Protests Planned at George W. Bush Presidential Center Dedication in April 2013
When the George W. Bush Library and Policy Institute is dedicated on April 25, 2013, at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, protestors will be there to demand the ex-president be held accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of U.S. and international law. President Barack Obama, former U.S. presidents and many heads of state are expected to attend the dedication ceremony.
A coalition of local, state and national peace and justice groups organizing the protest is inviting people from across the country to participate in an event called “The People’s Response.” According to Leslie Harris of CODEPINK Greater Dallas, “The illegal invasion of a sovereign nation was declared a ‘supreme crime’ at the Nuremberg trials. That Bush and his advisors walk free today is unconscionable; there must be accountability so history won’t repeat itself.”
In addition to demonstrations, organizers are planning on- and off-campus activities to highlight crimes of the Bush administration and the far-reaching effects of an executive branch that was able to act with impunity. Teach-ins and panel discussions on the illegality and consequences of the Iraq war, torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons and warrantless surveillance are planned. A film festival showcasing documentaries about the Bush years is also being planned.
Rev. Bill McElvaney, professor emeritus, Perkins School of Theology at SMU, an early opponent of locating the George W. Bush Institute on campus, said, “The invasion of Iraq, and the approval of torture are violations of the United Methodist Social Principles, thus placing Southern Methodist University in contradiction to its own heritage as an institution of The United Methodist Church.”
According to Texas State Representative Lon Burnam, “We demand justice for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths and the thousands of American soldiers who died in this illegal and unjustifiable war.”