Student Activists Protest Blair, Other War Supporters
Graduating students at Yale did not take kindly to a speech delivered this weekend on "Class Day" - one of the many events involved in the Yale commencement weekend. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair delivered the address, and his presence was protested by a number of students due to his support of the war in Iraq:
Mr Blair's arrival was met by a small but vocal contingent of protestors waving placards that read "No to Blair" and "Yale! Don't Support a War Criminal", but police held them back from the ceremony, which was held in a large gated garden.
But as he took to the podium, Mr Blair, 54, was met with dozens of red signs that students had hidden under their graduation robes, reading "Peace Now" and "No War".
One student, a young woman wearing a headscarf, stood throughout the ceremony, holding a "Peace Now" sign above her head just 10ft in front of the former Prime Minister, who appeared to be doing his best to avoid looking at her.
Mr Blair also avoided referring to Iraq by name as he talked about the rise of India and China as future world superpowers, the problem of climate change, and the threat of "terrorism fueled by religion".Normally I'm skeptical of student anti-war protests. While throwing a pie in Tom Friedman's face might be emotionally satisfying on some level, it accomplishes very little in the way of real change. In recent years, students have achieved far greater success on campus when their protests were directed at their college or university. Over the past half decade, student protests have helped establish a living wage for workers at Harvard, many campuses, bowing to student pressure have divested from regimes involved in human rights abuses, and many more campuses have made strides toward becoming carbon neutral thanks to the pressure of students. Normally, the same cannot be said of student anti-war efforts. That may be changing.