Our Message from Mobilization Against War and Occupation:
We Have No Choice, We Have No Option, But to Organize,
Educate and Moblize Humanity is at Stake!
By Janine Solanki
In today's world what does it mean to be for peace or to be“antiwar?” Today the borders of the new era of war and occupation don't stop at the map of countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. This new era encompasses the recent and continued Saudi-led US-backed war on Yemen, as well as the almost 70 year occupation of Palestine. War and occupation reaches us all the way here “at home” in Canada, where imperialist governments employ Islamophobia as a means to create a climate of fear and division, to justify their wars abroad. Especially now, the human cost of war and occupation are in the faces of people who can no longer ignore wars half a world away, when the results of over 15 years of the new era of war and occupation have made war-torn homelands uninhabitable and have created the refugee crisis we see today.
Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) started November with a public forum on November 7th titled, “Palestine Today: Occupation is Still the Issue”. This forum came in response to the increasing mass uprising of Palestinian people, especially youth, who are facing increasing repression and attacks by the Zionist Israeli regime. Following film clips looking the history of Palestine and recent news from Palestine, forum participants were treated to antiwar poetry by young Iraqi poet and activist Wala Zaidan. Forum speaker and MAWO executive committee member Azza Rojbi spoke about the situation facing Palestinian people today. Noah Fine, Jewish anti-Zionist antiwar activist and organizer spoke about the growing movement of Palestinians and concluded that this third Indifada in Palestine should be not only of Palestinians, but an Intifada of people world-wide and of Israelis too, in defense of Palestinian self-determination. To read the talks of the forum speakers please see page 22-28 in this issue of Fire This Time.
On November 24th, MAWO organized a public meeting to discuss the recent tragic terrorist attacks in Paris as well as in Lebanon, Iraq, Mali and Egypt. This meeting was organized to discuss and better understand the world-wide responses and impacts of these terrorist attacks, particularly on how they have been used by imperialist forces to ramp up Islamophobia and anti-refugee rhetoric and attacks. After watching news clips on the recent events, MAWO chair Alison Bodine gave a presentation to open what was an energetic and fruitful discussion among the participants. This discussion better prepared MAWO activists for taking to the streets a few days later on November 28th, for MAWO's monthly antiwar rally and petition campaign. Many passerby's stopped by the info table in Downtown Vancouver or engaged in conversation with petitioners on the very topic of how the recent terrorist attacks and refugee crisis are a direct cause of the US-led wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya, and their imperialist actions beyond. As Canada is now in the first month of a new Liberal government with the new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, MAWO's new petition demanded that this government stop their participation, in any form, in the wars in Iraq and Syria.
Organizing these events is one very important aspect of MAWO's work, however another aspect of antiwar organizing is to give support and participate in other group's events which are working in the same vein of antiwar and anti-imperialist struggles. As this article began, “antiwar” encompasses many struggles and uniting those struggles makes our common fight stronger and more effective. MAWO participated in the November 21st Vigil United with Humanity, to support an event that aimed to remind people that whether terrorist attacks are in Paris, Beirut, Iraq or Mali, or are the terror of wars and occupations, the simple fact is that humanity as a whole is under attack and must come together to resist terrorism, whether at the hand of ISIS or at the hand of imperialism.
On November 27th, MAWO endorsed and supported the public forum “Stolen Land: First Nations Palestinians at Frontlines of Resistance” which was sponsored by Canada Palestine Association/BDS Vancouver, Canadian Boat to Gaza, Independent Jewish Voices – Vancouver, South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy, and UBC Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. The event focused on the common struggle of Indigenous nations for self-determination, from here in Canada to Palestine.
MAWO recognizes that another war we must fight against, is the war against the destruction and degradation of environment. Wars and occupations are some of the biggest culprits for environmental catastrophes, while the nature of imperialism consumes and degrades the environment with profit as their only concern. MAWO participated in the Vancouver rally against climate change on November 29th along with thousands of Vancouverites, and marched in the streets holding MAWO's banner reading “Stop the War! Stop the Occupation! Stop Environmental Degradation!” The march and rally, organized by many local groups and individuals, coincided with the COP21 United Nations Climate Summit in Paris, and was part of demonstrations taking place around the world.
In one month MAWO either organized or participated in a wide range of events, uniting many related struggles. But one thing is clear: Now is the time for unity. We must bring our forces together, to bring an end to imperialist wars and occupations, to bring an end to all forms of terrorism, to bring an end to environmental degradation, and to work together for a better world! At stake is humanity.
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