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Letter to the editor

March 7, 2003

In America, the common person does not get to have his or her voice heard by millions of people at one time. Celebrities in the past have used their status to raise millions of dollars for very worthy causes, such as Bono of U2, who appealed to the American government to alleviate debts in many developing countries. Bono once said, 'I just do what other people want to do if they had the money or resources that I have.'

This statement struck me as humbling because I have written, called, faxed and e-mailed letters and petitions and demonstrated in so many mass gatherings to oppose an action, and yet they have not gotten any recognition by the administration.

On Wednesday, thousands of students staged a walk out all over the country to insist on greater attention toward education. It is very ironic that education and health care are the first programs to get cut, and yet we are willing to give Turkey billions of dollars in aid when we in fact need that money for programs here at home. A re-evaluation of where money is being spent for social services needs to made immediately.

Hans Christianson got it right when he said that one of our fundamental rights as citizens is the freedom of assembly. How many of you know that president Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair denounced the demonstrations saying, 'American security comes before the voices of protesters.'

What many people and this administration have to understand is that the protesters are not pro-Saddam, but in fact also despise Saddam and want to see him removed. But the way in which the United States wants to do it is wrong.

Moreover, for Bush and Blair to denounce the fundamental right of every American and citizen of the international community is wrong and never should have been said. Many people have gained freedoms due to making their voices heard, and to silence these protesters is in fact the greatest injustice.

Leilani Ogujiofor


International Studies '04