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By Angela Sorace, staff writer

 

The speaker, C.J., as she prefers to be known, is a middle-aged member of the nonprofit organization, World Can’t Wait, and she was trying to mobilize HPU students and bystanders to join her in marching about two miles down Beretania Street to Thomas Square, in a protest against the Bush administration.

C.J. is at the limit of self-sustenance. She is a waitress at a restaurant and a clerk at Revolution Bookstore and shares rent with a roommate. “I live on tips, but consider myself lucky compared to most people here today,” she said. She added that she shops only for essentials and doesn’t have a family to support her.

C.J. believes that the Bush administration is neglecting the social problems afflicting the United States because of its involvement in an illegal war, and that it is using immigrants as scapegoats to take the public’s mind off Iraq.

“ Amnesty is not the problem,” said C.J. “The government is the problem. We must force Bush to resign or be impeached. We can do that by receiving funding from prominent people, and becoming big enough to be recognized by the government.”

The next presidential elections will be in 2008, when a new head of state will be chosen democratically by American citizens. This reporter wondered, why the rush to drive out Bush?
Sophomore Marisa Castro, a 26-year-old HPU nursing student, said: “After Iraq, Iran is going to be next, and Iran has nuclear weapons. Not only that, the draft will be back because of the declining number of people who will apply for the army.”

“ Bush is the real terrorist,” Castro added. “If you had troops coming to your country and put everything in shambles, would you think they were bringing democracy and freedom? I would say no! The Bush agenda is not for Americans. Education is expensive, there is no health care, and we are fighting an illegal war.”

Castro has neither health insurance nor parents to support her living expenses. She works two jobs, and the paycheck barely covers food and rent. “I’d rather pay for food than insurance,” she said.
A political conscience should be established at HPU, Castro said.

At least six HPU students and four bystanders joined the feeder march from Fort Street Mall.
“ It is the first time we are reaching out to HPU students,” said C.J., “and I’m satisfied by the number of students who joined.”

Two international students joined the march and attended the festival. Saleh Azizi, 22, a freshman in international business at HPU, came to the United States from Sweden, where he lived with foster parents. His father was killed in the first Gulf War. Azizi doesn’t know if his mother and the rest of his family are alive.

“ Here, people join the army for money,” Azizi said. “They kill people so their country gets more oil for more cars. In Sweden, not many pay taxes to the military, but here it’s different,” Azizi said.
“ In international business, you learn that what happens to a country will affect other countries too,” he added. “What happens in the U.S.A. will affect the world.”

Haweya Egal, 23, from Sweden, is a freshman biology major at HPU. She skipped her biology class to come to the rally. “The class is so big that the professor won’t even notice I’m gone. The rally is worth it,” Egal said. About WCW, Egal said, “I don’t know much about it, but so far I like it.”

Feeder marches from the University of Hawai‘i-Manoa, Punahou School, the Convention Center, the UH Medical School, and HPU converged on Thomas Square at 3:30p.m. for a festival of music, slam poetry, dancing, and speeches.

About 400 participated in the marches and the rally at Thomas Square. About half of the crowd was under 30 years of age, and the rest included Vietnam veterans.

WCW organized similar rallies across the United States, making Oct. 5 a day dedicated to mass resistance of the Bush administration.

A number of local groups supported the rally, including Code Pink, U.S. PIRG, support groups for Lt. Aaron Watada, Suzanne Swift, GI resisters, as well as scientists from the University of Hawai‘i’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory.

Speakers at the rally included Eric Seitz, attorney for Lt. Aaron Watada and Rev. Neil McPherson, pastor at Church of the Crossroads.

Dr. Michael Hadfield, professor of zoology at UH-Manoa, and director of the Kewalo Marine Lab, denounced the government’s attacks on scientific research and education.

Annelle Amaral, vice president of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood Hawai‘i, condemned the Bush administration’s attacks on choice.

According to WCW’s pamphlet, the Bush administration enforces a culture of greed, intolerance, and ignorance.

“ People look at this and think of Hitler,” reads the pamphlet, “and they are right to do so. The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come.”

According to its Web site, WCW started mobilizing the public in the summer 2005. Its first major protest across the country was Nov. 2, 2005, the anniversary of Bush’s reelection.

To learn more, visit www.worldcantwait.net.

 

 

 

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