Nov 25, 2006 - Rally
CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN!
US/UK OUT OF IRAQ!
Israel Hands off Lebanon & Gaza!
Self-Determination for Indigenous Nations in Canada!
Self-determination for All Oppressed Nations!
US Out of Guantanamo!
Organized by: Mobilization Against War & Occupation
Protesters at the Mobilization Against War & Occupation antiwar rally on November 25 had to stamp their feet and chant extra loud to warm up downtown Vancouver streets on this chilly Saturday afternoon. Over 250 people attended the rally, coming from home or stopping by on the street to pick up a sign and join the rally calling for Canada to end its occupation of Afghanistan now.
The rally program was opened by Coast Salish elder and Indigenous media activist of Kla How Ya 102.7FM, Kelly White. Kelly welcomed the rally to the unceded Coast Salish territory on which Vancouver sits. She sang to wish success for all those struggling against occupation and colonization. Kelly was followed by a very energetic speech against the war from the perspective of university students by Alison Bodine, UBC student and organizer with the UBC AMS Coalition Against War on the People of Iraq & Internationally. Jaehun Choi, a visiting scholar at UBC from Seoul, South Korea and the organization “Imagination for International Solidarity” followed Alison on the stage. Jaehun called for an end to the US and Canada’s occupation of Afghanistan and the US ongoing military presence and interference in South Korea. Jaehun also condemned the threats to North Korea.
John Waller, Coordinator for North America for the Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba, spoke on the necessity of ending the US occupation of Guantanamo Bay. The US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay has held thousands of detainees from the US, UK, Canada “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan and it is very strongly opposed by Cuba. Next, Mexican activist Maria de la Luz Mendoza spoke at the rally as well, linking the rally and its demands for justice and self-determination to the current struggle of the people of Oaxaca in Mexico.
Michael Van Fleet, a Kwantlen College student and local Indigenous activist, spoke about Canada’s history of colonization and occupation at home, linking it to today’s occupation and colonization of Afghanistan. Two more speakers followed and defended the sovereignty of Latin American countries against threats and attack by imperialism. These were Wilson Munoz, Chair of the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver and Sarah Alwell of the Capilano College Free the Cuban 5 Committee, the latter who spoke on the necessity of freedom for the Cuban 5 held unjustly in US jails. Lindsay Clarke, Capilano Students Union Social Justice Coordinator wrapped up the speakers program with a speech on the necessity of opposing and ending the new era of war and occupation spreading from Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Palestine and beyond at the hands of imperialist countries like the US and Canada. Lindsay also condemned the threats of intervention into Africa through a so-called humanitarian mission into Sudan.
MAWO student organizer, Jane Ivanova, read the rally’s final resolution – bringing together the demands “US/UK Out of Iraq!” “Canada Out of Afghanistan!” “Israel Hands Off Lebanon & Gaza!” “Self-determination for Indigenous Nations in Canada!” “Self-determination for all oppressed nations!” “US Out of Guantanamo!” “Hands off Sudan!”. The resolution to continue fighting and organizing against war and occupation was passed with much cheering and support from the crowd.
After 5 years of occupation and more than 12,000 Lower Mainland residents having put their name to the “Canada Out of Afghanistan!” petition, there is a new shift from working, poor and oppressed people in Canada toward a stronger conviction that Canada’s occupation of Afghanistan does not represent them. In 2007, MAWO will be organizing more monthly rallies, pickets and other events against war and occupation and for self-determination.
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Coast Salish Elder, Kelly White
Alison Bodine, UBC Student and President of Coalition Against War on the People of Iraq & Internationally
John Waller, North America Coordinator for Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba
Jaehun Choi, Korean Activist, visiting scholar to UBC
Maria de la Luz Mendoza
MAWO activist, Camilia, getting signatures agaisnt the occupation of Afghanistan
Michael VanFleet, Kwanteln College Student, Indigenous Activist
Wilson Munoz, Coordinator of the Unitarian Church Social Justice Comittee
Sarah Alwell of the Capilano College Free the Cuban 5 Committee
Janine Solanki and Shakeel Lochan, Rally MC's
Lindsay Clarke, Capilano College Students Union Social Justice Coorinator
Jane Ivanova, MAWO organizer, reads the final resolution of the day