Anti-war protest continues
By Jesse Phelps
Mac Lojowski is quickly becoming
public enemy No. 1 in some Ojai circles. And an appreciated advocate
Lojowski was back at it again on Sunday, taking his free speech
and anti-war messages to the sidewalk in front of the Ojai Farmers'
Content to stay out of the street this time after a recent arrest
for blocking traffic, Lojowski was visible nevertheless, picketing
with three comrades with signs imploring the people of Ojai to
boycott the Farmers' Market until it readmits the Citizens for
a Peaceful Resolution and Amnesty International.
The two groups had tables set
up within the market for the last several months.
According to a flier distributed by Lojowski, "on Sunday,
March 23, Amnesty International and Ojai Citizens for a Peaceful
Resolution were forced to leave the Ojai Farmer's (sic) Market
because of their beliefs in non-violent peace in Iraq. The Management
said that some people felt 'uncomfortable' with the peaceful
views of the organizations."
Farmers' Market founder Cynthia Korman says that, in fact, Amnesty
International was never asked to leave. She agreed there was
discomfort but clarified that she wasn't trying to take sides
when she asked the Citizens for a Peaceful Resolution to move.
"I felt it was just too upsetting to have them involved
the Farmers' Market," she said.
We're not a political venue,
we're not a government entity," she said. "I don't
feel that the town should be split, I just don't want to add
to that. People were starting to argue at the market but I don't
think that's a good atmosphere."
Korman said she believes much could be solved with better communication
and added that Lojowski had not approached her, though a representative
of Citizens for a Peaceful Resolution had, to apologize. "(Lojowski)
has never spoken to me, he doesn't really know what's going on,"
she said. "They actually have been invited back. They may
come once a month. I told them they can come next weekend but
I haven't heard from them."
Lojowski said he plans to demonstrate and continue his call for
a boycott until the two organizations "are both welcomed
back into our community market."
A representative of Citizens for a Peaceful Resolution said she
appreciated having the forum to begin with but was concerned
about the timing of their removal. "I want to emphasize
that we are grateful that we've had the opportunity to have a
table at the Farmers' Market for as long as we have," said
"It's been a great space
for us and I feel that we have provided a service for the community.
We've disseminated a tremendous amount of information. But now
that the war has started, I feel it's very unfortunate that we
are asked to leave being that the information still needs to
be disseminated." She added that she was happy Lojowski
and his compatriots were making their presence felt.
For her part, Korman, says she's interested in providing a fun
place to be each week, an outlet for local farmers and that's
all. "I don't try to impose my political or religious views.
I don't want a contentious atmosphere," she said.
"I'm trying to sell strawberries.
I try to do what's best for the overall good of the farmers.
I feel that the community's been supportive and I try to give
back in a way that's productive and supportive."
The Ojai Valley News
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