By Marzia Chowdhury, MMNS
Dearborn–March 18th–The fifth anniversary of the Iraq war rolled around this March and the Students United for Peace and Justice at the University of Michigan Dearborn made sure that the campus was aware of it.
SUPJ prepared a week long campaign called The Cost of War: Five Years Later. Kicking off the week with a protest, held on March 18th, students gathered in front of the university to protest the war, shouting anti-war slogans like â€œWhy did we invade their soil? Why must our troops die for oil?â€
Crosses spread across the lawn symbolized fallen soldiers from Michigan. Along with SUPJ, members of the Arab Student Union and HOPE (Humanitarian Organization for Palestine Equality) were also present. â€œWe are all fighting for the same cause,â€ said Wihad Al-Tawil, Director of Administrative Affairs-SUPJ. SUPJ President Rashid Baydoun spoke to the protesters saying, â€œToday weâ€™re here in protest, demanding that our troops come back, and to end this war. So please chant with me when I say these words.â€
On March 19th, there was a lecture by Dr. Hashim Al-Tawil, an Art History instructor at Henry Ford Community College who specializes in Arab-Islamic culture. In his speech he spoke about the downfall of Iraq, saying â€œthe Iraqi identity is disappearing.â€
To round out the week a candlelight vigil was held in the University Center. Saja Raâ€™oof, a community activist and immigration lawyer, was a guest speaker. She gave a speech detailing the death tolls in Iraq with solid facts and recited some of her own poetry. Hasan Newash, the director of the Palestine Center, spoke to students about Iraq and Palestine.
SUPJ is one of the newest members of the Michigan Peace Network. Their goal is to inform students of the injustice done to people all around the world.