Coping with ambivalence about warn Malibuites create ways to question war against Iraq while supporting armed forces.

Special to the Malibu Times

Now that the bombing of Iraq has started, Malibuites are on the horns of a dilemma: how to express support for U.S. troops while protesting the U.S. decision to lead a war in the first place.

Two women, longtime activist Mona Loo and contemporary fine art painter Dina Mori Gardner, have founded local groups to deal with the ambivalence. Their organizations are outlets for discussion as well as protest.

“We provide a vehicle for people to do something in a community that is physically removed from a big city,” said Loo, who founded Malibu Citizens for Peace in February.

The group has organized marches on Pacific Coast Highway, holds candlelight vigils in support of the troops, was instrumental in getting the City Council to pass a resolution on Iraq and will hold a “Caravan for Peace” on Sunday.

Gardner resurrected Malibu Greens, the local offshoot of the international Green Party political, environmental grassroots movement, in February after a 14-year hiatus.

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“We want to create a place of questioning, to enlighten the public about the agendas going on,” Gardner said. “We are not against people serving in the military but the politicians who put them in harm’s way.”

Both women believe in nonviolent resolution of the conflict in Iraq. In separate telephone interviews, they counter accusations of being unpatriotic.

“Everybody has the perfectly legitimate right of citizens to express their feelings,” Gardner said. “We are offering a message of positive change.”

“We want to raise awareness on the issue of peace, not just the war with Iraq,” Loo said. “I think the community is paying more attention to what this war is about. The most patriotic thing to do is question whether something is wrong.”

Malibu Citizens for Peace is searching for a strategy.

“Like everyone in the nation, we operate on different levels of action,” Loo said. “Some are more comfortable with candlelight vigils, others prefer placard demonstrations.”

The group of 12 steering committee members and an e-mail list of 100 is “trying to figure out as individuals and as a group what to do now that the bombs are falling,” Loo said. “We welcome feedback and participation.”

On a personal level, Loo has stopped carrying placards that bash President George W. Bush and writes to soldiers through the city’s pen pal program with the army’s Alpha Company adopted by the City of Malibu.

“I support our troops,” Loo said. “I’m sorry they got sent there in the first place.”

She is writing to soldiers in the Alpha Company through the pen pal program reactivated by Mayor Pro Tem Ken Kearsley and coordinated by Malibu resident Leslie Schwartz.

People who wish to write to a soldier should call Schwartz at 310.456.3739.

Having grown up in Malibu, Schwartz has a unique perspective on its citizens’ reaction to the war.

“We have different ways of dealing with the pain,” Schwartz said. “After surviving fires and floods, we know what reality is. We know that it’s different than on TV.”

Malibu Greens meets at Diedrich Coffee at the Malibu Colony Plaza Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.

To contact Malibu Citizens for Peace log onto malibucitizensforpeace@earthlink.net, or call 310.589.9797.

13StarsManager
13StarsManagerhttps://malibutimes.com
The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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