Going Retro — 'Make Love, Not War' Is Back

"I thought the era of mass demonstrations had come to an end, that we had entered an apathetic period. I was confidently writing about how we do things in a different way," said Kaldor, a leading voice in the 1980s European nuclear disarmament movement.

But Will it Make Any Difference?

While Kaldor says the pressure from the European peace movement helped bring about the democratization of the former Soviet bloc starting with the moderate regimes in Hungary and Poland, she's not so sure if this time around, peace demonstrators will be able to affect policy.

"I think France and Germany have discovered a way to close the gap between politics and the people. But in countries like Spain and Italy, Washington is being supported by right-wing regimes that do not reflect the popular opinion in their countries. In the 'new Europe,' there are huge splits between governments and the people."

The classification of a so-called 'new Europe' has raised a storm across the Atlantic following Rumsfeld's declaration earlier this year that the French, Germans and others opposed to U.S. strategy on Iraq belonged to "old Europe," an entity distinct from the "new Europe" farther east whose governments have proved to be more willing allies.

But recent polls indicate that public opinion in Eastern Europe is largely hostile to a war in Iraq.

An EOS Gallup Europe poll conducted last month in 30 European nations found big majorities opposed to U.S. action against Iraq, or their own countries' participation in such action, without U.N. approval.

While 82 percent of citizens of EU countries believed a military intervention in Iraq without U.N. approval was unjustified, the figure for 13 EU candidate countries — including "coalition of the willing" countries such as Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia — was 74 percent.

"If there's apathy in the West, there's even more apathy in Eastern Europe," said Kaldor. "Many citizens have the feeling that democracy is not what they had hoped for. And while the U.S. was seen as an ideal, I'm being told that public opinion is changing quite quickly."

And in Britain, America's staunchest ally on Iraq, experts say Saturday's protests, which attracted an estimated 1 million people, succeeded in turning up the anti-war heat on Prime Minister Tony Blair. Days after the protests, opinion polls showed Blair at his lowest approval rating in more than two years amid open calls in some quarters for his resignation.

'An Epidemic of Peace'

For his part, Park said the anti-war rally helped confirm his view that public opinion in the United States has rapidly changed into "an epidemic of peace" not seen since the Vietnam War.

While Timmy vigorously waved his banner proclaiming, "Support our troops, bring them home," Park exchanged pleasantries and swapped opinions with a number of fellow demonstrators, including a young couple from New York who had survived the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

As a co-director of Little Friends for Peace, an organization dedicated to teaching non-violence skills to young children, Park said he has been committed to helping children resolve perceived injustices "with love, not hate; with cooperation, not retaliation."

While he has steadily pursued his personal vision for peace through the decades, it was Saturday's rally that convinced him that he was not alone in wanting to give peace a chance.

"We felt united with all the people of the planet," he said a few days after the rally. "There's a real hunger to frustrate the violence and to really build harmony among the people."

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