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Bush Kept Out of Canada, Can We Keep Him Out of Minnesota Too?

By coleen rowley - Posted on 15 September 2011


Anti-Torture Candlelight Vigil dedicated to detainees and victims of torture authorized by George Bush!

Wednesday, September 21, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Beth El Synagogue, public sidewalk area along parking lot, 5224 West 26th Street, St. Louis Park, Minnesota. (This is the same synagogue that hosted Condi Rice a couple years ago and we hope to protest in approximately the same area.)   Has Beth El Synagogue sold out?  I’m referring of course, to their 250 tickets ranging from silver to platinum level ($1200 to $3600) that  Synagogue leaders predicted would sell out quickly for their “intimate evening” with George Bush.  In any event, while the Synagogue’s “silver to platinum level” ticket holders go inside to enjoy their hors d’oeuvres and photo-ops with George Bush, we will be outside yelling “SHAME!” 

Of more interest to the press and general public, might be the question of why Bush was forced to abruptly cancel a similar event in Toronto at Tyndale University College and Seminary, an appearance set for September 20th, the day before Bush’s trip to the St. Louis Park Synagogue. Tyndale is a non-denominational evangelical Christian university and seminary. Apparently news of Bush’s visit to Tyndale generated strident student and faculty dissent (see articles and petition below) so naturally much curiosity now exists as to whether Bush’s war crimes might finally be catching up with him.  When will Bush be “”Pinocheted” (as other commentators have put it)?    

So join us… we need you at our candlelight vigil to protest the fundraising appearance of the former president who ordered torture: George W. Bush.  Is it proper to honor this war criminal who launched pre-emptive, unjustified  wars of aggression and “shock and awe” that led to hundreds of thousands of people killed, mostly  civilian “collateral damage” and widespread destruction in the Middle East? Join others to stand up against those who torture, who order torture, and who attempt to “legalize” torture.  While it’s still light, we’ll display “wanted poster” signs, banners, hand out sample indictments and we have extra orange Gitmo jumpsuits for some street theatre with dramatic readings of detainee descriptions and actual statements of Bush’s torture victims who were held without a right to habeas corpus or to due process.  An author of a book on Bush’s torture, lawyer James Roth, will speak as will Phil Freshman, a Beth El congregant who also protested against Beth El’s invitation to Condi Rice. 

When it gets dark, we’ll hold a candlelight vigil (we have candles available but you can also bring your own).   Quite likely there will be some songs and music as well!  Sponsored by WAMM Tackling Torture at the Top (T3) Committee. FFI: Call Women Against Military Madness, 612-827-5364.

Brendan KennedyStaff Reporter

Next week’s appearance by former U.S. president George W. Bush at an event hosted by a local evangelical Christian university has been cancelled.

The decision came Wednesday, the same day three former students launched a petition urging the university to cancel the speech. On Tuesday, a class valedictorian and professor publicly spoke out against the appearance following the resignation of another staff member.

Bush was scheduled to speak Sept. 20 to about 150 people at an invitation-only breakfast hosted by Tyndale University College and Seminary, home to about 1,400 students at two campuses in Toronto ’s north end.

Tyndale supporter Prem Watsa, chief executive of Fairfax Financial Holdings and sometimes referred to as “ Canada ’s Warren Buffett,” was sponsoring the event, which the administration said was intended to raise the university’s profile. Watsa did not respond to requests for comment.

A brief on the university’s website Wednesday afternoon announced the cancellation “due to scheduling change” but provided no details, nor did it mention Bush by name.

Tyndale spokeswoman Lina van der Wel confirmed the note pertained to the Bush event, which she said would not be rescheduled. She said she could not explain the “scheduling change,” nor say whether it was the university or Bush who cancelled.

University president Gary Nelson held a town-hall meeting at the school at noon Wednesday, a few hours before the decision to cancel was made public. Faculty reached by the Star refused to discuss what happened at the meeting.

Opposition to Bush’s appearance at the non-denominational evangelical university had been growing within the school’s community since Monday after a story was published in the Star.

The following day, a class valedictorian and professor spoke out passionately against the visit. The university also confirmed “a valued employee” quit in protest.

Critics accused Tyndale of sacrificing its peaceful ideals to attract wealthy donors with the exclusive event. Many students and alumni also complained they only heard about the high-profile appearance through the news.

“They’re still not even saying his name on their web page,” said Dan Oudshoorn, a former student body president who graduated in 2006 and was part of the group that launched the petition. “I think it shows they were really trying to sneak in a cash grab through a means they know is dirty, they got busted doing it and now they’re trying to sneak back out again without taking responsibility.”

The Bayview Ave. school has a history dating back to 1894 as the Toronto Bible College . Renamed in 2003, it awards bachelor of arts degrees and offers graduate studies in theology.


Speaking Events



August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.


September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.


October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference

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