CONVERSATIONS ON IRAQ TO BE HELD
Bluffton University’s Issues in Modern America class will host multiple conversations on Iraq, March 19, 20 and 22, bringing to campus four speakers who will share their personal experiences in Iraq as well as their knowledge about the war with the Bluffton campus community. Each event is free and open to the public.
Mike Ferner, author of Inside the Red Zone and an anti-war activist from Toledo, Ohio, will be one of two individuals speaking from 7-9 p.m. Monday, March 19, in Yoder Recital Hall. Ferner is a member of Veterans for Peace and has served as an independent member of the Toledo City Council. He has organized for the public employees’ union, AFSCME; worked as communications director for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), and for POCLAD, the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy. Ferner served as a Navy Hospital Corpsman during Vietnam and received an honorable discharge as a conscientious objector.
Ferner has traveled to Iraq twice, once with Voices in the Wilderness prior to the U.S. invasion in 2003 and again for two months as a freelance writer in 2004. His book, Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran for Peace Reports from Iraq (Praeger Publishers, 2006), discusses his trips.
Joining Ferner in discussion is Robert Alt, a fellow in legal and international affairs at The John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University. Alt is also an adjunct assistant professor of law and fellow in terrorism and homeland security at Case Western Reserve University. Alt will speak in support of the U.S. government’s policies in Iraq. He has extensive first-hand experience in scrutinizing the legal implications of the war on terror after spending five months in Iraq in 2004, during which he observed and wrote about the shift to the Transitional Administrative Law, and the transfer of governmental control.
A reception will follow the March 19 conversation in the lobby of Yoder Recital Hall. Copies of Ferner’s book, Inside the Red Zone, will be on sale.
From 2:30-3:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, in Stutzman Lecture Hall, Sam Park, a 2001 Bluffton graduate and veteran of the American military occupation of Iraq, will discuss his experiences in the country. Park served in the U.S. Army Infantry Division for one year beginning in March 2003 in Iraq, directly after the U.S. invasion.
From 2:30-3:45 p.m. Thursday, March 22, in Stutzman Lecture Hall, Art Gish, a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) who recently spent time in Iraq, will give the audience a CPT member’s experience in Iraq. Gish has been active in peace and social justice work for more than 40 years, having participated in the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-Vietnam War protests. He has been part of Christian Peacemaker Teams since 1995. He is a graduate of Manchester College and Bethany Theological Seminary and has authored The New Left and Christian Radicalism (Eerdmans, 1970), Beyond the Rat Race (Herald Press. 1972), Living in Christian Community (Herald Press, 1979) and Hebron Journal: Stories of Nonviolent Peacemaking (Herald Press, 2001).
Jill A. Duling, public relations office, 3/13/07