Signs & Marches Opposing a War with Iraq


Pittsburgh PA, 2002/2003



My signs:


Used at the Great Race (5K run/walk), Sept 2002:


War in Iraq makes the U.S. a Global BULLY


What’s the Great Race to war with Iraq?


Used at the Antiwar Convergence, Jan 26 2003:


War in Iraq makes the U.S. a Global BULLY


BUSH: Stop wasting $1 BILLION A WEEK of our tax money!


George Bush is a rerun of a bad movie




HEY SHRUB: Get out of OUR Rose Garden!


My daughter’s signs (age 7), Jan 26 2003:


Edgewood Primary Students Against The War In Iraq!


Why Doesn’t Bush Give A Reason?


Other people’s signs seen at the Jan 26 2003 march:






Exile Bush






God so loved the world that he gave his only son. George so loved his oil that he gave everyone else's


Bush.  Cheney.  Rumsfeld.  Empty Warheads.



The Jan 2003 Antiwar Convergence was organized by the Thomas Merton Center, . They have links to other good news stories.



The following are pictures and stories from :


An estimated 5,000 protestors march through Oakland to protest the possibility of a potential U.S.-Iraq conflict.


Dozens of people block Fifth Avenue at Craig with a "Die-In," a human representation of the potential casualties in a U.S.-Iraq war. The Regional Convergence Against the War drew several thousand people to Oakland in sub-freezing weather to protest against a possible U.S.-Iraq conflict -- the largest anti-war crowd in Pittsburgh since the Vietnam War.


Betty Lane, 65, of Larimer, joined other "Raging Grannies" in singing on the steps of the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute on Fifth Avenue in Oakland during the Regional Convergence Against the War in Oakland.


Ahmed Abdelwahab, of Forest Hills, right, questioned why U.S. policy failures in Iraq aren't at the forefront of the national agenda.






Marchers' message: Give peace a chance


Sunday, January 26, 2003



Catholic priests walked next to communists. Housewives and attorneys mixed

with World War II veterans and full-time peace activists. Grey-haired

grandmothers and teenagers with body piercings chanted anti-war slogans

side by side.


And they all marched together down Carson Street yesterday afternoon to

the beat of anarchist drums, collecting pink balloons from gay-rights

groups in a colorful and peaceful display of opposition to a potential

war with Iraq.


The only hint of trouble came after the official event, when about

70 people, mostly anarchists costumed as "Steelers fans for peace,"

returned to Station Square by marching down one side of Carson Street,

blocking traffic. They refused to move to the sidewalk despite repeated

requests from mounted police, but no one was arrested.


The crowd was notable not only for its diversity, but for its size. The

Post-Gazette counted about 1,300 people passing Carson Street at 22nd



Police estimated the crowd at 1,500 to 2,000, and organizers put the crowd

size as high as 5,000. By any count, the march was likely Pittsburgh's

largest anti-war protest in 30 years, although non-political events,

such as the March for Jesus, have drawn far larger crowds.


South Side residents going about their daily business marveled at the



"I'm surprised to see that [anybody] believes in anything," said Ron

Molinaro, co-owner of Pizza Vesuvio at 15th Street, who was assembling

a pie.


Too many Americans, he said, are numb and unwilling to hold their leaders

accountable. "As long as they can go to Ikea and to fast food chains

and to strip malls, they're content."


Although the "Parade for Peace" was part of the Thomas Merton Center and

Pittsburgh Organizing Group's Regional Anti-War Convergence, most of the

participants hailed from the Pittsburgh area, as evidenced by this sign:

"Yinz Guys are War Pigs."


Some did come from as far as Boston, including a line of drumming

anarchists with bandannas drawn over their faces. Asked what they did

when they weren't marching in demonstrations, one replied, "Practice to

march in demonstrations!"


But many of the local people who dominated the march said it was their

first protest. Gordon Denny, 39, a Canadian business executive who lives

on the North Side, said his girlfriend brought him.


"But I don't think it's the right time to go to war," he said.


The Rev. William Hausen, 64, a parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Catholic

Church in Shadyside, is a protest veteran. He marched with Martin

Luther King in Washington, D.C., and has marched there annually against

abortion. Pope John Paul II, he noted, has strongly opposed an attack

on Iraq.


South Side residents and business people weren't sure, beforehand, what

to make of the march. "It's a big hype for nothing," said Albert Vogt,

sitting behind the counter at his hardware store 30 minutes before the

scheduled 3 p.m. start. "They're talking about thousands of people here,

but it doesn't look like that."


