Airstrikes drive student protest
Students protested President Obama’s decision to continue U.S. airstrikes in Pakistan by carrying a protestor and a baby doll smeared with red food coloring to the University Center on Thursday.
The protest was intended to inform the campus about Obama’s foreign policy, protestors said.
‘We want to raise awareness,’ music freshman Chris Brown said. ‘America’s involved in a lot of interventionism and that can have unforeseen consequences.’
On Friday, four days after Obama’s inauguration, two CIA air strikes killed 17 in the mountainous Waziristan region of Pakistan, ABC News reported. The report said the strikes are signs that Obama plans to continue the bombings initiated by the Bush administration in June.
When questioned about the air strikes during a White House briefing, press secretary Robert Gibbs said, ‘I’m not going to get into these matters,’ The Washington Post reported.
The CIA has sent more than 30 missile attacks to the border since last August, killing more than 263 people, the Associated Press reported. This falls in line with Obama’s plan to take action against militants living in the region unless the Pakistani government controls them.
After hearing about Friday’s strikes, Brown, English M.F.A. candidate Matt McKinney and alumnus Jezer Urena decided to stage a protest on campus to inform students about Obama’s foreign policy. The group often discussed world politics, but Urena said the strikes compelled them to take action.
‘I got tired of talking and wanted to do something,’ McKinney said.
Brown walked from the Philip Guthrie Hoffman hall breezeway down the path around the M.D. Anderson Library while carrying a baby doll smeared with a mixture of red food coloring and corn syrup. Behind him, two protestors carried McKinney, covered in red corn syrup, by his wrists and ankles while he lay limp, imitating a blood-splattered corpse.
Brown said he chose the imagery of blood-splattered corpses to portray the reality of violence in other countries to American students.
‘A lot of times you don’t see what goes on in other countries. It seems like people don’t want to or don’t make that connection that real people are dying,’ he said.
Protestors moved to the organized expressive activities area between the University Center and Melcher Hall where Brown dropped to his knees with the doll.
‘My child, my child. How many more?’ he said.
Urena gave a speech, which he said urged students to respect all human life.
‘As long as we buy into the myths of otherness, then we consistently will commit violence,’ he said.
The protestors plan on returning to the campus with more performance-orientated protests, including an execution of the Bill of Rights by firing squad.
‘Seeing the reaction, I definitely believe it created a shock and that’s what we wanted to do,’ Urena said. when asked about the effect of the protest.
Urena encouraged students interested in participating to e-mail him at [email protected].