November 22, 2008 - Antiwar Rally
No War on Iran! No Sanctions on Iran!
Canada/NATO Out of Afghanistan NOW!
US/UK Out of Iraq!
Organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)
& Iranian Community Against War (ICAW)
CLICK ON PHOTO FOR LARGER VERSION
November 22 MAWO/ICAW Antiwar Rally Report
On Saturday November 23rd, the streets around the Vancouver Art Gallery resonated with the sounds and voices of peace loving Vancouverites rallying together to demand “Canada/NATO Out of Afghanistan! US/UK Out of Iraq! No War On Iran!”
MC Payvand Pejvack, an organizer with the Iranian Community Against War (ICAW), opened the rally by welcoming everyone from the sidewalk to join the many picket-sign holders in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Kelly White, a Coast Salish elder and supporter of the antiwar movement further opened the rally by welcoming everyone to the unceeded Coast Salish territory and sang a ceremonial song that had everyone swaying with the beat.
Luciano Sanchez, an organizer with the Global Justice and Peace Committee of the Hospital Employees Union (HEU) and MAWO supporter, was the first speaker of the day and elaborated on the HEU living wage campaign. Luciano also emphasized on the fact that the Canadian government is spending enormous amounts of money on their wars abroad while neglecting the wars and struggles that everyday people face here at home.
Next was MAWO Co-Chair and Executive Committee member Alison Bodine, speaking out in solidarity with the rally via cell phone from her residence in the United States. Alison Bodine was politically targeted and arrested by the Canadian Border Services Agency in September of 2007 and is currently facing a two year ban from Canada. Alison elaborated on the ban imposed against her and also spoke about the Pastors For Peace Caravan and its reconstruction campaign in Cuba after the destruction that was left behind by the three hurricanes. (For more information on her case please visit: www.alisonbodine.blogspot.com ).
The coordinator of the Free the Cuban 5 Committee – Vancouver, Noah Fine, came to present the case of the Five Cuban Heroes held in U.S jails, exposing the hypocrisy of the US war on terror while US jails hold five heroes for defending their people and country. Noah also emphasized on the fact that there has been no opportunity for a fair trial for any of the five Cuban men.
Kerri Goodwin, an Indigenous activist and MAWO Executive Committee member was next and shared from her personal experiences about the war at home and the injustices that Indigenous people across Canada face every day. Kerri tied the struggle and attacks that the people in Iraq and Afghanistan face every day to those that Indigenous people face in Canada.
Thomas Davies, Editorial Board member of the Fire This Time newspaper, was the last speaker before the resolution of the rally was delivered. He drew a comparison between the war in Vietnam and the wars abroad today, which is that same lies which were used during the Vietnam War are the same lies that are being used by imperialist governments today to occupy third world countries. Thomas emphasized that the occupations can’t continue for one more day; that too many innocent lives have been lost in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
The rally came to a loud, powerful and energetic close when Meaghan Griffith, an organizer with MAWO and high school student delivered the resolution of the rally. The cheers and chants of “Canada/NATO Out of Afghanistan! US/UK out of Iraq! Don’t Attack Iran,” could be heard all throughout the streets, bringing in passer-bys to join in for the final moments, to participate with peace loving people to demand an end to this new era of war and occupation.