Another Year, Another Protest

As I write this article, we are already 16 days into the new year. Sixteen days of new decade celebrations. Sixteen days of hanging out with my mother, over break, and then subsequently saying goodbye and returning to campus. Sixteen days of settling back into my routine and starting new classes.

Within those brief, hectic 16 days, something has already pissed me off enough that I felt the need to go to the Student Stores to buy a poster, scribble a message down and stand in the pouring rain, glaring at an omniscient government that likely won't even bat an eye at UNC’s social movements. That thing was American war-mongering in Iran.

The last protest I participated in -- and later wrote an article about -- was during the third week of October. A group came to campus and placed a giant, graphic pro-life installation in the center of the quad, so I fought for reproductive rights, and it was rattling. The group decided to take pictures of the protestors, targeting specifically their faces. The experience was so incredibly nerve-wracking because of the looming threat of being doxxed, the possibility that our faces would appear on an alt-right website and that our personal information would be leaked and utilized maliciously. 

This protest? Less anxiety, more brute anger.

Perhaps it was because there wasn’t an immediate enemy to face. After all, I can’t quite glare into the face of Donald Trump in the same way I did for the group back in October. Maybe it was because of the literal downpour that decided to coincide with the hour-long rally, so there were no counter-protestors, and many participants were eager to get out of the inclement weather. 

But, in my opinion, it was because war is unlikely to impact very many of us.

See, I’m not a war historian (or, at least, not yet). I don’t have immediate access to ample evidence that would educate you on America’s imperialistic tendencies or the way in which our killing of General Soleimani was linked tightly to oil and profit. There are books out there. You can access JSTOR through your UNC login. The information is out there.

What I do know is that students at UNC would be fine during a war. College-aged students, with the exception of those in ROTC programs, would not have to fight. Even with a draft, those in college were avoided. If the United States started drafting people while you were in high school, however, before any college commitments, you had no chance -- unless you were rich. Then, you could buy your way out of combat. Some of my friends have parents who are in the military, but as they are older and currently in concrete stations, the government is unlikely to ship them off to active duty. They've already served their time in the war that’s been unfolding for the last nineteen years.

The war in America will not be fought by those who orchestrated it. The lives lost will be of those manipulated into believing that, for some reason, our rash intervention in Iran would be justified -- or, worse, the lives lost will be of those ordered to fight.

We don’t need another war. We don’t need any more profits.  If we’re letting Saudi Arabia murder our journalists and rob its citizens of their god-given human rights, we have no moral high-ground to stand on when it comes to intervening in Iran. Especially when Iranian citizens don’t want a governmental American presence -- unless, perhaps, it's raising the sanctions that we placed upon them. We cannot respect democracy only when it suits our desire for power.

Another year, another protest. Keep your eyes and mind open. Destroy your indifference.