Sept 16, 2006 - Antiwar Rally
Canada Out of Afghanistan!
US/UK Out of Iraq!
Israel Out of Lebanon & Palestine!
Organized by: Mobilization Against War & Occupation
Read the Rally Press Release Here
Report Back >>
On the eve of the deployment of 450 additional Canadian soldiers and 15 Canadian leopard tanks to the occupation of Afghanistan, over 300 protesters gathered in Vancouver at the September 16, 2006 rally organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) to show their opposition to the Canadian war drive.
Coast Salish elder Kelly White officially opened the rally with a welcome to the protesters to the traditional, unceded Indigenous territory on which Vancouver sits. She also extended solidarity as an Indigenous person within Canada to the Indigenous people facing occupation in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world.
Asif Ali Shah, an organizer with the United Muslim Alliance and MAWO spoke next about Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and against the war of imperialist countries on people in the Middle East. He was followed by Saida Osman, a student organizer with the Students of Colour and Social Justice Committees of the Capilano Students Union and the May 2007 “Feminisms: Strengthening the Ties” Conference. Saida spoke about how war lays a much heavier attack on women and people of colour, people already oppressed by “peacetime” society – she said we should all unite to bring the troops home from Afghanistan and end the occupation.
Dr. Warif Leila, a Lebanese organizer with Adala-the Canadian Arab Justice Committee and antiwar organizer spoke in support of the people of Lebanon and their fight to kick out the invading and occupying forces from Israel. She encouraged people in Canada not to be silent but to stand up and be active in defense of people under attack in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Esteban Gonzalez, a MAWO organizer and high school student spoke next about Canada’s losing war on people in Afghanistan and how the resistance against the occupation is made up of regular, working people in Afghanistan and we should support their fight. Wilson Munoz, Chair of the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver spoke and said we should be spending billions of dollars on healthcare and education, not on war. He eloquently informed listeners that to make change that will benefit humanity, we must all become activated against the occupations.
Returning again to the perspective of people who have suffered directly under occupation here in Canada, Aleyna May, a young Metis activist in Vancouver spoke. She addressed the important challenge of uniting Aboriginal youth against war and for social change. Aleyna was followed by MAWO Co-Chair Kira Koshelanyk who spoke about the real motivations behind the imperialist war drive in the world: profit and strategic control for profit. She also called for unity and support for people struggling against occupation using whatever means they have – that the interests of those of us on the streets of Vancouver match those of people in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and all oppressed people.
The rally was closed with a resolution read by MAWO organizer Janine Solanki which passed with cheers from the crowd and stated: “Be it resolved that we, as youth, elders, as people of color, as women, as poor and working people, will continue to fight back and will unite in resistance to demand self determination for all oppressed people and for an end to imperialist war and occupation!” Following Janine was a performance by “Fully Faded” a Lower Mainland antiwar hip hop duo who brought spirit and music to add to the resistance of the rally.
The diversity of the speakers represented on the stage and in the crowd at the rally showed the widespread and growing opposition to the Canadian war drive within Canada itself. Students, women, Indigenous people, immigrants, refugees and working people all took the stage to denounce Canada’s war in Afghanistan, the US/UK occupation of Iraq and the era of imperialist war and occupation threatening the world today. MAWO will be continuing to organize as the October 16-27 5th Student Week Against War & Occupation approaches and leads up to the October 28th International Day of Action.
Press Release >>
VANCOUVER BC: September 16, 2006
CANADA STEPS UP MILITARY FORCES IN OCCUPATION OF AFGHANISTAN
SEPT 16 VANCOUVER PROTEST DEMANDS IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS
Monday Sept 11th opened with the announcement that the government of Canada was seriously considering the deployment of 15 Leopard Tanks and 200 additional troops to Afghanistan. By Wednesday Sept 13th, according to the Globe and Mail, the Canadian Forces' main tank unit was racing to prepare the troops and tanks “to send to Afghanistan as early as next week”
This preparation to bolster Canada’s military capacity in Afghanistan comes on the heels of the vicious and bloody September 2nd launch of OPERATION MEDUSA, which brought the death toll for Canada of soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 32.
Within 24 hours of the start of OPERATION MEDUSA, spokesmen of the Canadian military reported on killing over 200 Afghans. The death toll for Afghans since 2001, as a result of this war and occupation, is admittedly in the tens of thousands.
On Saturday September 16th Vancouver’s Antiwar Coalition, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) will be organizing a protest rally in response the escalation of the Canadian war drive in Afghanistan, and to declare that the occupation of Afghanistan by over 2,300 Canadian troops has brought nothing but death, suffering, and destruction for the people of Afghanistan.
According to PM Stephan Harper’s Sept 11th address, because of Canada’s military efforts “the Taliban is on the run, not in charge” in Afghanistan.
Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) spokesperson Nita Palmer responded to Harpers comments, “While Harper makes statements that Canada’s efforts are progressing in Afghanistan, we must ask what does he define as ‘progress’?”
Palmer continued, “While billions of dollars have been pumped into this military effort, Afghan people have seen no improvement in education, civil infrastructure, healthcare or security. It has only been death and destruction, with no end in sight. This is what Canada is ‘in charge of’ in Afghanistan. Is this what Harper defines as ‘progress’?”
Since 2004 Mobilization Against War & Occupation has collected over 10,000 signatures on a petition demanding that Canada’s troops withdrawal from Afghanistan immediately. This goes to show that people in Canada disagree with Harper and are against Canada’s war in Afghanistan.
Mobilization Against War and Occupation Co-Chair, Kira Koshelanyk, also added, “For people in Canada, this war drive was sprung upon us, with no forewarning. Before the July 2005 announcement of a 2000 troop deployment there was no space for open, public, or even parliamentary, debate.”
She continued, “Do people in Canada benefit from over 4Billion dollars being stripped from public services to fund this war drive? We must have the chance to ask and answer these questions ourselves. To do this we are calling for an Independent Public Inquiry into the Canadian war drive in Afghanistan.”
At the Sept 16th protest Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) will also be demanding an immediate end to Israeli aggression and occupation of Lebanon and Palestine. Following the brutal Israeli siege in July and August, several thousand Israeli troops continue to unlawfully occupy Lebanese territory.
In addition the Sept 16th protest will demand the US and UK immediately end the brutal and illegal occupation of Iraq, which has resulted in the deaths of over 150,000 Iraqis in the past 3 1/2 years.
CLICK ON PHOTO FOR LARGER VERSION
Kelly White - Coast Salish Elder, Media Activist, Kla-how-ya FM
Nicole Burton & Shakeel Lochan, MAWO Organizers and Rally MCs
Dr. Warif Leila
Aleyna May, Metis Activist
Wilson Munoz, Chair of the Social Justice Ctte of the Unitarian Church
Saida Osman, student organizer with the Students of Colour and Social Justice Committees of the Capilano Students Union
Asif Ali Shah, United Muslim Alliance, MAWO
Esteban Gonzalez, MAWO Organizer
Kira Koshelanyk, MAWO Co-Chair
Janine Solanki, MAWO Organizer