Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center
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October 2nd, 2007 Picket Action at the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center
Interview about the occupation of Afghanistan with Vancouver-based French newspaper "L'Express du Pacifique"
Nicole Burton, MAWO organizer and SFU student speaking about the effects of the occupation on students
Alison Bodine (left), MAWO organizer and spokesperson who was recently arrested, detained at the US/Canada border and later released under public pressure, marches in the picket. Alison also spoke at the picket about her case and the targeting of antiwar and progressive activists.
Janine Solanki, MAWO organizer and spokesperson rallying the crowd.
CANADA/NATO OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW!
Vancouver, BC - On a rainy day in Vancouver, more than two dozen people gathered at the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Centre to demand “Canada Out of Afghanistan Now!”.
The picket was organized by Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO). MAWO has organized almost 40 pickets in front of the recruitment centre since July 2005. This month’s picket came after the death of the 71st Canadian soldier on September 24th, and after yet another “accidental” shooting and killing of a young man by the Canadian Forces on October 2nd.
The activists and organizers who spoke throughout the picket were introduced by MAWO executive committee member Andrew Barry. The picket was opened with a press statement read by Kira Koshelanyk, also a member of MAWO’s executive committee. “The Canadian Forces say they are bringing freedom to Afghanistan. But in the last 6 months, hundreds of Afghans have been killed by midnight NATO air strikes on homes and entire villages, killing women, children, men and elders. Afghan people are actively denouncing this hypocrisy and so must we,” Kira said.
Nicole Burton, an organizer with the MAWO club at Simon Fraser University spoke about attacks on the rights of Afghan students and young people under occupation. She encouraged students and youth in Canada to get involved in MAWO’s upcoming Student Week Against War & Occupation (SWAWO). Picketers chanted slogans of “Money for Education, Not for War!”, “Canada/NATO Out of Afghanistan!”, and “Bring the Troops Home Now!” for the next 45 minutes.
Next, Alison Bodine, a central organizer and executive committee member of Mobilization Against War and Occupation, spoke on her own case. She was targeted, harassed, and arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency after they found anti-war and social justice materials in her car. (For more information on Alison’s case, see http://alisonbodine.blogspot.com).
After more picketing, central MAWO organizer Janine Solanki wrapped up the day. “As the brutal Canada/NATO occupation increases, Afghans are fighting against it every single day. We are here today fighting alongside them, and must continue fighting alongside them for an end to the occupation. We must send this message to the government of Canada: Canada OUT of Afghanistan NOW!”.
MAWO will continue their call for Canada Out of Afghanistan and for an independent public inquiry into Canada’s war drive in Afghanistan at each of their actions coming up. Please get involved in the next series of events: a tour of SFU, UBC, Langara College, Capilano College, Douglas College and more during the 7th Student Week Against War and Occupation, October 22nd- October 26th.
Vancouver, BC – We are gathered here at this Mobilization Against War and Occupation picket in front of the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center in Vancouver to continue our opposition to the Canada/NATO ongoing brutal occupation of Afghanistan and to demand “Canada/NATO Out of Afghanistan NOW!”.
On Monday, September 24th, another Canadian soldier was killed while he repaired a tank during a patrol in Southern Afghanistan, during "Operation Sadiq Sarbaaz," which translates into “Operation Honest Soldier.” The Canada/NATO occupation of Afghanistan is far from honest or humane. While this recent death takes Canada’s death toll to 71, Afghan deaths are skyrocketing. At least 800 Afghan civilians have been killed this year alone. On August 26, yet another brutal attack against the people of Afghanistan was carried out by NATO forces when they bombed a wedding celebration in Helmand province, killing 18 people. Due to another “accidental” shooting by Canadian troops, a young man was killed and an 8 year old child injured just today.
As ordinary peace-loving, humanist people in Canada, we must ask: What has the impact of Canada/NATO war and occupation in Afghanistan really been? Why after 6 years of US/Canada/NATO occupation the living situation in Afghanistan has not been improved but deteriorated?
- More than 6.5 million Afghans currently face malnutrition and starvation
-NATO dropped 407 bombs on Afghanistan from April to July of this year
-because of this cruel and inhuman occupation 1 in 4 children, mainly aged 7 - 14 are forced to work to survive
-only 3.1 million Afghan children are currently registered in schools – even under the Taliban government this figure was at 5 million – according to a report by Oxfam
-Afghanistan now has the 3rd highest infant mortality rate in the world
-1 women dies every 28 minutes from pregnancy related causes
If Canadian forces are ringing freedom throughout the country, why do all basic indicators of quality of human life ring out that Afghan people are now facing a human crisis of epic proportions?
In the last 6 months, hundreds of Afghans have been killed by midnight NATO air strikes on homes and entire villages, killing women, children, men and elders. The Afghan resistance has become so strong that the occupiers’ only policy to deal with this opposition is to bomb and raid the site of every attack on the foreign forces hours later, under cover of darkness. Are not these NATO air-strikes, mass civilian killings terrorism against the people of Afghanistan?
The Taliban and other anti-government groups in Afghanistan have gained public support due to the Afghan government's failure to provide essential security and development, and have used the presence of warlords in the government to discredit President Karzai's administration and its international backers. Afghan people are actively denouncing and opposing this hypocrisy and so must we.
As antiwar and social justice activists come under increasing attack, as recently with the case of Alison Bodine who is targeted as a political activist, and the 197 people who were arrested in Washington DC during an antiwar demonstration, we must defend our democratic rights to stand up and organize against this criminal war drive!
We stand here today, backed by millions of Afghan people, struggling for their lives, fighting, protesting and organizing to save Afghanistan from ruin. We are here with the signatures of over 1300 signatures of people in the lower mainland alone who demand an end to this occupation. We are here picketing the Canadian Forces Recruitment Centre to demand an immediate end to the Canada/NATO occupation of Afghanistan, and to call for an independent public inquiry into Canada’s war drive in Afghanistan, which has been strengthened and carried out without public consultation or debate. We urge all peace-loving, humanist, and caring people in Canada and around the world to join us in demanding:
Canada Out of Afghanistan NOW!
Independent Public Inquiry into the Canadian War Drive!