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Antonio peace movement. Palo Alto College was the first in the city to hold teach-ins. In addition, students from Saint Mary’s, Trinity, and Incarnate Word College have participated in San Antonio peace events. South Texas If Austin has the strongest peace movement in the state, peace organizing in south Texas wins the number-two spot. The McAllen Monitor reported that more than 300 people participated in a January 14 demonstration in front of the Hidalgo County Courthouse organized by the Mid-Valley Community Center in Weslaco. The following day, a march from Edinburg to the San Juan shrine, a seven-mile hike, drew between 300 and 500 marchers. They were met at the shrine by 500-600 more protestors, according to Jose Tones, one of the rally organizers. Tones said economic hardships fuel antiwar sentiment in his area. “Farmworkers here are unemployed,” he said, “The freeze, as you know, had a devastating effect” on jobs. Meanwhile, the federal government “spends billions on war but nothing for jobs.” Tones said that, just as in the farmworkers’ struggle, religion strongly colors peace organizing in the Valley. But, he said, the main issue is not a religious question, but pure economics. “It’s a disagreement over how our tax dollars are being spent.” The anti-war movement in South Texas is relatively young. Picketing began several weeks before January 16 at the post offices in McAllen and Harlingen every Saturday morning, in conjunction with Pax Christi protests in Brownsville. Weekly teach-ins every Thursday at UT-Pan Am in McAllen bring in speakers on different topics about the war. One speaker was Arturo Guajardo, Mayor of San Juan, where the city council enacted a resolution opposing the war. And students at UT-Pan American have joined with sympathetic faculty to create Students and Faculty for Peace. Waco As was the case in Austin, in Waco, students were the first people organized to combat the Persian Gulf war. On January 23, the Baylor Alliance for Peace held a candlelight vigil on the Baylor campus. About 50 students and several faculty members attended the gathering. A rumor had spread around the Baylor campus that the protestors planned to burn a flag at the event, a claim the organizers vehemently deny. Around 100 pro-war militants showed up at the vigil, waving flags, shouting obscenities, and even spitting on anti-war demonstrators. Baylor police prevented any violence by the pro-war faction, but an organizer said the atmosphere at the vigil as well as at Baylor generally has been very hostile to peace agitation. The day after the student vigil activists formally created the Waco Coalition for Peace in the Middle East. The Waco Coali tion grew out of the Waco Alliance for Peace and Justice, an eight-year-old organization that has heretofore dealt with nuclear and Central American issues. The Waco Alliance for Peace is a predominantly white organization, says a member, but interest in organizing against the war extends beyond the Alliance’s membership base. For example, Robert Gilbert, a black Baptist minister in Waco, speaks out against the war on his local radio show. In addition, Ernesto Fraga, publisher and editorialist of Tiempo, a bilingual newspaper in Waco, has joined the Waco anti-war effort. Fraga ran a front-page banner headline story about the press conference by the Waco Coalition for Peace in the Middle East, held February 9, at which the Coalition announced a petition drive calling for their Congressman, Chet Edwards, and President Bush to support an immediate cease fire. Fraga argues that in every U.S. war this century, the first soldiers to be sent to war were from Texas and New Mexico, and that as a result Chicanos are disproportionately represented on the front lines. Wichita Falls On January 25 five people demonstrated against the war in front of the post office. BY BARBARA BELEJACK Mexico City MY FRIEND ESTEBAN, whose American wife has a brother “somewhere in Saudi Arabia,” as they say in Pentagonese, promised me that there would be no war in the Persian Gulf. My friend Aurora, knitting furiously a la Madame de Farge, said, of course, there would be a war. Only George Bush, the CIA, etc. knew what honors they and the rest of the world had sold to Saddam Hussein and that’s why they were going to attack. When I found out that war had begun, I was on a long-distance call. As Mexican writer Guadalupe Loaeza would later describe her reaction, “I walked around like a zombie, surprised not by the magnitude or the honor of what was happening, but by the fact that it was happening at all.” I thought there was some kind of law that said the United States could not enter a war that H. Ross Perot opposed. I wanted to go home, turn on the TV, and hear what Ted Koppel and Tom Brokaw Frequent Observer contributor Barbara Belejack is a writer in Mexico City. Since then these five people have had several meetings and are planning their next event. Mary Pliska, one of the organizers, says they will try to get the “three or four people who aren’t afraid of being shot” to protest on Ash Wednesday. PliAa says there is some anti-war sentiment in Wichita Falls, but that people are afraid to talk about or act on their feelings for fear of retaliation. The Reverend Angus Thompson, a black Baptist preacher who holds a Wichita Falls city council seat, also opposes the war, but he agrees that most Wichitans are afraid to speak out for fear of either a violent backlash or, more likely, ostracization by friends and family. Thompson said that last year, he sponsored a resolution condemning the Chinese government for the Tiananmen Square massacre, and it passed unanimously. Today, he said, not one of his fellow councilmembers would support a peace resolution. The black community in Wichita Falls, however strongly opposes the war, according to Thompson. Black ministers have spoken out against the war from the pulpit, and Thompson says conversation in the AfricanAmerican community there is dominated by the war. “Poor people are going to pay for [this war]” said Thompson. “It’s the Crusades all over again.” had to say about this. I wanted to sit in my living room in Mexico City, turn on the Cablevision and listen to Tom Brokaw promise to invite Bernie Shaw for lunch once this was all over. On my way home the night of January 16, I passed the fortress-like U.S Embassy. For collectors of trivia and ironic factoids, I point out that one side of the embassy faces the Rio Tigris, or at least that is the name of the street. All week long the embassy had been the site of various peace demonstrations; students, political opposition figures, ecologists, punks, and chavos banda passed this way. That night I ran into a photographer I usually run into when covering demonstrations. He asked if I was chambeando, working, with an element of hustle in it, the lot of freelancers. Not me. My reportorial spirit had died. No one cared about Mexico’s reaction to a war in the Middle East. Well, maybe they should, because there are a lot of people who care about that war. They’ve installed a TV at the restaurant where I have breakfast, a privilege hitherto reserved for the Pope trip and the world soccer cup. Third World War How Mexico Views the Persian Gulf Conflict THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9