Students Rally Against War

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Fred Greissing played the victim of a thermo baric blast at GCC Wednesday.

The bomb exploded roughly one-quarter mile from where Greissing was standing. His clothes were covered with the blood coming from his ears, nose, arms, legs and head. He has internal injuries and his body is covered with wounds as a result of shrapnel from the bomb.

Actually, Greissing was standing on a platform in Plaza Vaquero speaking to the roughly 300 students that were part of a nationwide protest against a possible war with Iraq.

Students from high schools, colleges and universities around the country participated in a national walkout protesting President George W. Bush’s campaign to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by force. The walkouts, labeled by the Associated Press as the biggest since the Vietnam War, united students from New York, to Boston, from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles.

Fred “the dead” Griessing wore the outfit Thursday to demonstrate the effect a bomb blast can have on the human body. His outfit was not to shock, Griessing said, but to educate people about the possible kinds of weaponry that may be used if the U.S. goes to war and their results.

It is not the first time he had used this tactic to draw people to his message. Griessing has been an activist for about nine months. Using the outfit draws more attention because, he says, we as humans are wired to respond more to images than words. Griessing’s son Anthony also accompanies his father to rallies where he plays a “dead child.” Anthony has accompanied his father to rallies for about three months.

“Vietnam II,” is how GCC specialist of adapted physical education Lee Parks describes the impending war. “War doesn’t accomplish things. I think you have to let the world solve the problem. It has to be solved through the United Nations.”

GCC student Dorthy Botelho agrees. Botelho remembers Vietnam. Her younger brother, Del Donaldson, was in the Navy during the war and she says she is one of the few who can relate to the long-term effects of war.

“It’s just wrong,” Botelho said. “I have friends from Iraq who have family there. They’re terrified there’s going to be a war.”

Some students carried banners that read “No blood for oil,” “Fight plaque not Iraq” and “1 People 1 World,” among others.

“We don’t want any part of it,” said GCC student Ines Rodriguez. “There is no reason for war. It’s all a big show.”

Social sciences professor Carlos Ugalde, 12 years ago, did not think that he would have to stand on a platform once again to protest another war.

“I never thought that I would have to say: Shame on Mr. Bush, shame on Colin Powell, shame on Mr. [Donald] Rumsfeld and shame on Congress that once again they are not discussing this issue, and once again they are ready to kill and kill and kill!”

“Only through united fronts of the world policing itself and governing itself, is the world going to really become responsible,” said Botelho.
GCC student Manuel Bracamonte performed his rap “Loop Holes.”

Bracamonte says he was inspired to write it about a year ago. It revolves around things he has been questioning since even before Bush came into office.

“I’m taking my rhythm to the world, if I can,” Bracamonte said. “I’m giving it to humanity. It’s not about me, it’s about making a change.”

“The United States is on the verge of going to war, and the Senate is silent, the Congress is silent,” said Ugalde. “It is the work of you practicing your real democracy to say: ‘speak up, speak up, Congress!'”