Malibu residents join peace movement


Groups and individuals organize events to protest war against Iraq.

By Chris Wallace/Special to The Malibu Times

“War is not the answer,” states a press release from Malibu Citizens for Peace.

While this Saturday hundreds of thousands of anti-war protesters throughout the states and the world are expected to rally against a preemptive strike against Iraq, Malibu, following in the direction of its big metropolitan brothers, is establishing peace activist groups and planning gatherings of its own.

There is a growing swell of residents not comfortable to stand aside while the Bush Administration wages a unilateral campaign in the Persian Gulf.

Larry Peacock, pastor of the Malibu United Methodist Church, is part of a group of residents, which, last week, held the first meeting of Malibu Citizens for Peace, organized to respond to the threat of war with a local voice. The pastor is “against any preemptive strike,” and said he feels the United States should work alongside the United Nations and other countries, not alone. And, although he thinks Sadaam Hussein should be held accountable for his actions, he doesn’t want to see America fall victim to further attacks due to what he sees as avoidable conflict in the Middle East. So he and his congregation and friends protest.

“It is important that we are visible, that Malibu is represented,” he said. “And people need to see that there are others who don’t support the war, because it gets lonely. People think that it is un-American to be against the war.”

On Monday night, Mona Loo, a member of Citizens for Peace, formally requested the City Council to consider making a peace resolution relative to war with Iraq. The council said it would put the request on its next agenda to consider.

Designer and Malibu resident Victoria Collins is part of the citizen group. She, too, wants to find the voice of the peace movement, but she is thinking bigger than buttons and bumper stickers. Collins is planning a massive event called “Pieces of Peace,” to bring together artists, celebrities, entertainers and groups such as Cirque du Soleil to give their “representations of peace” in a multiinstallation show for Los Angeles toward the end of the year.

“We want to load it with enthusiasm so it is this huge group, and bring in everyone: schools, nonprofit organizations, everybody.”

Collins’ own enthusiasm has her normal career of “redesigning shopping centers and motels and things” on hold as she works on “Pieces” fulltime.

“You do what you can,” she said, “for now and for later. I’m doing something I am very comfortable with-planning and organizing-in a different form.

“But you still have to get out in the streets with a sign. [Because] we need to see expression of these feelings,” Collins continued. “We don’t see it in the news. We are manipulated by the news to think that these incredible things aren’t happening.”

But around the world (and in Malibu) they are happening. Along with the plans to take a large group into Hollywood for the Feb. 15 march, the Citizens for Peace are gathering on Feb. 22 for an event planned by Malibu resident Judy Newman, “to promote awareness for the possibility for peace.” Newman expects a few hundred people to come together on the old City Hall steps for the speakers, music and group meditation.

And like the other Citizens she acknowledges that the peoples’ power is in their numbers. “We’re meditating to help along a change of consciousness, because our greatest asset is our voice in unison-when we come together we can affect the universe,” she said.

The spread of activism didn’t skip Dwight Stone and the Palisadians for Peace, which is busy petitioning the Los Angeles City Council to declare its opposition to a possible war against Iraq. Stone wants Los Angeles on the long list of cities that have taken an anti-war stance, joining Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, Philadelphia, Austin and Baltimore. But, for now, the people are out, with posters and pins, writing e-mails and letters to their congressmen expressing their disdain for military action.