And it didn't, not at first. With temperatures in the mid-20s, people

didn't start congregating in the parking lot outside Hooters in Station

Square until 15 minutes or so before the march. Gradually, dozens of

people turned into hundreds.


Two police officers on motorcycles, Robert Zwier and Raymond Strobel,

led the marchers onto Carson Street at 3:10 p.m. Zwier exchanged friendly

words with any peace advocate who approached him. The marchers included

his brother-in-law and sister-in-law.


By the time the demonstrators reached 11th Street, they were encountering

spectators -- and free hot chocolate, served by the owners and employees

of Ethnic Artz and Diva's. Half a block away, Alex Ward, an Englishman

from Coventry who is working here and living on the South Side, watched

the proceedings.


"I can go two ways," he said. "If there's a bully in the school,

you've got to go and stop him before something happens, before he kills

people. But at the same time, I feel so sad that we're sending hundreds

of thousands of our boys over there to possibly die for something nobody's

really done yet."


As the march neared its midpoint, Paul and Sibyl McNulty, a fiftyish

software technician and attorney from Mt. Lebanon, looked back down

Carson Street to see protesters as far as the eye could see.


"It's a lot bigger than I expected," he said. "If this is going on all

over the country, it should make a difference."


The street scene transported some to another time, and the experience

was a sobering one.


Inside The Bead Mine at 17th Street, Karen Paulsen's voice trailed off

as she stood with a few other women, talking about war's carnage and

how it changes the way a country is seen around the world. As she spoke,

the marchers under police escort passed the window where she stood.


"It just brings back memories of Vietnam, and it's upsetting, " said

Paulsen, 58, of Decatur, Ill., a dental hygienist who was stationed

with the Air Force in Turkey during the Vietnam War. "I'm for the people

marching and I feel sorry for them, too."


So was Regis Schnippert, 79, of the South Side, a former Navy signalman

who served on an aircraft carrier during World War II. He picked a spot

on Carson near 20th Street and stood perfectly still as shouts and chants

wafted for blocks in either direction


"I think they should stand up and be counted," he said. "This is what

this country is supposed to be about, isn't it?"


Had a case been adequately made for an invasion of Iraq?


"No, not in my opinion," he said. "I'm not convinced that this thing

can't be settled peacefully."


Not everyone agreed with the marchers. Daniel Mross, 24, of Knoxville,

stood on a corner near 25th Street and used a bullhorn to heckle

marchers. He contended that they are naive to think a dictator such

as Saddam Hussein can be left alone. "I support our president," Mross

said. "War is necessary at certain times."


A bearded peace advocate stepped in and momentarily cut off Mross. "Bush

loves idiots," the man said before darting back to the street. Mross

said the taunt did not bother him, and that he is prepared to go into

the armed services if called.


Joe Longo, 27, of Brentwood, also ridiculed the war protesters, whose

chants of "give peace a chance" puzzled him. "Are we supposed to forget

the twin towers?" Longo asked of the terrorist attack on New York City.


But even people who disagreed with the group's position supported their

right to protest. "Saddam did wrong, and we've got a right to fight,"

said Rich Gainer, 24, who was carrying take-out food back to his home

on Mary Street. He gestured at the protesters. "But everybody's got a

right to do what they want."


The march continued past its planned end at the Birmingham Bridge because

the city offered to make PAT buses available at 33 rd Street to carry

protesters back to Station Square. Some protesters decided to walk

when told that the bus site was near the FBI building. But Tim Vining,

executive director of the Merton Center, expressed his gratitude.


"The local police have been extremely cooperative," he said. "We feel

we've been allowed to exercise our right to free speech and to make our

message known."


The march reached the Slovak Catholic Sokol Center, 2912 Carson St.,

less than an hour after it began. Many of the demonstrators had already

peeled off to return to their cars. A few hundred people lingered

for another 10 to 15 minutes, as a drum corps pounded out a beat and

demonstrators chanted slogans, like "We love Pittsburgh, We hate war,"

in call-and-response fashion.


The last group of protesters then headed back down Carson Street. Their

chants became more profane, and some pulled masks or bandannas over their

faces. Mounted police officers surrounded the group, using their horses

to push the protesters toward the sidewalk.


The group dispersed as it approached Station Square, after nothing more

serious than some verbal sparring with police.



This story was written by Post-Gazette staff writer Lori Shontz based on

her reporting and that of staff writers Bill Heltzel, Ann Rodgers-Melnick,

Milan Simonich and Bill Schackner.





