|By Charlene Keeling on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 9:46 am: Edit Post|
As a PCV in Afghanistan 1969-71 in the midst of the Vietnam War I was not happy when Vice-President Spiro Agnew came to Kabul. Many of my fellow volunteers were not happy as well. A core group of three volunteers started a petition against the war. Many volunteers signed it and wrote letters of protest. The organizers of this protest consulted with the Country Director who consulted with the Ambassador. Letters were presented to Mr. Agnew by the Ambassador, black armbands were worn at the airport. The demonstration was orderly. Yet, Mr. Agnew wanted to throw this group out of the Peace Corps for expressing our opinions. Dissent is a right. We presented our opinions in a non confrontational way. We were surprised that the New York Times picked up the story from a stringer in Peshawar. The demonstration still ranks as one of the most memorable moments for me as an American citizen. Freedom to protest , to speak my mind is not something I take lightly any more.