2012: MAWO in Full Campaign Against Imperialist Aggression
Looking back over the past year, 2012 was a busy year for Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO). 2012 brought with it the continuation of historical mass movements and uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa, which are ongoing in Tunisia and Egypt as well as in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia against US-backed regimes. 2012 also brought the imperialist response to the fact that it’s position in the region is threatened by oppressed people who have had enough of US regimes controlling and exploiting their countries. That response being the increase of sanctions on Syria and Iran, the heightened mainstreamed media campaign against these two countries, the imperialist-fomented civil war in Syria and the threats and preparation for potential military action against Syria. Turning to Palestine, in November 2012 yet another war was launched by Israel against Gaza, killing over 170 Palestinians in the eight-day bombing campaign. This brutal and criminal campaign against Palestinians will mark it’s 65th year in 2013.
Throughout all of MAWO's work, both education and action are two pillars for organizing antiwar activity. In the mainstream media people are constantly fed misinformation, the skewing and fabrication of facts, and often no facts at all when critical issues are simply left out of our daily news. Wars are waged through lies told and believed, and it is up to antiwar activists and organizations to fight back with the truth, which is why education is so important in the struggle against war and occupation. However knowing the truth is one thing, doing something about it is what really matters, which is where action is of vital importance for antiwar organizing.
MAWO closed 2012 with a both action and education, at MAWO's Saturday December 15th monthly antiwar rally and petition campaign. People walking down busy Robson street in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver could not miss the big banners and picket signs held by protesters that read “Hands Off Syria!” “No War on Iran!” and “Self-Determination for Palestine!” As this action took antiwar demands to the streets, it also asked passers-by to take action against war and occupation, and to sign petitions demanding an end to the government of Canada's sanctions and war mongering threats against Syria and Iran. This rally and petition campaign is a action but within itself is a educational tool too. Hundreds of MAWO newsletters and leaflets were handed out, discussions took place between organizers and those who stopped to sign petitions or who visited the info table, and new people signed up to find out about future antiwar events and to get involved.
2013: We Will Increase Our Antiwar Campaign
After ringing in the new year, MAWO began 2013 with education, through a public forum on January 8th, 2013 titled “Two Years of Struggle Against U.S.-Backed Puppet Regimes in North Africa & the Middle East! What we Have Learned Since the Death of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia”. On December 17th, 2010, just a little over two years ago Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor in Tunisia, took his life by setting himself on fire outside of a government office. His act of protest in response to a life of poverty, constant harassment and humiliation ignited a mass uprising that brought down Tunisia's U.S.-backed dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Soon after, Egyptians overthrew their own U.S.-backed dictator, Hosni Mubarak, as part of a surging wave of uprisings in countries throughout North Africa and the Middle East. The review of these huge historical events that impacted the world over the last two years gave way to a better perspective for entering a 2013 of struggle against war and occupation.
The forum started out with a series of video clips that included news clips, footage, and even music videos that followed events surrounding the uprisings from it's beginnings until today. The videos were followed by the forum's speaker, Ali Yerevani, who is the political editor of the Fire This Time Newspaper and of the Battle of Ideas Press, and was a participant in the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Ali provided an analysis of not only the last two years since the uprisings began but also the economic, social and political situation that existed in countries ruled by U.S.-backed puppet regimes throughout the Middle East and North Africa for decades before the death of Mohamed Bouazizi. Ali spoke about how the movements and demands have matured and developed in countries which are still in the process of overthrowing their U.S.-backed dictators, or are struggling to establish and further the gains made in Tunisia and Egypt, where the dictators were overthrown. Ali also spoke about the role the U.S. government has in attempting to suppress the movements against U.S.-backed dictators while heavily intervening in countries with independent governments, both through military force as in Libya and now in Syria with the backing of a civil war and a build up for a potential military intervention. Ali posed the question, “Who has the right to change a government, do a revolution or organize a mass uprising? The indigenous people inside that country, people who are a member of that country... or foreign forces who have their own agenda and own interests who most of the time, almost 99% of the time, are against the indigenous people of that country?” This came to the most critical issue for antiwar activists – to organize on the demand of imperialists, hands off Syria. In the discussion that followed many people brought forward their question or expanded on the topic of the forum.
Building Antiwar Movement
Looking forward for 2013, with the imperialist war drive against Syria and Iran escalating, the destruction of Libya continuing, and the occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine becoming more and more an obvious tragedy for the people of these countries, the necessity of building a united and effective antiwar movement is a critical task for the coming year. As Mobilization Against War and Occupation plans for a year of antiwar activity, it will be with consistent education and action to struggle for an end to this new era of war and occupation, and to build a better world. For more information on MAWO events and to get involved, go to www.mawovancouver.org
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