The World Gathers For A Road Towards Unity: A March For Peace
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The World Gathers For A Road Towards Unity: A March For Peace
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2003.03.05 00:00
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The anti-war movement spread across the globe on February 15. A long march calling for peace began in New Zealand, where the sun rises first, and it kicked off a relay of demonstrations in over 100 nations on the same day. Never has the world united for a common cause in such massive numbers. The number of people that participated in the worldwide coalition against war is estimated to have exceeded ten million.

In all, more than 600 different cities around the globe saw long marches with people holding diverse placards, many uniquely made to catch the eyes of passersby. These marches had turnouts of 300 thousand in London, 350 thousand in Paris, 750 thousand in Berlin, and five thousand in Tokyo.

Koreans collaborated in this world movement with coordinated rallies in several cities. In Seoul thousands of people of all ages packed the Marronnier Park and gathered in the cold holding purple balloons reading ?"I Love Peace." Two alien figures in silver outfits and white helmets, with big almond-shaped black eyes, joined the rally too, holding a placard saying, "ET Wants Peace Too!"

The local anti-war campaign advocated three points: First, opposition to the U.S."s decision to use force against Iraq; second, opposition to Korea? decision to provide military support in case of U.S."s attack on Iraq; third, a call for a change in U.S."s hostile policy towards North Korea. With the shouting of slogans, the trail of the march saw its start at the Marronnier Park and made its way to the Jong-myo Park and ended as a candlelight vigil around the City Hall Square.

Coincidence or not, February 15 was a day of double significance for Koreans. First were the anti-war rallies, and second was the oriental celebration for the new year"s first full moon. After the peace rallies, people returned to their homes and followed the traditional custom of cracking nuts. Its sound is said to drive away evil spirits and spur a fresh start for the year.

On his visit to Korea a few days after February 15, John Rees of the Stop the War Coalition in Britain encouraged people to join this worldwide movement against war. In his words, ?"I can"t guarantee you that if we fight we"ll win. But I can guarantee you that if we don"t fight we"ll lose. And I can certainly guarantee you that if we fight we at least stand a chance of winning." When asked about the United Nation"s (UN) upcoming resolution to support the U.S."s military action, his answer was clear and succinct: "If it was wrong the day before the UN resolution, then it is wrong the day after the resolution. It is simply wrong to go to war."

Rees foresees the drive to war being broken on the streets of London and Washington D.C., but not on the outskirts of Baghdad. "Soldiers will be firing their guns in Iraq"s desert, but those that give them the orders will be in Washington"s white halls. And that"s where we should be."

This huge international peace demonstration far outstrips in scale and depth the opposition to the Vietnam War three decades ago. The effects this movement will have on political, economical, and military actions toward the nations that have been classified as the "axis of evil" are still to be awaited.
neyessioui@ewha.ac.kr

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