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      Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO)
      Continues Organizing Against Imperialist War and Occupation!

      By Janine Solanki

      Within MAWO's events and actions planned for September, it became necessary to discuss a humanitarian crisis that is the direct result of over 14 years of the new era of war and occupation. This crisis, of course, is the refugee crisis that is seeing huge numbers of refugees from the Middle East and Africa desperately seeking safety and security on European shores.

      On Tuesday September 8th, MAWO organized a public forum titled “Hands Off Iraq! Hands Off Syria! War, Occupation and the ISIS/ISIL Crisis”. Following the videos, the first speaker was Mamdoh Ashir, an Iraqi- Canadian and Muslim community activist. He spoke to give more insight into how the U.S. occupation of Iraq fueled sectarian divisions which helped create ISIS/ISIL, and furthermore how ISIS/ISIL benefits from U.S. weapons and covert support. The next speaker, Thomas Davies, an editorial board Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) Continues Organizing Against Imperialist War and Occupation! member of the Fire This Time Newspaper, gave further perspective on the effects of war on Iraq and Syria. He also discussed how the current refugee crisis in Europe is the clearest indication of how devastating these wars have been to make Iraq and Syria totally unlivable, as both of these countries have some of the highest numbers of refugees.

      On Saturday September 12th, MAWO organized a monthly antiwar rally and petition campaign, in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery in Downtown Vancouver. This month, alongside demands of “Hands Off Syria! Hands Off Iraq! No War on Yemen!” protesters also demanded “Open the Borders: Let Refugees of War and Occupation in!” Organizers approached passer-bys to sign on to a petition against Canada’s participation in military intervention and sanctions on Syria, and the information table was busy with people stopping to talk to organizers, sign petitions and pick up antiwar literature. Following an afternoon of petitioning, the action culminated with a rally in which Azza Rojbi, MAWO executive committee member, and Thomas Davies spoke and encouraged people who stopped to listen to look beyond the media reports of refugees arriving in Europe, and to question why so many people are risking their lives and leaving their homelands. The speakers emphasized how governments in Europe, Canada and the US must take responsibility for the causing the refugee crisis through their wars and occupations by opening the borders to refugees and stopping their wars and occupations.

      From forums and discussions to demonstrations and petition drives, Mobilization Against War and Occupation will continue to organize against the new era of war and occupation. The refugee crisis is making it clear that war and occupation cannot simply be ignored because it it seems far away. All peace-loving people must demand that imperialist governments stop their wars and occupations, and demand self- determination for all oppressed nations.

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