Day of Action: 6,000 protest in Pittsburgh streets against war in Iraq


Monday, January 27, 2003


Five thousand people marched slushy streets under a steady snowfall

yesterday in the culmination of a weekend of anti-war events in



On Super Bowl Sunday, it was a peaceful but unquiet afternoon with blaring

loud-speakers and thousands chanting slogans. They spoke through the signs

they carried as well: "Regime change begins at home," "Who would Jesus

bomb?" and one everyone on wind-chilled Fifth Avenue could relate too:

"Freezin' for a Reason."


The Oakland march and rally in a 6-degree windchill was the second one

in the weekend Regional Convergence Against the War co-sponsored by the

Thomas Merton Center, the Pittsburgh Organizing Group and many other

organizations. There were no arrests during the march, the largest peace

rally in Pittsburgh since the Vietnam War era.


It ended with a die-in, in which people lay down in the street to

represent the war dead. The mass of bodies were piled not atop each other,

but massed close together to resemble the effect of a bomb blast. The

huddled mass on and beneath the snow made an eerie spectacle.


Disparate groups -- children, teens, senior citizens, long-time lefties,

newcomers, anarchists, nuns, and veterans -- took part in the event. Their

stories follow.




Claire Schoyer is so strongly against a war with Iraq that she was

willing to die for it.


At least, to mock die.


Still, several onlookers admired her fortitude as she lay down in the

deepening snow in the middle of Fifth Avenue in Oakland -- especially

with temperatures in the low-20s.


This was during a "die-in" meant to depict war casualties held at the end

of yesterday's leftist March Against the War -- from Bigelow Boulevard

left on Fifth, left on Meyran, left on Forbes, left on Craig and left

on Fifth again.


As the march started, the 17-year-old Schoyer found herself in the very

front, and felt comfortable there, and not just because her mother had

brought replacements for the boots she'd soaked during a morning of

making signs.


The Pittsburgh High School for Creative and Performing Arts senior

co-leads the Pittsburgh Association of Peacemakers and Proactive Youth,

called PAPPY, a group for area high school students that she co-founded in

the fall. As she put it: "Our mission is to get kids to have a mission."


She hasn't lacked causes to care about since she was a child and

helped stuff fliers for the late Peace Institute, where her mom, Linda,

worked. One she's very active in now is the Sierra Club. But lately,

her main mission has been to help prevent a war with Iraq -- a mission

that took her with other PAPPY members to march in Washington, D.C.


"People think teenagers are apathetic but we're not," she said as she

struggled with a 10-foot sign that used an eye, a heart and a dove to

spell out "I Love Peace."


Helping her was her 12-year-old sister, Lucy, who wasn't the only family

member marching. Linda Schoyer, who came with her husband, David, said,

"I think [Claire's] probably bringing us back to our old passions."


Claire Schoyer can be very articulate about all the reasons she disagrees

with how the United States is dealing with Iraq, and knows there are as

many agendas as there were different groups in the march. But she hoped

that, besides being part of the overall peace, she and her peers could

show other teenagers how easy it is to get involved -- in various ways.


True to form, she was among the last to get up from the die-in, only

after organizers cheered them and warned of hypothermia. She emerged

from beneath a pile of friends with frozen hair, red cheeks and a smile.


She said she could not get arrested -- her school finals start today.


-- Bob Batz Jr.



For all the demonstration's youth, loudly chanting their refusal to serve

the "Empty Warheads," as one creative sign-maker dubbed the president

and vice president, the march also turned out more than its share of

graybeards who started fighting wars at home more than 30 years ago.


For Tom Rodd, 57, an attorney in Morgantown, W.Va., the threatened war

with Iraq is deja Vietnam.


"I know what Vietnam did to my generation, but some have forgotten how

hard war is on a country," said Rodd, who is Claire Schoyer's uncle

and spent two years in federal prison for refusing to register for the

draft and protesting in Pittsburgh against that war. "It ruined American

politics and a lot of families. We should have learned our lesson then

that crazy unilateral wars are bad for our nation."


Mike Kielman, 50, Vicki Guy, 58, Mike Mihok, 53, and Mel Packer, 57,

emergency room doctors and physicians assistants at UPMC Shadyside,

retraced old 1960s and '70s anti-war activist footsteps while stepping

out for a new generation -- their children.


