CLICK ON PHOTO FOR LARGER VERSION
December 18 MAWO Picket Action Report
"Over 100 Canadian Soldiers Dead...For What?"
"Tens of Thousands of Afghans Killed...For What?"
CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW!
On December 18th dozens of social justice activists braved below freezing winter conditions to picket against the ongoing Canada/NATO war and occupation of Afghanistan. This was Mobilization Against War & Occupation's (MAWO) 49th picket at the Canadian Armed Forces recruitment centre, and was held in response to the news that Canadian soldier casualties in Afghanistan have broken the 100 mark.
The death toll for Canadian troops is now up to 103, and these 103 soldiers are only a fraction compared to the uncounted tens of thousands of Afghans who have been killed since the occupation began seven years ago.
MAWO co-chair Janine Solanki opened the picket by announcing that 15, 000 people have now signed on to MAWO's petition calling for an end to the Canada/NATO war in Afghanistan. The announcement warmed up the crowd as they headed to the streets for the first round of picketing. Chants of "TROOPS HOME NOW!" and "CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW!" rang through the icy streets of New Westminster.
This was the second picket at the new New Westminster recruitment centre location, and picketers were again greeted with near constant honking by passing traffic in response to the large sign saying, "HONK FOR CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN!"
When picketers came together again, Janine introduced the first speaker of the day, David Whittlesey. David, a civil rights activist and an organizer during the anti-Vietnam war era, connected the war in Vietnam to the present day war in Afghanistan.
Janine then introduced Thomas Davies, an editorial board member of the Fire This Time newspaper. Thomas connected Canada's wars at home and abroad, asking why people freeze to death on city streets in Canada while the government of Canada spends money that could be going to housing and social programs in Canada on a brutal military occupation of Afghanistan.
The protesters raised their voices for one more round of picketing through the streets before Janine welcomed the final speaker. Nita Palmer, an executive committee member of MAWO, spoke last and called for peace-loving people all around the world to stand together with people in Afghanistan to demand and end to the criminal occupation of Afghanistan. Nita encouraged everyone to come back to picket the recruitment centre in January for the MAWO's 50th picket action against the Canadian/NATO occupation of Afghanistan, and for every MAWO picket action that will continue until the occupation of Afghanistan is ended. The picket finished off with loud chants of:
CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW!
NATO OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW!
NO MORE LIVES FOR CANADA'S WAR DRIVE!
The 50th MAWO picket action will be Thursday, January 29 at 3:00pm and the Canadian Forces Recruitment Centre (620 Royal Ave, near Douglas College in New Westminster).
December 18 MAWO Statement
Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)
Canada/NATO out of Afghanistan Picket Statement
December 18, 2008
Today we are picketing the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Centre for the 49th time, as youth, elders, students, workers, and peace loving people who have united to demand "Canada/NATO out of Afghanistan NOW!"
Over 100 Canadian Soldiers killed...for What?
On Friday December 5th, news headlines broke that the death toll of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan hit the 100 mark, after a roadside bomb killed three Canadian soldiers in Kandahar. Just eight days later, three more Canadian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Kandahar, bringing the Canadian death toll in Afghanistan to 104, including one diplomat. This is six soldiers dead in just nine days, making December the month with the most deaths of Canadian soldiers in 2008.
The war in Afghanistan is question on the minds of many people across Canada, with 56% of people in Canada opposed to the war in Afghanistan. Even the family members of these soldiers are speaking up against the war.
When asked if he had a message for politicians following his son's death, the father of one of the recently killed soldiers, Private Demetrios Diplaros, said that the government of Canada could spend 'millions or billions or trillions to help other countries instead of killing each other.'
Tens of Thousands of Afghan people Killed...for What?
According to various media and independent sources, since 2001 more than 40,000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan, as well as over 100,000 seriously injured. As Canada's war drive continues in full force, we can expect that these deaths will continue. Even the head of Canada's military in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Michel Gauthier, said on Tuesday that he expects to see an escalation in violence in Afghanistan over the next year.
As peace loving people, we don't want to see billions of taxpayer dollars poured into a criminal war in Afghanistan. We want to see that money go towards grossly under funded social services, healthcare, and education as well as improving the lives of poor and working people in Canada.
At this picket we are joining in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan to demand an end to this brutality and criminality of war and occupation. We are be representing the over 15,000 people in the lower mainland who have signed the 'Canada Out of Afghanistan' petition. We are here today and will continue to protest to demand:
Canada/NATO Out of Afghanistan Now!
No More Lives for Canada's War Drive!