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      A 'Humanitarian Catastrophe' Deserves a Human Response
      - Let's Get United to Demand an End to Wars & Occupations -
      MAWO Organizes Against War & Occupation

      By Noah Fine

      On Sunday August, 2015, a US-backed Saudi airstrike killed 31 innocent workers when they aimed and fired upon a bottling plant in the province of Hajjah. Another testament to what the United Nations on August 19 th called a ‘humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen’.

      Meanwhile the ongoing and ever expanding US led wars and occupations in the Middle East and North Africa are leading millions of people to flee for their lives in search of safety and basic human necessities. Syrians alone account for more than 4 million refugees who have fled to escape the US orchestrated destruction of their country.

      With the ever worsening crisis of war and occupation, Vancouver based Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) has been organizing, educating and mobilizing supporters of peace in consistent monthly activities.

      On Tuesday August 11th, 2015, MAWO organized a forum in the campaign to defend WikiLeaks whistle-blower, Private Chelsea Manning. People from all walks of life participated in the forum demonstrating their solidarity with this Soldier of Humanity.

      Since the forum a new campaign has begun in Vancouver called the Free Chelsea Manning Campaign. The campaign held a fundraiser on August 23rd complete with live music, poetry and film at an event aimed at raising much needed donations towards Chelsea’s legal defence fund.

      On Tuesday August 21 st, 2015, MAWO organized its first in a series of discussions on the Iran nuclear deal. The forum titled “One Step Closer to Peace: Why Iran and the P5+1 nuclear deal is a turning point in the Middle East” enticed many including an encouraging participation from the Iranian community. The forum featured writer and researcher Phil Wilayto speaking via video conference from Richmond, Virginia. Following Wilayto was Iranian social justice activist and Fire This Time Political Editor, Ali Yerevani.

      The Iran deal forum was followed the next day by MAWO’s monthly anti-war petition drive and rally. Peace and anti-war activists gathered in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery asking many of the thousands of people passing by to sign petitions against the wars in Yemen, Syria and for the freedom of Chelsea Manning.

      Thousands of anti-war fliers were distributed, hundreds of petition signatures collected and many great discussions took place while MAWO activists interrupted the normal flow of downtown Vancouver bringing anti-war and pro peace politics to the scene.

      As the summer comes to a close MAWO is preparing for a busy month of anti- war activities in the Fall. With many different events to participate in, MAWO is encouraging all people who believe in peace to get involved and join the anti-war movement.

      On campuses, in the streets or in forums, the time to come together to protest against war and occupation has never been more important than now.

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