"The biggest thing for me now is my 12-year-old son, Dylan, who's asked

me if he will have to fight in this war," said Kielman, who fought the

Army's denial of his application for conscientious objector classification

during the Vietnam War. "I can't answer him, but I know I don't want

him dying for a gallon of gas."


"The youth of this country have been asleep, but this threat of war has

awakened them and it feels great," said Mihok, who marched in Washington

during the 1972 Nixon inauguration. "My son is draft age and I can assure

you he will not fight in this war."


Molly Rush, 67, of Dormont, a longtime activist with the Thomas Merton

Center in Garfield, said yesterday's demonstration showed off the skills

of the youthful organizers.


"There are a lot of new people here, not just your usual suspects," said

Rush, one of the Plowshares 8 who hammered on nuclear warheads during

a protest at a General Electric plant in King of Prussia, Montgomery

County, in September 1980. "The young are more sophisticated. They read

the international press. They have access to the Internet for organizing

help. They understand the global view of our nation's imperialistic



Marty O'Malley, 61, of Forest Hills, took a different path to the steps

of the Software Engineering Institute in Oakland where he was the first

speaker yesterday. It started in Danang harbor where he worked for a

year until December 1966 as a Navy lieutenant "keeping the harbor clear

for ships carrying bombs and body bags."


"Our current administration is impatient with the progress of inspections,

but that is not a reason to go to war," O'Malley said, as wind-whipped

snow obscured the military campaign ribbons on his jacket. "I ask you

to work for peace and negotiations and sanctions and commitment to the

political process to bring this threat of war to an end."


-- Don Hopey



America likes to act as the world's policeman. In the eyes of some,

it's one corrupt cop.


"We should stop supporting all the people who violate civil rights,

whether they're Arab or Israeli," said Dr. Nadeem Iqbal, a Marshall

resident and president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Muslim



Members of Muslim and Arab groups yesterday criticized the United States

for a foreign policy double-standard.


While vilifying Saddam Hussein, they said, U.S. leaders support an Israel

that mistreats Palestinians and hold hands with dictators around the

globe when doing so serves the national interest.


"Saddam used to be our friend," said Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a

Palestinian-American geneticist at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.,

referring to a period in the 1980s when the United States was at odds

with Iran.


"Why war?" said Ahmed Abdelwahab, a Forest Hills resident and vice

president of the American Muslim Council's Pittsburgh chapter.


"America has a lot of homework to do," he said. "It has first to build

a reputation as a soldier of human rights and peace."


He said that U.S. policy gaffes have contributed to the instability

and repression in the region and eroded the nation's credibility

worldwide. For example, U.S. economic sanctions against Iraq have

devastated the Iraqi people, not Saddam, he said.


No discussion of U.S. policy failures is part of the national debate on

Iraq, he and many of his companions said.


Like many involved in yesterday's march, Omar Slater sees an economic

motive in a U.S. rush to war with Iraq.


Because North Korea's nuclear weapons program poses a bigger risk,

conflict with Iraq must be about oil and "making the world safe for

investment," said Slater, a Penn Hills resident and president of the

Islamic Council of Pittsburgh.


-- Joe Smydo



For a protest that included priests, lawyers, students, anarchists and

grandmothers, they lacked one thing: an exit strategy.


That found Hami Ramani, 19, Jonas Moffat, 20, and Brandyn Bold, 16,

locked between a cold sky and a frozen pavement. The trio were the last

of the 150 die-in participants left bundled under blankets and sleeping

bags as a circle of 50 supporters passed them cigarettes, granola bars

and words of support.


"We're leaving whenever they tell us we have to go," said Ramani,

a student at the University of Pittsburgh.


"We're not looking to get arrested or anything like that. We're just

waiting for them to say we should leave," said Moffat.


Across the barricade 50 feet away, a group of city police stamped their

feet against the cold.


"Everybody's waiting for those three to get up," explained Lt. Scott



It remained for Beth Thornton, who had stayed on to wait out the end

of the protest, to explain that each side was waiting for the other to

move. Police Cmdr. William Valenta decided to break the impasse.


"How are you guys doing?" he asked the three as they shivered on the

street. Then Valenta asked them how long they planned to stay there.


"I'm just waiting for you guys to tell us it's time to leave," said one

of the young men.


"It's time to leave," Valenta smiled.


A round of cheers broke out. Ramani, Moffat and Bold cheered the loudest

of all. Valenta posed for a picture with Ramani, the street cleared and

traffic returned to Fifth Avenue.


It was 5:05 -- plenty of time to watch the Super Bowl.


-- Dennis B. Roddy





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