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Letters to the editor

May 2, 2003 | Page 4

OTHER LETTERS BELOW:
The pro-war thugs won't silence us
Making us pay to speak out
SW has helped to change my ideas

Kinder face of UK imperialism?

Dear Socialist Worker,

Over 30 years ago, the British government deployed troops to Northern Ireland, allegedly to protect civilians from the exploding conflict between the racist Orange state and the minority Catholic population. Much the same as now in Iraq, there were photo ops of grateful civilians welcoming troops and solemn proclamations about stopping the violence.

On April 17, 2003, the results of a four-year-long investigation into the conduct of the British Army was released. This study, headed by Britain's "top cop" Sir John Stevens, concluded according to Britain's Guardian: "The conflict in Northern Ireland was needlessly intensified and prolonged by the disastrous activities of a core of army and police officers who colluded with the terrorists responsible for dozens of murders."

During its most recent stay in Northern Ireland, which Britain first "liberated" over 400 years ago, the Army carried out the infamous Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972, where 14 unarmed Catholics were shot dead, and has been involved in the killings of probably hundreds of civilians.

With a record like this, is it any surprise that they've already murdered hundreds of Iraqis? The British involvement in "Operation Iraqi Conquest" may be many things, but it sure isn't the kinder face of imperialism.

Chris Fagan, Chicago

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The pro-war thugs won't silence us

Dear Socialist Worker,

On April 18 in Riverside, Calif., peaceful protesters opposing the U.S. occupation of Iraq were attacked by pro-war thugs. One protester, bleeding from above the eye, had to be taken to the hospital.

An eyewitness account sent to me reads as follows: "Tonight, one of our peaceful protesters was assaulted by someone driving by our weekly rally. He was turning around the corner and threw a handful of metal objects--with a 2" bolt striking a Latina community college student protester in the face, leaving blood flowing on to the sidewalk before us."

This assault continues a pattern of right-wing aggression in Riverside since September 11, in which community peace activists, Muslims and Arabs have received death threats, suffered vandalism, been spat on and been physically assaulted.

Just three weeks ago, one of our members was thrown into the street by a counter-protester. This latest victim, Tammy, applying pressure to her wound and preparing to be driven to the hospital, promised that she'd be back to demonstrate the next week.

Our plan is to publicize the attack as widely as possible and hold a larger, more militant rally to defend free speech and say no to the occupation of Iraq. The Riverside peace movement will not be silenced by cowardly, violent, pro-war thugs--whether they live in the White House or across town.

Keith Danner, Riverside, Calif.

Solidarity greetings can be sent to [email protected]

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Making us pay to speak out

Dear Socialist Worker,

Some in the Massachusetts Senate want to scare off antiwar protesters by forcing them to pay for the costs of demonstrations. According to Republican leader Brian Lees, "[Antiwar protesters] stand out there with their signs that say don't spend our money on war. They should add a line that says don't spend our money on war, but spend it on arresting me."

Under his proposal, protesters who block traffic would get a $50 fine and could be arrested. If convicted, they would be forced to pay the cost of the police officer who arrested them, as well as the court fees.

Antiwar groups know this is an attack on our right to free speech. Jennifer Horan of United for Justice with Peace said: "The roads are public space that our tax dollars pay for, and we have the right to protest this war."

Yet one state Democrat exposed why some might support the bill: "While I personally oppose it and think most of the members would form an opinion against this, any bill that... could add money to the state coffers, has the potential to be closely looked at."

What nerve! They want us to pay for the war--and for the cops that arrest us at antiwar rallies. We have to stand up and defend our civil rights!

Dafni Ioannou, Boston

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SW has helped to change my ideas

Dear Socialist Worker,

I just wanted to say that I just recently subscribed to Socialist Worker Online, and I really enjoy reading all of the articles featured. What is going on with this world and the seemingly power-hungry Bush administration has complicated my life, in that I feel strongly about something for the first time!

As a nursing student, I would love to work for disaster relief all over the world, and things like this war take away focus and time and money from us helping each other. I am glad that I am subscribed to SW Online and just wanted to say that you all have definitely helped change my ideas on life for the better.

Melody Travierso, from the Internet

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