From Arab Spring we come singing for freedom's sake strike up the banner, cry war no more rid us of this insane curse those warmongers are the worse our job is not to lead nor is it to be led lower the casket down on our graves rich masters feed their fortune let’s bring war to an end, it cannot come too soon in this, our pale afternoon - Ode to lives lost at Mirabad
There is a large resistance movement growing world-wide.
There is a state of emergency in Iraq after people stormed the Green Zone and the Iraqi parliament.
The UN has called for calm.
A huge bomb blast killed 24 people in Baghdad on Saturday (30 April 2016).
For security reasons US Vice-President Joe Biden has flown in unannounced. International media caricature the storming of the Green Zone as a Shia uprising led by Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The people in Baghdad are sick of corruption. The Russians are pushing for a political solution in Syria. Israel is exporting methods of pacification and subdues resistance worldwide while Palestinians take the brunt. Palestinian wage resistance and continue the call for worldwide BDS against Israel.
Yet the peace movement is silent. Why?
Local responses to growing resistance movements
In Brisbane during the 2014 G20 summit large crowds massed to protest the leaders of the 1%.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop banned Russian President Putin from attending G20. In response in November 2014, Russia sent a fleet of warships into international waters off the coast of Australia to accompany Putin’s visit.
Prime Minster Abbott backed down and Putin attended the summit.
In the lead up to G20, on Saturday 16 Nov 2013, there was a G20 discussion forum held at Justice Place, Woolloongabba and organised under the banner of Friends of the Earth Brisbane. [This grouping later became brisCAN-G20].
The forum was well-attended lasting for six hours. It raised issues surrounding G20 leaders summit to be held in Brisbane in November 2014.
Iraq anti-war movement
But when the facilitator asked some participants to explain the failure of the 80,000 in Brisbane to stop the war in Iraq in 2003, we were jolted back to present failure. We remembered those forgotten arguments and everyone tried to speak at once. We all have our own point of view, but do we want to work together? Isn’t that what it comes down to?
On May Day 2016, 13 years after 80,000 people demonstrated on the streets of Brisbane against the Iraq war, there is silence. No mention of Iraq. Why?
Peace researchers ask questions about G20 ‘to draw on participants’ experiences and reflections from both the Peoples’ Convergence and Decolonisation before Profit gatherings’ rather than the invasion that started it all off.
Why silence about the ongoing war on Iraq, on Syria?
Perhaps people should attend the BrisG20 research follow up workshop to find out? What will be the reception if the war in Iraq is raised? Will dissent be shouted down if the current bombing of Iraq and Syria by Australian war planes is raised? Will this be deemed irrelevant? Or met by frosty silence?
When: Saturday 14th May, 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Where: West End Community House, 4 Norfolk Rd, South Brisbane
RSVP: Friday 6th May
The 2016 Palm Sunday Peace Rally in Brisbane was supported by both union and refugee activists.
The struggle of Iraqi people was not even mentioned at the rally.
Not by Green, not by the ALP, not even by speakers from the Refugee Action Collective.
Where are the opportunists who spoke in the botanic gardens at the outset of the 2003 invasion of Iraq? One of the largest demonstrations in Brisbane’s history.
For example, where is ALP’s federal opposition leader Simon Crean, who was shouted down in 2003 with chants of “no war” after suggesting that Australia should wait for United Nations backing, rather than abstaining from an invasion altogether?
What led the Iraqi people to storm their own parliament on May Day, 2016?
Does anyone care?
Syria, Iraq again
The last time people on the Left (Cloudland Collective, Brisbane Free University, the Greens) organised anything about the war on Iraqi in Brisbane was this forum (see poster below) in October 2014.
But, even then, the main focus was on civil liberties and the government here, not how to achieve democratic rights and peace for the Iraqi and Syrian people.
1 May 2016