The War for Peace

How Local People are Protesting Conflict with Iran

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CC: Adin Alem

Emma Bauman

For years, people have fought for what they believe in through public protests and demonstrations, and the citizens of Kansas City are no exception. On Saturday, January 4th, locals gathered in the plaza area to protest the threat of war with Iran. Just two days after a US airstrike killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, people from many backgrounds and organizations came together to advocate against starting a war with Iran. LSHS alum Yonny Astake and his cousin Adin Alem were two of many who used their voices to speak out in favor of peace.

“I wanted to be able to show my support of anti-war efforts outside of postings online and hopefully encourage others to support anti-war efforts as well,” Alem said.

Though most have some knowledge over Iran’s relationship with the United States, many have been following the story more closely to stay up to date and informed as to what is happening.

“I have seen the news about the conflicts in Iran specifically going back to when the US imposed sanctions on the country in 2017. I rely on various outlets on Twitter and YouTube for current information on the conflict, but to learn more about the context of it I will go back and read news articles from various points in time that certainly had an impact on the current conflict,” Astake said.

In fact, many rely on Twitter and social media for news and current information, and that is even how some people learned about the stressed relations.

“I have not been following the story for too long, I think it was the day World War III blew up on Twitter. I developed a huge interest in the topic, and I saw tweets that were less popular, but very relevant, and they provided much insight into the conflict. I follow several pages, they match my opinions and provide a lot of details on what is happening,” sophomore Amari Childs said.

While at the protests, locals were able to not only speak out but also listen to some of the various reasons different groups oppose the hostility with Iran.

“I talked to various anti-war groups and environmental groups, like Sunrise Movement KC,” Astake said.

With all of the current concerns for the planet, many have realized that war plays a part in some of the damage done to the Earth. The Sunrise Movement in Kansas City is a youth-led organization with the goal of fighting back against climate change.

“I was at the Sunrise table, which is an environmental activist group speaking on how only the fossil fuel industry profits from war while only everyday people die and suffer in countries where war is happening. The protest in KC showed how war impacts so many different things in ways that might not be as obvious at first and I am very glad I was able to see that,” Alem said.

Though some are willing to speak out, others are not yet sure about attending one of these events.

“While I would love to be vocal about my views on the matter, I am kind of nervous about the idea of attending a protest. It seems really cool though, and I think it is great that people can come together and speak as one about an idea they accept or reject,” Childs said.

Though it can be nerve-wracking to attend a large event like this, it is ultimately one of the best ways to fight for a cause.

“Local protests are important because they unite people under an important cause, and they shine a light on issues that are pressing in the national spotlight. And above all, these protests show that people will not be complacent with the way things are and that we will fight to change whatever injustice we see,” Astake said.

The potential conflict with Iran is a global issue, so it can be easy to ignore what is happening. However, it is important to understand the impact war has on all groups.

“Honestly, every issue is a global issue. I know it is hard to think of international war as impacting Lee’s Summit or Kansas City, but it does. War devastates our environment, which impacts us. War encourages the idea of people over profit, which ends up hurting us as well. And even in the ways in which we are not impacted, we have a duty to stand up for what is right. Protesting in our hometowns is a great way to do that,” Alem said.

As teenagers are becoming adults, it is important for them to be educated as to what is happening. Forming viewpoints and expressing opinions to fight injustice are some of the many ways local people can stand up and make a difference in the world. Real changes can be made, and they can all start right here in Kansas City.