Published on Monday, November 4, 2002 by the Harvard Crimson
Rally at Common Protests War in Iraq
Zinn addresses crowd of 25,000, including scores from Harvard
by Justin D. Getz
Just days before pivotal midterm elections, about 25,000 protesters huddled around Parkman Bandstand at Boston Common yesterday afternoon to voice their opposition to military action against Iraq.
Enduring frigid conditions, supporters heard from Green Party gubernatorial candidate Jill E. Stein ’73, Boston University Professor Howard Zinn and actor Tim Robbins, as the smell of burning sage permeated the park’s frozen fields and folk songs echoed off the facades of neighboring buildings.
“War breeds terrorism, war is terrorism,” Zinn said, addressing the crowd. “We need a regime change right here.”
Robbins said he was awed by the sheer number of people. He said that it took years to assemble a crowd that size in the ’60s. Many of the protestors hoisted signs, while some flew kites and others played bongo drums and tambourines.
“Go out and vote your conscience,” Means said. “We have no reason to be afraid.”
About 50 Harvard undergraduates attended the rally with the Harvard Initiative for Peace and Justice (HIPJ), a campus group formed in the wake of Sept. 11.
“The proliferation of rallies over the past few weeks have to be sending a message to the Bush administration,” said HIPJ member Jessica E. Gould ’04.
Many other unaffiliated Harvard students were also in attendance.
“It’s unbelievable just to see this many people mobilized,” said Chanda R.S. Prescod-Weinstein ’03, who came to the event with a friend from MIT. “I feel really heartened.”
Joining the considerable student turnout, local protestors brought their families.
Children could be seen holding hand-made signs, and veterans likened the potential war in Iraq to Vietnam.
“It’s shameful to drop bombs on people who need food and medicine,” said Zinn, who is known for his book, A People’s History of the United States. “You can’t bomb a country into democracy.”
Boston Police and Park Rangers maintained a strong presence on horses and in squad cars.
—Staff writer Justin D. Gest can be reached at email@example.com.
Copyright © 2002, The Harvard Crimson Inc.