On Saturday, students across Connecticut will travel to Boston to voice their dissatisfaction with the escalation of the war in Afghanistan and the deepening of the economic crisis.
The city is one of thirty locations in the country that will be hosting anti-war activities calling for the end of all United States occupations on the same date.
Denisa Jashari, a senior at Trinity College and co-founder of the Trinity Anti-War Coalition is one of the many who will be attending the event to make her opinions heard.
According to Jashari, the election of Obama weakened the anti-war movement because Americans thought they could rely on him to bring peace. However, with the current escalation of the war in Afghanistan, protesters have begun to take matters back into their own hands.
“All of us are responsible for being active and participating in things that have to do with issues that affect our everyday lives,” said Jashari. “If you feel an opposition to the war then show it.”
Among these issues Jashari is concerned with is the large amount of military spending that these wars require. All this money, Jashari says, should be used to fund education, projects for youth and students, and to open up jobs.
Jeff Bartos, United States Army Veteran and sophomore at Central Connecticut State University, agrees that the money spent on the wars should be going elsewhere.
The main stream U.S. media constantly talks about how, “the economy is in shambles, the taxes are too high, the housing crisis, healthcare, [etcetera] when we could fund all of these if we had never gone to war with Iraq” said Bartos.
Now, the co-founder and secretary of the Connecticut Chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Bartos originally supported the war and joined the Army in July of 2003.
“I thought the U.S. was doing good things in response to the events of September 11th,” said Bartos.
That all changed once he was deployed.
While serving in Iraq from 2006 to 2007, there was a two month period during which Bartos was faced with experiences that made sleep difficult, often only allowing him to get three or four hours a night.
After being honorably discharged in 2007, Bartos began a year long process where he continued to reevaluate his feelings and eventually changed his position about the war.
“I’ve taken a bit of a different look at using violence for various measures since I’ve been back” said Bartos. Now having returned, he finds no justified reason for the number of deaths that have occurred or for the many more lives to be lost.
Will Boston Be The Next Pittsburgh?
Though some similar issues will be touched upon in Boston, Bartos doesn’t expect to experience anything like the G-20 protests in Pittsburg, where he was arrested with a group of protestors while helping a journalist who had been pepper sprayed in the eyes.
“Pittsburg was a different thing” he said. “It wasn’t just challenging the war it was challenging the status quo of the group of twenty finance ministers and world leaders and their entire power base.”
The march in Boston is a permitted peaceful march, he said, which happens every six months to a year.
“This is just going to be a bunch of people carrying signs and singing songs” he said.
“Our intentions are just to really exercise our freedom of speech and freedom of free assembly” she said.
How Students Will Get There
As a part of the effort help others voice their opinions against war, The Trinity Anti-War Coalition has organized carpools for approximately 25 people from Trinity to attend the event.
Other university groups from UConn and Eastern Connecticut State University will also be organizing transportation for those interested as well.
According to Wes Strong, a member of Connecticut Students Against the War and graduate of Central Connecticut State University, there is a full school bus going from Central Connecticut State University up to Boston. They also have more requests for seats than seats available, which he said he thinks is very encouraging.
Starting at 1:00pm protestors will gather in Copley Square to listen to speakers and musical performances. Afterward the group will proceed to march around the square.
More information about the rally in Boston can be found by visiting http://october17.org/boston/
More information about Iraq Veterans Against the War can be found at http://www.ivaw.org/