A real peace march

While the world recovered from the Super Bowl and prepared for Super Tuesday, I skipped work and spent Monday driving roughly 250 miles through a terrific Midwestern winter fog storm to join a worldwide protest at the University of Illinois. This, however, unlike anti-war "protests" where American collegians march against their own country's actions, was a true international peace march against the leftist guerilla terrorist organization in Colombia known as FARC.

My fiancée, who hails from Colombia, joined me on this trip to show condemnation for this group responsible for more than 2,000 deaths and even more kidnappings of all ethnicities in Colombia and elsewhere the past four decades.

On a gloomy winter day in Champaign, Illinois, with campus buildings barely visible through a dense fog, the group of mostly students set up in front of the University Union. We stood right next to the Barack Obama and Ron Paul booths, in place to rouse support for their candidates 24 hours before the historic national primary. As the Colombians around us----more than 50 in all---chanted "No more FARC...No more deaths...No more lies...No more kidnappings..." a few students joined in, while other accepted fliers, looked on intriguingly.

This was a PEACE march of the finest variety.

Even the Ron Paul group asked what our mission was, though they appeared confused, telling us, "Well, Ron Paul wants to end the War on Drugs."

Revolution, indeed. I sure hope Mr. Paul, and perhaps Mr. Obama, would not opine similarly to Mr. Chavez in Venezuela last month, as reported Monday morning in the nation's foremost newspaper:

"In a speech before the national assembly last month, Mr. Chávez dropped a bombshell, proclaiming that Venezuela now recognizes the Colombian rebel group known as the FARC as a legitimate political actor. He went on to ask that European and South American governments remove the group from their terrorist lists. A day earlier his special envoy for FARC relations went public with his own fondness for the Colombian rebels, and with the news that the Venezuelan government stands ready to help them."

In the end, who knows what Mr. Paul or Mr. Obama would think? They have never attempted to broach the subject in a debate or speech the past year.

What I do know is that this march was taking aim at a left wing enemy of America, Colombia, democracy and freedom. I wonder if the collegians, many of whom undoubtedly take part in anti-war rallies regularly, know that President Bush is an outspoken critic of FARC and a proud supporter of Colombia and their pro-American leader, Alvaro Uribe.

Even Princeton University, apparently knowing evil must not prevail herein, has "set the record straight" on the "Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia" and their mission of violence:

"Founded in 1964, the FARC is a self-proclaimed communist and revolutionary guerrilla organization. They claim to represent the poor in their struggle against the country's wealthier classes, striving to seize power through armed revolution. These declarations notwithstanding, however, the group has largely abandoned its political agenda, and the FARC are now merely a drug trafficking and terrorist group with complete disregard for human rights and international humanitarian law. Since the late 1980s, the Colombian government has repeatedly attempted to negotiate a solution and peace settlement, without success. Directly or indirectly, all Colombians, including those of us here in Princeton, have been affected by their inhumane actions."

My article from 2006 on the general topic can be accessed via this link.

Ari J. Kaufman
While the world recovered from the Super Bowl and prepared for Super Tuesday, I skipped work and spent Monday driving roughly 250 miles through a terrific Midwestern winter fog storm to join a worldwide protest at the University of Illinois. This, however, unlike anti-war "protests" where American collegians march against their own country's actions, was a true international peace march against the leftist guerilla terrorist organization in Colombia known as FARC.

My fiancée, who hails from Colombia, joined me on this trip to show condemnation for this group responsible for more than 2,000 deaths and even more kidnappings of all ethnicities in Colombia and elsewhere the past four decades.

On a gloomy winter day in Champaign, Illinois, with campus buildings barely visible through a dense fog, the group of mostly students set up in front of the University Union. We stood right next to the Barack Obama and Ron Paul booths, in place to rouse support for their candidates 24 hours before the historic national primary. As the Colombians around us----more than 50 in all---chanted "No more FARC...No more deaths...No more lies...No more kidnappings..." a few students joined in, while other accepted fliers, looked on intriguingly.

This was a PEACE march of the finest variety.

Even the Ron Paul group asked what our mission was, though they appeared confused, telling us, "Well, Ron Paul wants to end the War on Drugs."

Revolution, indeed. I sure hope Mr. Paul, and perhaps Mr. Obama, would not opine similarly to Mr. Chavez in Venezuela last month, as reported Monday morning in the nation's foremost newspaper:

"In a speech before the national assembly last month, Mr. Chávez dropped a bombshell, proclaiming that Venezuela now recognizes the Colombian rebel group known as the FARC as a legitimate political actor. He went on to ask that European and South American governments remove the group from their terrorist lists. A day earlier his special envoy for FARC relations went public with his own fondness for the Colombian rebels, and with the news that the Venezuelan government stands ready to help them."

In the end, who knows what Mr. Paul or Mr. Obama would think? They have never attempted to broach the subject in a debate or speech the past year.

What I do know is that this march was taking aim at a left wing enemy of America, Colombia, democracy and freedom. I wonder if the collegians, many of whom undoubtedly take part in anti-war rallies regularly, know that President Bush is an outspoken critic of FARC and a proud supporter of Colombia and their pro-American leader, Alvaro Uribe.

Even Princeton University, apparently knowing evil must not prevail herein, has "set the record straight" on the "Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia" and their mission of violence:

"Founded in 1964, the FARC is a self-proclaimed communist and revolutionary guerrilla organization. They claim to represent the poor in their struggle against the country's wealthier classes, striving to seize power through armed revolution. These declarations notwithstanding, however, the group has largely abandoned its political agenda, and the FARC are now merely a drug trafficking and terrorist group with complete disregard for human rights and international humanitarian law. Since the late 1980s, the Colombian government has repeatedly attempted to negotiate a solution and peace settlement, without success. Directly or indirectly, all Colombians, including those of us here in Princeton, have been affected by their inhumane actions."

My article from 2006 on the general topic can be accessed via this link.

Ari J. Kaufman