Silence on the storming of the Green Zone as the people take over the Iraqi parliament?

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

Gathering at the end of the anti war protest Botanic Gardens, Brisbane 2003. (In copyright). John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image

Refugee movement
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.


Ian Curr
1 May 2016

Iraqi Beacon

3 thoughts on “Silence on the storming of the Green Zone as the people take over the Iraqi parliament?

  1. This RT broadcast from yesterday (30 April 2016) is riveting, showing the tearing down of a section of the Green Zone wall in Baghdad and masses of unarmed protesters taking over the parliament – too bad no Australian media outlets found it of any interest to show us what is going on there! Bravo RT, excellent broadcast with detailed analysis.

    The corrupt Iraqi government needs drastic change, the population has had enough, it’s time for an Iraqi government that’s going to serve the needs of the Iraqi people.

    Just like the security forces at the parliament, the Iraqi army appears to be in support of this unarmed insurrection!

    How will the Americans react?

  2. This morning (2-May-2016) there was finally some basic coverage of the storming of the Iraqi parliament on local Brisbane TV.

    Describing the protesters some Western news agencies have said there were “hundreds” and some said “thousands”. Police and army troops continue to be taking no action against the protesters. “We still view this as a demonstration,” said Sabah al-Numan, a spokesman for the counter-terrorism forces.

    “We aren’t taking any part in this as it’s not something regarding terrorism.”

    For years key government posts have been shared out based on political and sectarian quotas, which the demonstrators want to end. Abadi’s move to change the system has been opposed by powerful political parties that rely on control of ministries for patronage and funds.

    Al-Sadr and his supporters want to reform the political system put in place following the US-led invasion in 2003, in which entrenched political blocs representing the country’s Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds rely on patronage, that resulted in widespread corruption and poor public services.

    The major blocs have until now stymied the reform efforts of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has sought to address the protesters’ demands.

    The Green Zone has long been the focus of al-Sadr’s allegations that the government is detached from the people. The compound has been off-limits to the vast majority of Iraqis, as security procedures require multiple checks and specific documentation to enter.

    A broadbased protest movement last summer mobilised millions and pressured al-Abadi to submit a series of austerity proposals that he said would also fight corruption. As political progress stalled, al-Sadr’s movement gradually came to monopolise the protests.

    Al-Sadr, an influential Shiite cleric whose supporters once battled US forces across Baghdad and southern Iraq, is not a member of parliament. But his supporters make up the second largest parliamentary bloc, with 34 seats in the 328-member assembly, and controlled three ministries before the latest upheaval.

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