The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 20th

Campus Opinions on Iraq Diverge; Both Sides Vocal

Most events have been planned by anti-war factions, but an increasing number of activists on both sides have congregated at planned events and spontaneous gatherings.

At a recent teach-in, "Don't Attack Iraq: A Teach-in on the Ethics and Politics of an Invasion of Iraq," 35 College Republicans expressed disapproval by holding signs and questioning speakers.

Members of anti-war groups appeared at the Oct. 9 lecture by Mark Regev, chief spokesman for the Embassy of Israel. Protesters made audible comments of dissent throughout his speech, although it did not address the conflict with Iraq.

Graduate student Danny De Vries said that although teach-in attendance has been high, the events have failed to facilitate an educational debate of multiple perspectives.

"People are giving each other monologues instead of dialogues," he said. "Instead of holding forums that are all anti-war or all pro-war, these events should feature both sides at the same time to attract a larger audience."

History Professor Michael Hunt, who spoke at September's faculty teach-in, said teach-in organizers were unable to find an available faculty member willing to take the pro-war stance.

He added that campus discussion seems far more more one-sided than during the Persian Gulf War.

Although Hunt said the University's strong anti-war stance might reflect a liberal bias within academia, he said it also reflects a pervasive doubt that war with Iraq has nothing to do with political position. "Some of the sharpest critics have been Republicans," he said.

But Steve Russell, editor of Carolina Review, said the near silence of conservatives is not a new phenomenon and should not be viewed as a lack of support. "In general conservatives don't do a lot of active protesting, especially not with a conservative president in office," he said.

Russell added that pro-war protests would not be useful for the conservative agenda because most people already are aware of the issues. He also criticized recent protests and forums for using ineffective tactics to convey their messages.

But freshman Sascha Bollag said students have a special responsibility to make their voices heard because they have flexible schedules that encourage education and expression. Bollag was arrested for trespassing last Tuesday when he refused to leave the office of U.S. Rep. David Price, D-N.C., because the congressman had not yet taken a firm stance on the war.

Price voted against a resolution Thursday that would give the president the power to declare war against Iraq without approval from Congress.

Bollag said similar civil disobedience will increase as war nears. "Civil disobedience is a sign that a person cares about his or her country," he said. "It shows a dire necessity to resort to extreme actions in order to effect change."

But De Vries, who is from the Netherlands, said he is surprised by the lack of critical protest in the United States in the face of potential war. Although he has noticed an increasing division of opinions at the University, there is not enough physical protest, he said.

"I'm a little astonished at how so many people are not willing to go into the streets about this," De Vries said. "This could be a third world war if we're not careful."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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