War Protests Said to Conflict With Country

  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

Berkeley students and citizens etched a place in the nation's headlines last year by decrying the war in Afghanistan, causing reactions across the country that were often far from supportive.

Frequent rallies against the war could be found on the UC Berkeley campus in the months following the Sept. 11 attacks, some of which attracted as many as 2,500 demonstrators.

But while many at the university supported the anti-war movement, other students around the country did not.

"Berkeley politics and the protesters are completely out of tune with America and reality, in general," said UC San Diego student Eric Gorinstein. "They simply have reactionary opinions, always willing to assume the worst about America and just whitewash the actions of any terrorist or anti-American group."

Some college students said it is the manner of the protests, rather than their content, that are problematic.

"People in Berkeley should very cautiously consider the fragile state of mind our country has been in over the past year," said University of Pennsylvania sophomore Jason Min. "Regardless of who is at fault for 9/11, Americans must unite if they want to get through this crisis."

Student protesters should respect the feelings of others and express "sensitivity," said Duke University sophomore Daniel Park.

"Given the circumstances, a vehement disapproval of the war in times of mourning may be considered insensitive," he said. "While people are given the right to express their feelings, it shouldn't be done in a way that disturbs others."

Yet other college students say UC Berkeley's protests against the war have served to exemplify values such as the freedom of speech.

"Protesting is not unpatriotic as long as you are convinced you're doing it for the right reasons," says Washington University freshman Justin Eberlein. "It would be unpatriotic not to voice your opinions in that case."

For some students, the application of the First Amendment through protest is an act of patriotism in itself.

"Patriotism is using the rights that we have as Americans and not letting them rot in the corner," said Harvard University sophomore Quang Tran. "I've always admired students at Berkeley and what they stood for. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for those things, especially in these times."

Berkeley's protests of the war also reach well beyond Sather Gate.

The city's government and representatives have also stood against attacking Afghanistan.

Last September, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Berkeley) was the only member of Congress to vote against a resolution that granted Bush unlimited war powers in response to the terrorist attacks.

Lee's vote resulted in a national boycott of Berkeley, which local businesses have said made business difficult in the months following Sept. 11.

The Berkeley City Council followed Lee by likewise opposing the war.

"Many people appreciated the thoughtful attention (Lee) paid to the issue," said Councilmember Kriss Worthington. "Maybe other legislators look back now and wonder if they should've voted differently. It was a decision that required morality and intelligence on her part."

Worthington said despite the nation's initial lack of understanding, the reasoning behind Lee's decision has become clearer with the passage of time.

Councilmember Dona Spring, who authored the council's resolution last October condemning U.S. military action in Afghanistan, said many find it "impossible to separate political views from the way people feel about events."


Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Image Student regent resigns after sex crime allegations
Jesse Cheng officially announced his resignation from his positio...Read More»
Image Pet shop may occupy planned Goodwill
After failed negotiations with the landlord and resistance from the busines...Read More»
Image Campus graduate takes new first steps
UC Berkeley's graduation day this year was symbolic for graduate Austin Whi...Read More»
Image Regents rescind part of approval
The ongoing legal battle surrounding revisions to the building plans for th...Read More»
Image UC spared additional cuts in budget revision
While the University of California escaped further funding reductions M...Read More»
Image UC Board of Regents wary of unreliable state funds
SAN FRANCISCO - Following the release of Gov. Jerry Brown's revis...Read More»
Right Arrow

Job Postings

White Space