Rice’s return was met with a petition from the most active “anti-Condi” group, Stanford Says No to War. This petition, with 850 student, faculty, staff, and alumni signatures, calls for the prosecution of Rice for “serious violations of the Law” (including ratified treaties, statutes, and/or the U.S. Constitution).
The petition was followed by the sudden appearance of hundreds of posters throughout campus advertising for a “Condival.” The advertisements read “so much fun it’s a war crime” and were embellished with endorsements from parodies of Stanford conservative groups and this publication.
The Condival posters had no official endorsement from real student groups but The Stanford Review has confirmed that members of Stanford Says No to War were in attendance and assisted in running the event while an April 16th Daily opinion column identified a relatively unknown group, Stanford Free School, as the planners for the carnival in White Plaza. The group is not a registered VSO. It is unknown if Condival was an officially endorsed event by any group or organization.
Less than a week after the Condival fliers appeared, a large image of Condoleezza Rice was projected on Thursday, April 30 in bright red on the side of Hoover Tower. The following day the Condival took place in the middle of White Plaza on a rainy afternoon.
While a massive crowd of students appeared on the other side of White Plaza to view the Stanford Band’s “christening” of the new Dollies, the Condival was being set up and hosted by a small group of several dozen organizers and another dozen or so passers-by who participated in the games and events. The spectacle featured nearly a dozen events including a bounce house, bake sale, and several games.
The various games and contests parodied Bush Administration policies and events of the last 8 years. Games such as bobbing for apples were renamed “Waterboarding for Apples” while whack-a-mole and an inflatable bounce house were titled “Whack-a-bad-guy” and “Medium Security Guantanamo Bounce House.” While the event was clearly a satirical attempt to criticize Bush Administration policies, the organizers titled some of the games with false propaganda or assertions that were never administration policies or directives.
Certain games appeared to place civilian targeting by the military, the use of nuclear weapons, and sadistic torture as commonplace actions and beliefs amongst conservatives or the Bush Administration. “Pin the Precision-Guided Nuclear Weapon on the Terrorist” showed images of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden surrounded by Arab children while “Abu Ghraib Ring Toss” involved the throwing of bicycle tires on a participant wearing the infamous hood and gown seen in the Abu Ghraib torture photographs.
Reactions from those passing through White Plaza ranged from amused and supportive to disgusted and embarrassed. The event appeared to be covered by independent members of some unknown media outlets but any coverage by media outlets outside of Stanford was apparently absent.
The event drew condemnation in a Stanford Daily op-ed but has largely gone uncovered by other media. The protest’s effectiveness is unknown as it has drawn no response from the Stanford administration nor changed Stanford policy regarding Secretary Rice. However, since no official endorsement by any Stanford student organization is known, no comment can be obtained at this time to identify the purpose or intent of the Condival.
CORRECTION: the print version identified “Stanford Free School” as “Stanford Free Campus”