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AMV & PAA join San Francisco,
San Jose anti-war rallies

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

American Muslim Voice (AMV) and Pakistan American Alliance (PAA) joined the anti-war rallies in San Francisco and San Jose held on March 19th and March 20th to mark the one year anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.

About 50,000 anti-war demonstrators marched across San Francisco on March 20th joining millions around the world in the peace movement’s biggest showing since the Iraq war began a year ago. The rally was organized by ANSWER and endorsed by the American Muslim Voice and Pakistan American Alliance and dozens of other peace groups.

Ms. Samina Faheem Sundas, AMV & PAA Executive Director, was the only Pakistani American to address the massive San Francisco rally. Addressing the rally, Samina said that to create peace in the world is a long hard road which will take a long term commitment. “Millions of people demonstrated against the war last year but could not stop our administration to the war in Iraq however I am sure that our action helped in stopping wars at many other places.”

The AMV & PAA Executive Director pointed out that there is a war at home and currently Muslims, Arabs and South Asians are target of war on terrorism. “We are very much concerned about the homeland security but targeting Muslims, Arabs and South Asians will not make our country safe and secure. Our administration has to focus on so many other problems at home like health care, education, economy etc.” 

She went on to say: “When I chose to become a citizen of America, I was promised an American dream. But I have to say that my American dream has been shattered. I have written a poem that I will share with you:

I thought America was not a police state
I thought America was a place, where we don't spread the hate
I thought America was a place, where we can all say our grace
I thought America was a place, where we don't discriminate
I thought America was a place, where we truly embrace, (the poor, the tired and the hungry)
I thought America was a place, where no one has to hide their face
I thought America was a place, where we educate 
I thought America was a place, where we alleviate, ( others pain and suffering)
I thought America was a place, where  we share our space
I thought America was a place, where we were all safe
I thought America was a place, where artist are free to create
I thought America was a place, where we don't disgrace (witnessed a fair judge being disgraced)
I know that America is not that place, where is my America?
I will keep fighting until America becomes that place  
 where we don't spread the hate, where we can all say our grace, where no one discriminates, where we truly embrace, where no one has to hide their face, where we educate,  where we alleviate, ( where we share our space. where we all feel safe where artists are free to create, where we don't disgrace, which is not a police state.  
where we all care about only one race, 
The Human Race.
Will any one stand up with me to fight for that place?
Will any one stand up with me to fight for that place?
Together we will find our America

This was the second anti-war demonstration in San Francisco in as many days.  On March 19 protestors gathered outside the SF headquarters of the Bechtel Corporation which has been awarded a 1.8 billion dollars reconstruction contract in Iraq.

The American Muslim Voice and Pakistan American Alliance also co-sponsored “In Remembrance of Military and Civilian Iraqi Casualties Day” in Oakland on March 19. The event was sponsored by different faith groups.

Also on March 19 the American Muslim Voice and Pakistan American Alliance co-sponsored the Interfaith procession and vigil was organized by United for Peace and Justice in San Francisco. The candle light vigil was held at Lutheran Church.

Glimpses from March 20, 2004 anti-war rally in San Francisco