M 7 Bloomington Peace Action Coalition M 6

Report and News Coverage of the

"IRAQ 2008"

Town Hall Meeting
with featured speaker Cliff Kindy

Thursday, April 24, 2008 ~ 7:00 p.m.

First United Church
2420 E. 3rd Street ~ Bloomington, Indiana

An Evening of Education, Inspiration, and Discussion on
Iraq and Ending the U.S. Occupation

Indiana Students Against War and Bloomington Peace Action Coalition presented an evening of education and inspiration with Cliff Kindy, and offered the public an opportunity to come together to speak out about the war and military occupation in Iraq.

Cliff Kindy, organic farmer, pacifist, and long-time member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, returned to Indiana from Iraq in February 2008. He opened the Bloomington Town Hall Meeting by speaking about his experiences living and working with the people of Iraq, and gave an eyewitness account of life under U.S. military occupation.

Fifty-one people were in attendance. Following Mr. Kindy’s presentation, everyone had an opportunity to speak up about the Iraq War and ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Two dozen postcards were written to U.S. Legislators from Indiana (Baron Hill, Richard Lugar, Evan Bayh) about stopping funding for U.S. miliatry operations in Iraq.

Media and community television were present. Community radio WFHB, Bloomington's Community Access Television Services, and the Indiana Daily Student all provided coverage of Cliff Kindy's presentation and the Town Hall meeting on the war.

1. WFHB coverage
2. CATS coverage (Bloomington's Community Access Television Services)
3. Indiana Daily Student coverage
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1. WFHB coverage

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2. CATS coverage

 

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3. Indiana Daily Student coverage ~

Pacifist speaks about life in Iraq

Speaker urges audience to recognize ability to change

Caitlin Johnston
Indiana Daily Student
Date: 4/28/2008

http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=50763&comview=1

When Americans begin to realize their ability to change, they have the potential to end the Iraq War. This was the main message Cliff Kindy delivered in a speech Thursday at the First United Church .

Kindy, a pacifist and long-time member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, spent about two years in Iraq between fall 2002 and the present. Kindy prefaced his speech by saying he comes with a perspective, but there are many others who have been to Iraq who might feel differently.

Kindy asked the crowd that attended the town meeting-style presentation what it would take to stop the war. Kindy urged the crowd members, both Bloomington community members and IU students, to recognize the power they hold and their ability to incite change.

“Sometimes we think very small of ourselves,” Kindy said. “We don't think of the capacity that we have. Empires are running scared because of our potential.”

After his experiences in Iraq , Kindy presented a view of Iraq that resonated strongly with the audience. Kindy was clear in his belief that the United States must get out of Iraq now. After the speech, many audience members came up and shared similar sentiments, providing personal stories as well. One audience member, a native Iraqi, told stories of his sister not being able to see her daughter anymore because they live in separate walled-off sections of Baghdad .

“We will be a group building bridges when everyone else is building walls higher and higher and higher,” Kindy said.

Kindy and members of the audience participated in a dialogue outlining the necessary steps to get out of Iraq . Some of the suggested options included not paying the taxes in phone bills and yearly taxes that go toward Iraq funding. Audience members advocated fighting against allowing military recruiting centers to be on campus. In addition, Kindy urged citizens to live a lifestyle that does not need to be defended by war.

Kindy warned citizens to not view the situation narrowly. Just because things in America appear one way, citizens should consider how the lives of Iraqis have been affected.

“I begin to see why it was so easy for the Germans (in World War II) to say ‘Well, it's not affecting me,'” Kindy said.

Though congressmen and representatives were invited to attend the talk, none could attend, but Trent Deckard of Rep. Baron Hill's Bloomington office was present. In addition, congressional candidate Gretchen Clearwater spoke.

Kindy spoke for about an hour while audience members shared opinions in an hour-long discussion that followed. IU junior Lauren Johnson encouraged the audience to form interfaith communities. These are the only way to come to peace with the situation and with one another, Johnson said.

As ideas and opinions circulated, Kindy drove home one key message. Transforming decisions don't start at the top, but instead at the bottom with grass-roots movements, Kindy said. The best way to dictate change is to show that people demand it.

“If we don't speak out, we're as guilty as they are,” Kindy said. “We're a democracy, right?”

Copyright (c) 2008 Indiana Daily Student

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Iraq volunteer to speak today

Julia Bergman
Indiana Daily Student
Date: 4/24/2008

http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=50685&comview=1

Cliff Kindy has seen firsthand the trials of the Iraqi people and will speak at 7 p.m. today at First United Church , 2420 E. Third St. , about his experiences. Indiana Students Against War and the Bloomington Peace Action Coalition are sponsoring the event.

James Cooper, one of the organizers of Indiana Students Against War, has been acquainted with Kindy for several years after hearing about his experiences working with the organization Christian Peacemaker Teams. During his time there, he went into war torn areas with a goal of “promoting reconciliation” and documented what was happening, according to an e-mail sent by Cooper.

Hilary Scarsella, also a member of Indiana Students Against War, said Kindy recently returned from Iraq . The main subject of his talk will be his time spent there.

The program is expected to last two hours and Kindy will speak for about 45 minutes. Because he lived among people in the war zone he will have a lot to share, said Timothy Baer, campaign coordinator for the event. The rest of the event will be a discussion. Kindy's talk comes on the heels of the fifth anniversary of the start of the war, Cooper said.

At this point more than a million people have likely perished, and between four and five million people have been displaced, Cooper said.

Cooper said Indiana Students Against War hopes that through hearing firsthand accounts about the huge number of people who have suffered, Kindy's talk can put a face on Iraqi people. He hopes Kindy's talk raises questions in everyone's mind about a better solution to help the Iraqi people.

“I think it's common for people in the U.S. to think of the situation in Iraq according to what they hear in the news, which isn't always wrong but isn't always 100 percent correct,” Scarsella said.

Baer said now is a critical time to have Kindy speak because Congress is considering providing approximately $110 billion more towards military operations in Iraq . Baer said the vote in Congress is supposed to take place as early as May.

“We want everyone to come together and show their representatives that people are concerned about what is going on,” Baer said.

He hopes in the end people will contact their congressmen and let them know that they don't want to see anymore funding for the war.

“There is power in community,” Baer said.

Copyright (c) 2008 Indiana Daily Student