The Alliance for Democracy Capital District of New York chapter
organized a two-part 9/11 Teach-In Memoriam on Sept. 11 and 12 at the
University at Albany. Our keynote speaker was Rear-Admiral Eugene Carroll
(Ret.) of the Center for Defense Information, who also addressed the June
national convention of AfD.
The focus of the first evening, with 400 attending, was
why 9/11 happened. After an interfaith memorial led by Rev. David Moore,
there was a showing of a video which told the tale of relatives of people who
died in the Sept. 11th attacks who traveled to Afghanistan to meet families of
victims of U.S. bombing. After this video, I believe there was not a dry eye in
the hall. Dr. Karl Barbir, a professor at Siena College, spoke on the
backgrounds of the 9/11 terrorists. Admiral Carroll spoke on
"Confrontation or Cooperation?" as he had in June.
For the second evening, focused on action, various
activist groups, with which our AfD chapter has been working in coalition, set
up informational tables, which attendees were encouraged to browse while we
were being entertained by the Solidarity Singers. Then Richard Kirsch of
Citizen Action of New York discussed the link between the oil-and-military
Industrys influence on politicians and our government's military response to
9/11. Eugene Carroll spoke again, on "An Alternative to Nuclear
Proliferation." Carroll and a panel of local activists responded to
questions from the audience.
During both evenings there was quite a bit of audience participation.
The threatened war on Iraq seemed to be on everyone's mind. The local peace
movement, in which our AfD chapter is very much involved, has been taking to
the streets, holding almost daily peace vigils throughout the area, organizing
campaigns to communicate with elected officials, speaking at many public
events, holding peace rallies among hundreds of local residents and sending
busloads of local residents to attend an Anti-War demonstration in Washington,
D.C., and more. Faculty members at the
University of Albany were inspired by our teach-in to conduct one of their own.
As I write this, an ongoing Womens Fast for Peace is happening
in Albany. A local coalition is currently planning a series of events
around Martin Luther Kings Birthday under the rubric, Remember the Dream
for Peace." Our Alliance chapter is proud to be a part of this burgeoning