The drums of war are pounding louder than ever, and it seems almost certain that they will soon be accompanied by the pounding of the bombs of war. Among people that I talk to, there seems to be a widespread discomfort about the presumed inevitability of war. At the same time, no one seems to know what to do about it.
Those of us opposed to war in Iraq may not have a lot of power or a lot of resources, but we do have a lot of voices. On Saturday February 15, we’ll have the opportunity to use those voices in any of several peace rallies — part of a worldwide day of action against the war (on the day before Operation Burning Bush is expected to begin). The following protest opportunities are available:
- A Walk for Peace, starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Seagram Drive entrance to Waterloo Park and travelling down the Laurel Trail to the Young Street exit from the park. For more information, contact Louisette Lanteigne at 519-885-7619 or [email protected]
- A bus will take people from Kitchener-Waterloo to the Toronto Peace Rally. Departure times are 10:00 a.m. from University of Waterloo, 10:15 a.m. from Waterloo Town Square, and 10:30 a.m. from Kitchener City Hall. For bus tickets, call 519-578-1425 (after 3:30 p.m.), or,
- Join Guelph’s “Snow People For Peace” for a rally at 11:00 a.m. at the War Memorial Hall. A march to Guelph-Wellington MP Brenda Chamberlain’s office will follow.
Action can’t stop with only a few hours of protest on Saturday. We have to speak up, even if it makes people uncomfortable or gets us into trouble. For some bizarre reason, being in favour of war is seen as “patriotic”,whereas being opposed to war is seen as “political.”. That means talking to taxi drivers and hair stylists and bartenders — as well as to politicians — about the war and why you are opposed to it. It means talking back when our news media call on us to “support the troops.” Write a letter to the editor. Call a phone-in show. Tell jokes with an anti-war spin (e.g. “How does the U.S. know that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction? They kept the receipts.”)
Of course, entering into the public debate on any issue requires you to be informed. With so much filtered information and outright lies on this issue, this is bound to be a more difficult task than usual. But, ultimately, it’s worth the effort to sift through the misinformation, to ask questions, and to seek alternate sources.
Here are a few tidbits of information to get you started:
- According to an article posted at Salon.com (“A national state of confusion”, February 5, 2003), a survey of Americans in January asked, “To the best of your knowledge, how many of the September 11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens?” Of those surveyed, “only 17 percent knew the correct answer: that none of the hijackers were Iraqi. Forty-four percent of Americans believed that most or some of the hijackers were Iraqi; another 6 percent believed that one of the hijackers was a citizen of that most notorious node in the axis of evil. That left 33 percent who did not know enough to offer an answer.” If so many Americans are ignorant about the supposed justification for their country leading a war against Iraq, then clearly the propaganda machine is working.
- An article posted at ZNet (“Powell’s Flimsy Evidence”, February 9, 2003) systemically poked holes in the “evidence” provided by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in his presentation to the U.N. Security Council (other articles have done the same thing). The article noted that “the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of the al-Musayyib site were not to the same scale, so it’s impossible to tell if Powell’s allegation that the site had been recently bulldozed and graded is really true, nor can we tell if the ‘forklift’ and ‘bulldozer’ are really vehicles, and not just shrubbery or storage tanks. Even basic logic tells us that something is wrong with these photos. Why does he show us pictures of empty cargo trucks? Surely, with the billions of dollars the US has spent on satellite technology and aerial reconnaissance, the CIA can find a photo or two of cargo trucks filled with dirt or with missiles piled in them.”
- In an address to the International Women’s Forum in Johannesburg, former South African President Nelson Mandela said: “A war on Iraq is something we must condemn without reservation âe¦ All Bush wants is Iraqi oil âe¦ and he wants to get hold of it. Bush is acting outside the United Nations and both he and (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair are undermining the United Nations, an organization which was an idea sponsored by their predecessors. What I condemn is one power with a president who can’t think properly âe¦ wants to plant the world into holocaust.”
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