they ignorantly preach against the very thing, a strong military, which allows them the freedom to act as ridiculous as they do. Theirs is a simplistic world of high flung dreams with no basis in reality, and just because they do not wish Osama bin Laden any harm does not mean he will reciprocate in kind. On the contrary, he seems to get a thrill out of attacking the innocent.

Very few people actually enjoy war, but like liberalism itself, it is a necessary evil which must sometimes be accommodated, especially with terrorists with whom there is no reasoning. What the left does not understand is that a hand outstretched in friendship to people like bin Laden is only going to get chopped off, and a hug will only be met with a knife in the back.

The only thing a terrorist understands is violence, which is why they enjoy inflicting it on as many innocent people as they can. With impunity they act, until such time as others rise up against them, which is exactly what the United States and its partners are now doing. Despite the wishes and desires of the peace activists for it to be otherwise, this is the only way to solve this problem, for bin Laden is not someone with whom a peace can be negotiated. To be a peacenik in such a brutal world is to slit your own throat, if people like Osama bin Laden don't beat you to it.

Gregory J. Hand is a political and social commentator whose weekly columns disclose his personal passion for conservative issues. His columns appear regularly at NewsCorridor, OpinioNet, and Ether Zone, and he is also a contributing writer with Enter Stage Right. He has a B.A. in Economics from Wofford College. You can view the complete catalog of all of his works on GregoryHand.com, and can reach him at ghand@gregoryhand.com.

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