Wednesday, March 19, 2008

He could have gone to Cabo San Lucas as some of his classmates did, or even just home to Long Island. Instead, sophomore Robby Diesu stayed in his near-empty Catholic University dorm over spring break to paint banners, update a Web site listing protest locations and put his "body into the war machine to stop it, really get in there and mess with its sprockets."

Diesu, 19, helps lead "Our Spring Break," activities designed to encourage students to spend their vacation in Washington on "spring break to end the war."

He was just a freshman in high school when the conflict began. Now, after falling "in love with the peace movement," he's fluent in Iraq civilian death statistics, mounting war cost figures and the number of Iraqi refugees. "If I believe in something, I want to make sure I know what I'm talking about," he said.

Last week, Diesu and fellow spring breakers were parked in front of the Senate's Hart building, issuing "stop-loss" orders to Congress. ("We decided since Congress refuses to stop the war, we're going to tell them not to leave until they do.") The group of more than 20 students, standing in the street with coffins draped with American flags, was arrested for "incommoding -- basically stopping traffic," he said.

It's sometimes hard to get his classmates to listen, but he's still pressing others to join him for action. "We're youth; we have the most free time ever.

"This is our movement, too," he said. "It's not just for old white women."

-- Rachel Dry

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