Saturday, April 10, 1999

Rally urges peaceful solution in Yugoslavia

Opponents attack NATO's tactics

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        About a dozen people gathered outside the federal building in downtown Cincinnati Friday to protest continued airstrikes by NATO forces in Yugoslavia.

        Organizers said the purpose of the rally was to urge political leaders from the U.S. and other NATO countries to stop the bombings and focus on non-violent solutions to the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo.

        One protester, Sister Alice Gerdeman, said she knows that there are no easy answers to the longstanding dispute between the Serbs and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian separatists.

        But continued bombing can only worsen the situation, she said.

        “I think it's a very, very confused situation over there. But the one thing I think we all agree with is that violence only begets more violence,” she said.

        Sister Gerdeman said she's not opposed to NATO inter vention on behalf of the Albanians, who have suffered grisly wartime atrocities at the hands of the Serbs. But she said NATO could help the Albanians more if it wasn't dropping bombs on their country.

        “We could have peacekeeping forces over there or help out economically or work with the refugees” fleeing Kosovo, she said. “But adding more violence to the mix isn't help ing anyone.”

        Another protester, Jeffrey Elias Dorrance of Hyde Park, said America has no right to participate in the NATO airstrikes, regardless of the cause.

        “I just don't believe the U.S. has the right to attack a sovereign nation,” Mr. Dorrance said. “We haven't declared war on them, but here we are waging a war that hasn't been declared by Congress.”

        If for no other reason, the NATO airstrikes should be halted simply because they have been ineffective, Mr. Dorrance said.

        “The fighting hasn't stopped, so, obviously, we're following a mission that has failed,” he said.

        Protester and Vietnam veteran Rick Fulmer of Cincinnati said he believes U.S. political leaders have ulterior motives for participating in the airstrikes.

        “The politicians in Washington are such liars,” Mr. Fulmer said. “They don't care about the Albanians. They just want to reestablish capitalism in the area and make the area more profitable for U.S. companies.”


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- Rally urges peaceful solution in Yugoslavia
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