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Bethel College student group protests U.S. action in Iraq

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. - Red was the color for the week of April 7-11 as Bethel College students protested the war with Iraq by taking on a "Code Red" theme. Planned by members of the Students for Social Change Club (SSC) at Bethel College, the Code Red actions signified a way to remember the Iraqis and Americans who have died as a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On Monday, planners invited members of the campus community to dye their hands red, and several dozen students were willing to stick their hands in a bucket of red Rit dye and deal with the mess. Those that did made their personal statements against the war and bloodshed and carried the symbolic blood on their hands for the rest of the day.

Later in the week red clothing became the Code Red statement as students and others wore items of red or tied red cloths around their arms or heads.

"We wanted to witness to a real 'Code Red' situation in our world today: the suffering of millions of refugees around the world, including those Iraqis forced to flee their homes as a result of our own government's decision to go to war there," says Joel Goering, referring to Code Red in the Homeland Security Advisory System. Goering is a Bethel College junior from Silver Spring, Md.

"'Code Red' should not be a moniker for needlessly instilling fear in the form of terrorist alerts, but rather it should draw attention to the much more pressing concern of the refugee crisis. It is known that terrorist groups feed on the misery of refugees to recruit for their violent causes. By addressing the needs of refugees around the world, and especially those in Iraq, the United States will build the foundation for a more secure future. Our security is interrelated with the security of refugees," Goering says.

Tent City planned for April 21-25

The student group plans an additional theme during the month of April in efforts to speak out for peace. A "Tent City" action on the Bethel College campus in North Newton is planned for April 21 to 25 and people from the community and area are invited to participate.

"We will remember the humanitarian refugee crisis in Iraq by setting up a miniature refugee camp on-campus. We want to invite the wider community-including families with children-to participate," Goering says.

Those wanting to participate should bring their own tents. Tents will be located south of the Green near College Avenue. "We think that at least in a small way, this will raise awareness of the refugee situation in Iraq. We're also hoping to have some kind of daily protest actions at Tent City," Goering says.

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