Anti-war protestors read names at Northrop of all Iraqi casualties

Tatum Fjerstad

Anti-war protestors will complete “The Reading of the Names” on Northrop Plaza today in hopes of reminding people why they think war is not a solution.

From noon Tuesday until noon today, students, faculty and community members will take turns reading all of the known names, ages, genders and locations of people, including Iraqis, killed in Iraq since the war began March 19, 2003.

“It’s a great thing to do and to acknowledge,” said senior psychology major Caitlin Borgert-Spaniol. “It should definitely be done – many (Iraqis) have died, and they fought just as hard.”

Instead of protesting the cost of war or sending more young people overseas, “The Reading of the Names” is meant to highlight the loss of life from the war in Iraq, organizers said.

“I definitely don’t like how all the people have been killed,” Spanish senior Tori Koistinen said. “This is good, it makes people think.”

The event was sponsored by Faculty Against War, a group of approximately 300 University faculty members.

“This is not so much a protest but a memorial,” said David Bernstein, a Faculty Against War member and event organizer.

“This event serves to remind everyone of the enormous costs of this illegal, immoral, unnecessary war,” said April Knutson, Faculty Against War member.

A 24-foot poster wrapped around the podium listed 3,300 of the estimated 13,000 Iraqi deaths.

“The names that are and aren’t here is a result of what the British and our government has done,” said David Fox, a Faculty Against War member and professor of geology and geophysics, while motioning to the poster.

The names of more than 1,000 coalition soldiers, 39 journalists, 129 civilian contractors and more than 2,000 of the estimated 13,000 Iraqis killed will be read by noon today.

The names of the Iraqi citizens came from a door-to-door survey of households in Baghdad, nine major cities in southern Iraq and small surveys in cities in northern Iraq conducted in the period from March 21 to July 31, 2003.

“There have been few voices or news stories reminding Americans that thousands of innocent individuals have died as a result of the American invasion,” said Katherine Fennelly, a Faculty Against War member and Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs professor.

Tony Richter, College Republicans member, said war is sometimes necessary for the common good.

“I support their right to express their views, but no one ever said war was going to be easy,” he said.

In February 2003, University faculty members created a petition opposing the war in Iraq that gathered 15,000 signatures from faculty members nationwide.

Women against Military Madness and Veterans for Peace members were also at the event to show support.