"Raytheon go home!" chanted a group of protesters.
While Raytheon quietly held a career fair at Northeastern University to recruit students to work for them, they were also met with some pushback.
In an attempt to reach out to students who might be tempted to work at Raytheon, individuals from the Coalition to Stop Genocide in Yemen and Massachusetts Peace Action, lined up in front of the school building where the job fair was being held, calling attention to the US Saudi War in Yemen, particularly Raytheon’s involvement – with their bombs repeatedly being used to target civilians.
"Did you go to school to starve and bomb babies?" read Susan McLucas’s sign.
"Raytheon right here, they have an agenda to make money and to kill people and they know what they do," said Lauren, one of the protesters.
"I’m a proud Northeastern student but this is really making me question a lot of things," said Shaun, a law student at Northeastern University.
"If Raytheon has the nerve to show their face anywhere, students should rise up and say we’re not gonna take it," yelled another protester. "When these universities open up their arms, accept Raytheon, name amphitheatre’s after them, invest their endowment and their stock, it shows that they don’t care about education, they care about one thing, and that’s cold hard cash, but what kind of cash is this? This is cash that’s paid for with the blood of the people of the world."
"The US had to certify in order to continue to sells arms to Saudi Arabia that the Saudis weren’t intentionally targeting civilians; that seems kinda strange because school busses full of children are being bombed, because hospitals and water treatment plants are being bombed, because after people get killed and their family members are dead and they go to a funeral, the funerals are getting bombed," yelled Ryan, one of the lead organizers from the Coalition to Stop Genocide in Yemen.
At least 40 Yemeni children were killed after a Saudi Arabian expeditionary aircraft bombed a civilian school bus in Dahyan. The missiles used were 227kg laser-guided bombs manufactured by both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. As a way of honoring the life and memory of the children of these attacks, Dan McLaughlin, one of the protesters, wore a blue UNICEF backpack with one of the deceased children’s name and age – "Yousef Hussein Hussein Tayeb, 15 years old," read his backpack.
"Many of the kids were wearing Unicef provided backpacks and they were found all over the site," said Dan. "I think it’s important that the kids who were killed are remembered for who they were – they had real names, what age they were."
"Little children in Yemen they pick up pieces of bombs that have the serial number of the bombs, they are reminded daily of how the United States literally hates them, said Lauren. "There’s a reason why these people get radicalized, it is because the United States enlist and contracts these defends contractors, I’m sorry not defense contractors, war profiteers! They contract these people to do their dirty work world wide…there are people out here that have a shred of conscious, a shred of morality, and say fuck Raytheon!"
The protesters also highlighted the United Arab Emirates involvement in the war, and the United States tight relationship with both the Saudis and the UAE.
"We live in the country that’s directly responsible for this," said Alice, a member of the Coalition to Stop Genocide in Yemen. "It wouldn’t happen without US support, US intelligence, US direction, US bombs, US mechanics fixing planes, US pilots training the UAE and the Saudi pilots, the US Green Berets that are on the Saudi Yemen border, I mean this thing is a US war, but if we look around in the US right now, we don’t see a whole lot of pushback to it, we gotta change that."
It’s a genocidal war where journalist, where people even just posting things about the war on Twitter are being routinely executed and killed," said Ryan.
Students also recognized Raytheon’s lobbying efforts in helping sustain collaboration with the US and the Saudi’s.
"The US often provides targeted information for these strikes; Assistant Secretary of State Charles Faulkner who approved it, he was the one who signed off on it…you know what he did before he worked in the government, he was a lobbyist for Raytheon," said Ryan. "The level of direct and open corruption and collaboration between war profiteers and US military and government, it’s sad to see."
The Protesters were calling for Northeastern University to break their ties with Raytheon and for the US to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia.
"These war profiteers are invited here with open arms by Northeastern University to come and recruit students to make bombs that kill people all around the world, and so we’re saying Northeastern should sever their ties with these weapons manufacturers – should not invite them on campus for recruitment fairs, should close down this Raytheon Amphitheatre, rename it something else, and end all financial relationships with them," said Ryan.
Ryan also thought Raytheon should pay reparations – "everywhere their bombs have fallen," he said.
Academia’s role in the military-industrial-complex was consistently highlighted throughout the protest. Many are still unaware that Eisenhower originally included "academic" in the draft of his farewell speech.
Eisenhower saw the corrupt influence that the military and arms manufacturers would have on universities by dominating much of the science and engineering department through employment and project allocations. Raytheon’s job fair at Northeastern University exemplifies the integral role of academia in the military industrial complex.
"We’re not gonna let universities try to whitewash the image of war profiteers like Raytheon and General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin," said Ryan. "It’s not just the universities ties with the war profiteers, it’s also countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE who donate hundreds of millions of dollars to these universities to publish papers white washing their role in the world."
As the event wrapped up, protesters turned around to face the Raytheon Amphitheatre to directly give Raytheon and students inside the job fair a goodbye message. Ryan held the megaphone, passionately yelling, "Hey everyone in the building, this is to all you war profiteers and students who are hoping to make a quick buck making weapons of death and destruction, they’ll tell you that they’re helping make precision guided missiles, that those are more accurate, the problem is when these precision guided missiles are intentionally aimed at civilians like they are very single day, the guided system make them more effective weapons for genocide, so are you gonna go and work at a company that’s committing genocide in Yemen? Or are you gonna stand with the people of the world against this bull shit!"
As I approached the building, Billy Calphas, a Raytheon employee and the person running the event, came outside.
When I asked him what he thought about the protesters "calling attention to Raytheon’s bombs being used to kill civilians and children in Yemen?" he replied, "Hmmm, well I should mention I’m a bit bias, I am a Raytheon employee myself…I should let you know that if you’re asking me a question honestly. But my honest personal opinion about it is freedom of speech is something that makes this country great, so you know what? If they’re perfectly free to, you know, express their opinion as much as they want, as long as nobody’s getting hurt, nobody is stopping them from getting done what they gotta get done, then they can shout all they want."
"So do you think there’s like a moral dilemma working at Raytheon with all these war crimes in Yemen committed by Saudi Arabia using Raytheon’s bombs?" I asked.
He immediately got nervous, "I don’t think I know enough about the situation to answer that honestly," he responded.
"Well there’s hundreds of children that have died using Raytheon bombs, how do you feel about that?" I said.
"I understand, I have to get back to the event," he said.