Saturday, August 31, 2013

Athens County residents turn out to oppose Syrian military action


ATHENS – On a warm Friday evening, several dozen Athens County residents gathered at the courthouse on Court Street to protest against any U.S. military strikes against Syria. Though the Obama administration has not announced a decision, residents armed with signs and messages of peace are not waiting to oppose to the use of military force. The vigil and demonstration was organized by United Campus Ministries (UCM).

Story continues below

Amesville resident Rod Nippert addressed the crowd expressing opposition to military intervention in Syria and pushed the U.S. to hold regional talks and broker a ceasefire between the Syrian government of President Assad and rebel forces opposed to his government.
The group is also advocating a prioritization of humanitarian aid and an immediate halt to arms sales to governments throughout the Middle East. Nippert said an estimated 2 million Syrians are homeless or have fled the country, many to neighboring Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

Protests against attacking Syria have reportedly been breaking out throughout the U.S. as United Nations weapons inspectors examine an area south of Damascus where an estimate 1,000 civilians were killed by a chemical weapons attack. The U.S. and its allies contend the attacks were carried out by military forces under the command of Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad.
The Assad government has been engaged in a nearly two-year-long civil war which has left an estimated 100,000 Syrians dead. Assad also serves as Regional Secretary of the Syrian-led branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. The country’s population is primarily Sunni Muslim.
A United Nations Spokesman said Saturday that, in addition to inspectors, over 1,000 U.N personnel are the ground in Syria providing humanitarian aid through various agencies.
Retired Ohio University sociology professor Bob Sheak was at the demonstration saying he has opposed any militaristic foreign policy for decades.
“I’ve opposed every war since I was an undergraduate at Temple University when in 1962 President Kennedy sent 16,000 advisors to Vietnam. And every war since then has been unjustifiable and could have taken a more diplomatic and peaceful route,” Sheak said. “But they always find excuses.”
Ohio University senior Isaac Placke was one of several students representing Stand Against Genocide.
I object to military action anywhere in the world. It’s early in the game for us to be reacting militarily and I don’t think we’ve exhausted diplomatic means, by any means,” Placke said.
Sarah Volpenhein, Stand Against Genocide

Student Sarah Volpenhein says Stand Against Genocide is an advocacy group which seeks to raise awareness about atrocities around the world.
“We started out focusing on the Democratic Republic of Congo and in recent years we’ve been more focused on the Sudan and Syria. We raise awareness around campus through guest speakers, showing documentary films and we also take action by contacting our state and federal representatives trying to persuade them to take action against atrocities abroad’” Volpenhein said.

Sheak feels that President Obama has not presented sufficient evidence that would justify taking military action and placing more innocent Syrians at risk.
He says, trust me, and that’s not good enough and I don’t trust him given his support for the military but wants to preserve a status quo. I’m here because I think it will exacerbate the problems and make it worse, with more collateral damage, more death. He should be paying attention to how to put a coalition together to arrive at a solution,” Sheak said. 
Twitter @cleverpeasant

No comments:

Post a Comment