Human Shield At Csumb
Former Vietnam War activist speaks at social justice confab.
Thursday, March 13, 2003
Photo by Phil McKenna: Earl Martin
Earl Martin, a member of a Mennonite "human shield" project, says he feels a moral imperative to resist the war against Iraq, just as he did during the Vietnam War.
On Tuesday, March 11, Martin met with a group of about 20 students at CSUMB''s Black Box Cabaret as part of the university''s 7th Annual Social Justice Colloquium.
The three-day series of classes, films, and discussions was organized by social science professors Angi Tran and Gerald Shenk. This year''s colloquium focused on lessons that can be learned from the Vietnam War as the U.S. prepares for war in Iraq.
Martin, a conscientious objector during the late ''60s and early ''70s, lived in Vietnam for several years during the war.
At Tuesday''s discussion, he said the Mennonites have had civilians in Iraq for several years, and discussed the role human shields will play in a potential war.
"Human shields are in Iraq to learn from and be there with the Iraqi people," Martin said. "Our friends will be in churches, hospitals, mosques, and civilian homes if bombs start to drop. We want to walk in solidarity with the Iraqi people."
Martin has worked through the Mennonite Central Committee on international conflict resolution in the Philippines, West Africa and other countries.
"To do nothing is just not a possibility," Martin said. "For our own souls'' sake we must walk in solidarity with the Iraqi people."
Martin also spoke out about U.S. dependence on oil.
"Our addiction to oil is promoting a skewed and unjust foreign policy," Martin said.
While CSUMB students said they supported Martin''s efforts, none considered joining the group in Iraq.
"We''ve got to be visible here," said CSUMB student Marisa Mercadoe. "I''m really blown away by the human shield effort. I think it''s great. But not everyone can go. And if you can''t, what you do at home is just as important."