August 2, 2008 Vancouver Rally Report
AUGUST 2, 2008– The sun shone brightly as over 200 people rallied at the Vancouver Art Gallery to demand “No War On Iran!” Peace-loving people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds, including many Iranians, in Vancouver, Canada, joined people in over 100 cities and towns around the world as part of an International Day of Action initiated by New York City-based Stop War On Iran. In Canada, besides activists in Vancouver, British Columbia, there were also events organized in Calgary, Alberta and Sydney, Nova Scotia, in conjunction with this international call.
The rally in Vancouver was organized jointly by Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) and the Iranian Community Against War (ICAW). MCs, Payvand and Arash from ICAW opened the rally with chants of “Don’t Attack Iran!” and “No to Sanctions on Iran!”.
The rally opened with a speech via telephone from Alison Bodine, co-chair of MAWO. Alison, a US citizen, was politically targeted by the Canada Border Services Agency and banned from Canada for two years in November 2007. (For more information on her case, see http://alisonbodine.blogspot.com ) She addressed the rally from San Francisco, California, and spoke about organizing against war on Iran in California and throughout the US.
Phillipa Ryan, a Coast Salish elder and social justice activist, shared her thoughts on the current threats of war against Iran from the perspective of an Indigenous activist. She explained the similarities between the wars and occupations which imperialist countries are carrying out in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ongoing occupation and plunder of Indigenous land and resources here in the US and Canada.
Dustin Langley was the second international speaker to address the rally by telephone, this time from New York City. Dustin, a central organizer with Stop War On Iran in New York, read a dynamic and passionate statement of solidarity from Stop War On Iran in New York to the rally in Vancouver.
Dustin was followed by Ladan, an Iranian social justice activist and supporter of the Iranian Community Against War. She explained that defending the people of Iran from imperialist aggression was not only a question of defending the people of Iran, but is also a question of defending people all around the world from imperialist attack and the expansion of war and occupation. Ladan was followed by Charles Boylan, radio host on Co-op Radio’s “Wake Up With Co-op” program and a member of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist).
Next on stage was Cesar from the Solidarity Coalition for a United Latin America (SCULA). He spoke about some of the attacks from imperialism that the people of Latin America have faced, and the rising resistance to US imperialism in countries like Cuba and Venezuela. Next on the stage was Fred Muzin, President of the Hospital Employee’s Union of British Columbia, bringing a message of solidarity to the people of Iran against US attack.
The crowd chanted “No War On Iran!” and “End Sanctions On Iran!” as Ali Yerevani, ICAW organizer and political editor of the Fire This Time newspaper took the stage. Ali spoke about the importance of Iran as a symbol and force of anti-imperialist resistance in the Middle East, noting that as long as the people of Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan stand strong against imperialist domination, the US can never hope to regain complete control of the Middle East.
MAWO Executive Committee member and Acting Co-chair Nita Palmer was the last speaker of the day. She tied the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan which opened this new era of war and occupation with the threats of attack on Iran as a continuation of the plan of the US and its allies to regain hegemony in the Middle East.
The closing of the rally was a resolution delivered in English by Meaghan Griffiths, a MAWO organizer and high school student, and in Farsi by rally MC Arash. Rally participants cheered as Meaghan and Arash read, “Be it resolved that we, as women, as elders, as youth, as people of colour, as Indigenous people, as poor, working and oppressed people, stand united with our brothers and sisters in Iran and around the world to demand: ”US Hands Off Iran!” “US Out of the Middle East!” These chants rang loud and clear through the streets of Vancouver, bringing to a close the successful International Day of Action against war on Iran.
Please join us on August 23rd for the monthly MAWO/ICAW anti-war rally and an Iranian cultural night against war. For more information on these and other upcoming events against war on Iran, please visit: www.mawovancouver.org/nowaroniran.html or
August 2, 2008 Vancouver Rally Resolution
WHEREAS the US government has been increasing its threats of attack on the people Iran, and recently gave Israel the go-ahead to prepare for an imminent attack on Iran;
WHEREAS the US House of Representatives and Senate recently passed a non-binding resolution to advise US President George Bush to impose a complete air, land, and naval blockade on Iran, which will only hurt the people of Iran;
WHEREAS there are already three sets of UN sanctions, as well as European Union sanctions against Iran, which are a direct attempt to strangle Iran’s economy and weaken the people of Iran to make way for a US invasion, much like the sanctions inflicted on the people of Iraq in preparation for the 2003 US invasion, which have killed an estimated 1.5 Million Iraqi people;
WHEREAS the people of the world have seen the destruction and suffering imposed on the people of Iraq in over five years of brutal occupation, and have seen the brutality that the people of Afghanistan have faced in almost 7 years of air strikes, checkpoint shootings, killing, torture and the destruction of vital infrastructure;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, people in Vancouver, will unite with peace-loving people around the world to mobilize against any attack or threat of war on the people of Iran and demand
“No War On Iran!”
BE IT RESOLVED that we also demand an end to any and all sanctions against Iran, and will mobilize with people around the world to demand
“End Sanctions on Iran!”
BE IT RESOLVED that we, as women, as elders, as youth, as people of colour, as Indigenous people, as poor, working and oppressed people, stand united with our brothers and sisters in Iran and around the world to demand:
”US Hands Off Iran!”
“US Out of the Middle East!”