Members of the Harvard Anti-War Coalition and other students gather outside the Science Center yesterday to protest the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War
With rainboots and umbrellas, a large group of Harvard students and other Boston-area residents marched across campus yesterday afternoon to protest the Iraq War on its fifth anniversary.
Students distributed homemade signs with slogans like “Harvard Against War” and “Out of the Armchair, Into the Streets” to a crowd of about 50 people who started gathering outside the Science Center around 2:30.
The demonstrators marched through the Square, up Mass. Ave., across the Law School campus, and then back to the Science Center.
The leaders of the protest walked in the middle of the crowd, shouting through megaphones, “Stop the war, yes we can—student power’s back again!”
Over a dozen campus groups—including the Harvard Anti-War Coalition (HAWC) and the Harvard College Democrats—sponsored the rally.
“I think anti-war sentiment on this campus has definitely escalated in the past few years,” said Alyssa M. Aguilera ’08-’09, a member of HAWC.
Graduate student Kaveri Rajaraman opened the rally, asking “Are we going to start so that everyone at Harvard knows what we are doing today?” Her question was answered with cheers.
“Five years in Iraq is five years too long!” Rajaraman shouted.
The crowd echoed, “Way too long! Way too long!”
After about fifteen minutes, the crowd marched from the Science Center into the Yard, chanting, “We are unstoppable—another Harvard’s possible!”
The protesters stopped in front of the John Harvard statue and continued yelling, “No justice, no peace! U.S. out of the Middle East!”
Speaking from the front steps of University Hall, Timothy P. McCarthy, a History and Literature lecturer, urged the crowd to remember what he said the Bush administration wants them to forget.
“They want us to forget that none of the men on those planes were Iraqi. They want us to forget that there were no weapons of mass destruction.”
McCarthy said that he has been protesting the war since its beginning.
“In 2003, Lynne Cheney produced a list of academics who were ‘short on patriotism,’” he said. “I was number 32.”
McCarthy told the crowd about his friend Ted, who was critically wounded in Iraq.
“Whenever I see Ted, I hate this war so much, it hurts,” he said. “Ted and I both love our country. We love it so much that we hate this war and didn’t want it to happen.”
Everyone applauded, then started chanting, “We don’t want war any more!” and “Iraq for Iraqis! Troops home now!”
The next speaker was Jane Collins—author of “For Love of a Soldier: Interviews with Military Families Taking Action Against the Iraq War.”
Collins urged the student protestors to remember the Iraqis and what they are going through, even though their stories are not always heard.
Collins encouraged the demonstrators, “Fight the good fight. Keep it up. Remember, it took a long time to end the Vietnam War.”
A band played a modified version of the 1960s song “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die.”
People in the crowd sang along to the refrain–“And it’s one, two, three, what we fighting for?”
Jarret A. Zafran ’09, president of the Harvard College Democrats, spoke next, calling the war a “false war, supported by false evidence, and false intelligence.”
He asked, “Are we better off because of it? Has the war in Iraq made the world any safer?”
Several members of the local community also participated in the rally. Michael I. Borkson, a Boston resident who said he has been an anti-war activist since the 1970s, said he was excited to see Harvard students “using the skills they learn in college for the better.”
“It’s good to see a cross-generational anti-war movement,” he said. “I like seeing so many youth involved.”
Laura M. Binger, a Harvard law student, called participating in the rally “an obligation.”
“It’s been five years, and not very much has changed,” she said.