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Event Reports
July 27, 2006

Vancouver anti-war activists hold emergency picket to demand:
Call for an Independent Public Inquiry Into the Canadian War Drive!

Picket Report | Public Statement | Photos

Picket Report >>

On Thursday July 27th, Mobilization Against War and Occupation held its 16th picket demanding, “Canada Out of Afghanistan!” “Self-Determination for Afghanistan!” and, “Call for an Independent Public Inquiry into the Canadian War Drive!”.

This emergency action was called in response not only to Canada’s ongoing and criminal occupation of Afghanistan, but to two major international developments in imperialist war, occupation, and destruction: first, to the deaths of two Canadian soldiers and the death of 1 Canadian aid worker in Afghanistan in the last week; second, to demand an immediate end to the brutal siege on Lebanon and Gaza by the Zionist state of Israel.

Before picketing, activists were welcomed to the territory with a song by Coast Salish elder and Indigenous media activist Kelly White. Her powerful words supported the struggle to end Canada’s war drive in Afghanistan, and to stop attacks at home and abroad. MAWO co-chair Kira Koshelanyk then opened the picket by reading the coalition’s July 26th public statement on Canada’s occupation of Afghanistan and the Canadian government’s approval of Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza.

Protesters picketed while chanting, “Canada Out of Afghanistan! Stop the Canadian War Drive!”, and “Israel Out of Lebanon! Israel Out of Gaza!” Cars honked their horns in support as passerby pedestrians stopped at the materials table to get more information.

Jane Ivanova, an organizer with MAWO, spoke about the effect of the occupation for both Afghans and people in Canada. “The total number of Canadians that have died in Afghanistan has now reached 21,” She said. “While we know this, we do not even know how many Afghans have died in Afghanistan. With the deaths of these soldiers, it is now more clear than ever to us in Canada that this country is at war, and that this occupation has repercussions at home.”

The picket was closed by Nita Palmer, acting secretary of MAWO, who condemned Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and Gaza, and the Canadian government’s support for these brutal attacks.

“In less than a month, Israel has brought the same devastation to Lebanon that we see in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, as the imperialist war drive of pushes its expansion to new territory,” she said. “Israel’s bombs have now crippled the homes, cities, and lives of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians. In response, we must add new demands to our work the anti-war movement. Canada Out of Afghanistan! Israel Out of Lebanon and Gaza! Self-Determination for all Oppressed Nations now!”

Mobilization Against War and Occupation will be back at the Recruitment Centre in a week’s time, to continue our opposition to these developments. The picket will be held on Thursday August 1st, from 12:30pm – 1:30pm at 1070 W. Georgia Street, Downtown Vancouver.

Public Statement >>

July 26th, 2006
MAWO Statement on Canadian War Drive in Afghanistan & Canadian Government Approval of Israel's Attacks on Gaza & Lebanon:


On Saturday July 22nd, two Canadian Soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in an attack against the occupying troops near their Kandahar base. These two deaths bring the rapidly rising toll up to 20 Canadians killed in Afghanistan. Three days later, on July 25th, Mike Frastacky, a Canadian working in Afghanistan, was killed. The death toll for Canada in this mission has now reached 21. Afghanistan is undeniably a war zone.

According to Col. Tom Putt, deputy commanding officer of the Canadian Task Force Afghanistan the two deaths are "the price Canada has to pay today for a brighter future for the people of Afghanistan,"

Contrary to what Col. Putt is alleging, this occupation is not bringing any future for Afghanistan. The death toll for Afghan people is many thousands. Thousands more are wounded and hundreds of thousands on top of that have been devastatingly impoverished and made into refugees. Schools are not functioning. Afghans have no control over the political process and state machinery that they need to create a future in the interest of the people of Afghanistan.

Stephen Harper met the deaths of the two Canadian soldiers with these comments, "we are proud of the men and women of the Canadian Forces, who continue to stand on guard for Canadian values around the world"

What the policy of the Stephen Harper and the Canadian Government has shown is that "Canadian values" include denying the democratic, political and legal rights of an entire country of people in Afghanistan. "Canadian values" mean military suppression of a resistance movement demanding their right to sovereignty. "Canadian values" mean air strikes, house raids, checkpoints, arrests and torture. No wonder that Afghan people have rejected Stephen Harper's "Canadian values"!

For Afghanistan to have a chance to build a future that will benefit the needs of Afghans, they first need self-determination. Occupation troops must immediately withdrawal and Afghans must be left to determine their own future.


While Prime Minister Harper was commenting on spreading "Canadian values" through Afghanistan, out of the other side of his mouth, he was defending the spreading of Israeli bombs throughout Lebanon and Gaza. "Israel has the right to defend itself." said Stephen Harper in a press scrum on July 13th.

On July 12th, under the guise of rescuing an Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel began a massive military campaign against southern Lebanon. In the past 2 weeks this has meant aerial bombardment of civilian areas by the Israeli Air Force, a naval blockade of Lebanon, a force of tanks and armored personnel carriers, and raids into southern Lebanon by Israeli Defense Force ground troops. Over 400 people have been reported dead in Lebanon and hundreds more have been wounded. Over 700,000 Lebanese have been made refugees, with an unknown number of missing civilians in the south.

This round of Israeli criminal agression comes on the heels of the ongoing seige of Gaza, which began on June 28, again with the excuse of avenging a kidnapping. In Gaza Israel launched a large-scale military operation which targeted the main electric plant, leaving over half of the Gaza Strip without electricity. Israel continues this siege alongside the attacks on Lebanon. On July 23rd in one attack alone they killed 6 Palestinians in an aerial bombardment in the Northern Gaza Strip.

Stephen Harper's response to Israel's attacks? "I think Israel's response under the circumstances has been measured." He is right yes, it has been "measured". It measures a death toll for hundreds of innocent people.

Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) is staunchly opposed to Israel's criminal killing machine in Lebanon and Gaza. We demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and the immediate end to state-terrorism by Israel. We echo the demands of the Palestinian people for self-determination, for an end to the 58-year occupation of historic Palestine, and for the right of return for the millions of Palestinians refugees. We call on all peace-loving people and humanists to stand behind our sisters and brothers of Palestine as they wage a historic fight against the oppressive Apartheid State of Israel for their dignity and sovereignty for Palestine and Lebanon.