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Threat of U.S. strike sparks local outrage

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By Samantha Dennis:

The anti-war fervor that swept the nation following President Barack Obama’s proposal to bomb Syria in retaliation for its regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons did not escape City College, with some of the school’s instructors urging their students to get involved.

“Students lack interest in what’s going on in Syria due to the facade that it doesn’t affect them now,” City College student Noah Bird said. “What many people don’t understand is that something like this could affect them in a large way.”

If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people in the midst of a civil war, it would cross a red line, according to President Obama.

While Obama first asked for the approval from Congress to strike Syria, he had postponed the vote in the wake of a possible diplomatic solution.

Ultimately a deal was reached on Sept. 14 between the United States and Russia to resolve the issue with Syria and its chemical weapons.

Natalie Hrizi led a protest against war with Syria on Sept. 7 that started at Chelsea Manning Plaza (Justin Herman Plaza on the Embarcadero) and continued down Market Street to Civic Center.

Hrizi has been involved in the anti-war movement for 10 years now. She is a member of Answer Coalition SF, a coalition against war and racism.

“Students don’t have the information they need because we are given half truths [the] majority of the time,” Hrizi said. “We are here to inform.”

Protesters chanted, “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation” along with, “Road to peace, U.S. out of the Middle East.”

Among the crowd were three young Syrian cousins, Zain, 11, Kevin,11, and Aiden, 8, who marched holding signs high in the air that read, “Don’t kill my cousins” and “Fund schools-Not war.”

“My bestest friend lives there, and I don’t want him to get hurt,” Zain said.

Some teachers at City College have made an effort to make sure their students are informed of the situation

“Its important that I encourage students to follow and discuss topics that are political and government related,” City College professor Kimberly Keenan said.

Kennan assigned homework to all her political science classes which was to watch President Obama address the public on Sept. 10.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry have established an agreement that Syria will forfeit its chemical weapon stockpiles.

“This framework provides the opportunity for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons in a transparent, expeditious and verifiable manner, which could end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but to the region and the world,” Obama said in a statement. “The international community expects the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments.”


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