Panel to feature activist

By Rick Moreci

A panel discussion concerning the issues of war and peace in Bosnia will be held at 7:30 p.m. this Sunday, Sept. 12, at the Judson Baptist Center in DeKalb.

The featured guest will be Kathy Kelly, a Chicago peace activist. Kelly will be joined by members of various ethnic groups in conflict with the situation in Bosnia. Raj Chohan, a reporter from WNIJ, will moderate the panel discussion.

Sponsoring the event is the DeKalb Interfaith Network for Peace and Social Justice and United Campus Ministries. This is a free program which is open to the public.

Kelly has a history of involvement in peace demonstrations. Several years ago, Kelly was involved in the Missouri Peace Planning mission. Along with a group of other activists, she was responsible for planting corn on nuclear power plant sites.

Kelly was arrested for this and served one year in a maximum security prison. She has been arrested other times for her activities as well, but the penalty was not as severe as it was after her experience in Missouri.

Kelly also has not paid her taxes since 1979. She does not want her money to go toward the purchase of more weapons to use to kill people.

Kelly, along with 24 other U.S. citizens, camped on the border between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. “I was inspired by a vision to come up with an alternative to using weapons in war,” Kelly said.

She said she was especially distressed that so many American troops are 18 years old. “They are just babies. They have not had a chance to live their lives yet,” Kelly said.

Recently, Kelly was one of 2,500 people to go to Bosnia. This was the second time Kelly visited Bosnia since the outbreak of this conflict. The first time she went was back in December 1992.

Kelly said her motivation for going to Bosnia both times was to try to come up with a peaceful solution as opposition to the violent one being exercised.

She said she wanted to stand in the war zones and try to stop the fighting and shooting for at least a short while. She was, however, stopped by American Croatian Control.

Kelly said she has several reasons for participating in this panel discussion. Her main issue is to get across her point that peace is a much better solution that war. “I wish people would risk as much for peace as they do for war,” Kelly said.

She said she doesn’t believe the war and suffering in former Yugoslavia should be a United States issue. Kelly said she believes more could have been done one or two years ago to solve this problem peacefully.

She said she believes the heads of states should have met to talk peacefully rather than making threats to have air raids.

Kelly expressed her goal not only for this panel discussion, but as a person. “A goal in my life is to focus on the question: How can we learn to live together without killing one another?” she said.

“People need to take this question seriously and bet their lives on finding the answer. This society is very prone toward killing and warfare,” Kelly added.

“Too many people would rather ask the question: How can we learn to live together and kill people? We have to work together to overcome this thinking and concentrate on peaceful solutions to conflicts such as those in Bosnia.”