Almost two weeks after the New York bombing, faculty and students gathered together in the Student Union Monday night for a Teach-In on Organizing Against War and Racism. Hosting the event were Professors Deborah Berman Santana, Julia Sudbury, Ajuan Mance, and Stephen Zunes, a guest speaker from the University of San Francisco.
Trying to put together some sense of the feeling of loss and fear, Organizing Against War and Racism focused on misguided concepts and dealing with the tragedy with open heart and minds. “[We] have to think about how to think, how to speak,” said Professor of English, Ajuan Mance, “we have to be careful not to preach or use condescending scorn when talking with each other.” The importance of solidarity is as much important as respecting each others opinions and ideas.
To divert growing racism, fear, and hostility, the Teach-In wanted to focus on implementing peace instead of violence. Observant of the media, Mance pointed out that there weren’t any anti-war perspectives anywhere on television or in newspapers although a movement of peace is in interest. Interestingly, even radio stations have been censored to not play songs of peace such as John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. The lack of a diversified media, such as people of color, the working class, and Queer folk are not represented, could be a main reason for the one sided view of the terrorist attack.
Also dealing with the knowledge that many citizens of America are unaware of their own countries’ foreign policies, Professor Santana highlighted the U.S.’ involvement in Puerto Rico. The naval base, used for conventional and non-conventional bomb testings such nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare is ruining Puerto Rico’s
Economy and environment. Although it has been proven that the bomb testings have nothing to do with the progress of the investigation of the terrorist attacks, the U.S. will still continue to use Vieques, Puerto Rico as their testing site.
Adding to this argument, Professor Stephen Zuniz made knowledgeable the crimes committed by the U.S. government in Afghanistan. In 1986, the U.S. military bombed pharmaceutical building killing civilians, what the government calls ‘collateral damage.’ The direct affect of this bombing is thousands of people not able to acquire their local medicine. More importantly, Zuniz also defined the difference between a government and one person such as Osama bin Laudin. For instance, bin Laudin is not the government; he is part of a faction of terrorists. The need to bomb Afghanistan for one man stems from America’s “anger, resentment, and blind rage- not that much different from the terrorists themselves,” Zuniz said.