View from the fray

Increase the peace

A “No War on Iraq” rally will be held 12:30 to 2 p.m. Saturday in the Manzanita Bowl, at N. Virginia and Ninth streets on the UNR campus. More info at antiwar.
“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government. … For the sake of humanity I cannot be silent.”

—Martin Luther King Jr. as quoted on a Reno Anti-war Coalition flier

“I-R-A-Q! We don’t want a war with you!”

OK, so it’s not the most inspired peace slogan. But it beats the old standby:

“What do we want?”


“When do we want it?”


The Reno Anti-war Coalition’s Monday night vigil drew more than double the usual number of participants this week. At least 80 people from churches, activist groups and local high schools gathered at Reno’s main library. From there, the protesters marched up the street and around the Thompson Federal Building, carrying signs, flags and electric lights shaped like the kind of candles you’d see carried by 19th-century Christmas carolers.

The march didn’t take long. There were a few honks and shouts of support. A car packed with teenagers gave the group an enthusiastic thumbs-up. But one driver yelled his fierce Rusty Humphries sentiments loudly out his window:

“Why don’t you all go back to Iraq? This is America!”

(KKOH-FM talk show host Humphries, by the way, was featured in a recent Reno Gazette-Journal story wondering why his brand of pro-war patriotism has diminished since the post-Sept. 11 fervor. Hmm. It is getting harder to rationalize such things as the Bush administration’s hypocritical policies—the “take-no-guff” stance toward oily Iraq versus “let’s-make-nice” with in-your-face North Korea.)

The marchers headed back to the library for a press conference. Representatives from several organizations encouraged the media to get the word out on the coalition’s anti-war rally from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Saturday in the Manzanita Bowl at the University of Nevada, Reno. There were mature, thoughtful folks from the Reno Friends and younger folks from the Nevada Youth Activist Project, the Libertarian Party and the Revolutionary Youths Supporting Equality. The event, which coincides with similar rallies across the nation, is an observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. There’ll be speakers, music and a presentation of an anti-war petition with about 1,000 signatures.

“There is no way to peace,” said Lorraine Highsmith of the Patriots for Peace & Justice. By day, Highsmith is a public school teacher. “Peace is the only way. This war is not being fought in our name. We don’t want our tax dollars spent in this way. … We will make a statement, and we will be heard.”

One of the newcomers to the activist group, Paula McDonough, decided to start coming to vigils about two weeks ago. She says she’d been active in the Washington, D.C., area when she lived in Maryland. But since moving to Nevada more than a decade ago, McDonough had taken a break from activism. Now she feels ready for action again.

“Did you hear the chant those girls made up as we walked around the block?” she asked, laughing. “That was pretty good, huh?”