Just a few people showed up for a rally in condemnation of the atrocities by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria on Wednesday – also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Pat Dickerson, of Aiken, sent out a Facebook post on Monday – urging people to attend the rally at the Aiken County Judicial Center.
“Show your disgust and outrage,” he wrote on the post. “Let's show how we feel. Can we make a difference? ... If we don't try, we can't.”
Islamic State's brutality in Iraq is about cleansing “those who worship in a different way than these savages who call themselves 'Holy Jihadists,'” Dickerson said.
The Islamic State is committing atrocities not seen since World War II, said Claude O'Donovan. Kurdistan is running out of ammunition, and refugees are in desperate straits.
“The U.S. must help with arms and engage with the U.N. for humanitarian efforts,” O'Donovon said. “That's urgent, and it will be incredible if we don't wake up.”
Scott Cooper said he has been posting distressing photographs that show the ongoing tragedies in Iraq. He heard from an old friend, asking him to stop posting the pictures. But it's essential to make sure people know and understand, he said.
“Never did I believe we would live in a time with history repeating itself,” Cooper said. “War has not yet begun on our soil. But this is not something that's just over there. It is coming here. What is happening in Israel will be in England soon.”
It's about time that people and their churches and synagogues must pay attention, said Valerie Duarte – not just for the devastation overseas. It's also all the troops they are preparing under the noses of people in the U.S., she said.
Atrocities throughout the world are hardly a new phenomenon – the Sudan and Cambodia just two of them, O'Donovan said.
“But it's never been shown to us like this,” he said. “It's the first time I've seen picture after picture and the stories. It's incredible and it's for real.”
O'Donovan admitted he was disappointed by the low turnout at the rally – a chance to make a critical statement.
“I don't know where we go from here,” he said “A lot of people I know said they were coming and would speak. But they didn't show and that was strange.”
Still, Dickerson said that those who did attend the event can encourage others to contact their representatives in Washington, D.C.
“Let's stand up for humanity,” he said.
Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard's education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001. He is a native of Walterboro and majored in journalism at the University of Georgia.
STAFF PHOTO BY ROB NOVIT This group of Aiken County residents gathered at the Aiken County Courthouse on Wednesday – protesting the atrocities in Iraq by the Island State in Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS.×
STAFF PHOTO BY ROB NOVIT Rose Dickerson joins other Aiken residents for a rally at the Aiken County Courthouse – demanding that America get serious in responding to the threat of the Islamic State, not only in Iraq, but in the U.S. as well.×