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Event Reports
February 5th, 2013

Free Public Forum

Who's Behind the Civil War in Syria?

Organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)

Over the past 22 months mass media reports that 60,000 people have been killed in Syria and over 600,000 people have left Syria as refugees as a brutal civil war rages on. But, what isn't being discussed in all of the news reports is the most important question for peace-loving people all over the world “Who's Behind the Civil War in Syria?”

This question was the title of a public forum organized by Vancouver's peace coalition Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) on Tuesday, February 5th. Over 50 people gathered at Joe's Cafe to debate and discuss not only this question but also to talk about what people in Canada can do to build an anti-war movement against the human devastation and destruction being forced upon Syrian people.

The featured speaker of the evening was Nita Palmer, author of “War and Occupation in Afghanistan” (Battle of Ideas Press). Nita has written extensively on Middle East politics and is a member of the Editorial Board of the Fire This Time Newspaper. Following 45 minutes of new clips about Syria, Nita began:

“If you've read any recent headlines about Syria you will have heard that the country has descended into civil war as the government of President Bashar Al-Assad brutally cracks down on people demanding democracy and human rights. It's a wonderful story of good vs. evil, of the oppressed rising up to overcome their oppressor. But, it has one major flaw: it's completely untrue.”

Nita continued to outline the nearly two years of increasing foreign intervention, sanctions and covert attacks against Syria, exposing the lies of major media and imperialist governments all around the world. She presented reports of the foreign backing of the so-called rebels and “Free Syrian Army” as well as the recent installation of U.S. patriot missile systems along the Turkish border with Syria. Most importantly she explained just what the real agenda of the U.S. government and their allies, including Canada, is for Syria and the Middle East; the overthrow of the President of Syria Bashar Al-Assad who's government has a foreign policy independent of the dictates of the U.S. government and imperialism as well more death, destruction and chaos for the people of Syria. She concluded, “If there is to be peace in Syria all foreign intervention must end immediately. Here we have to remember that part of the solution is us, people in Canada, people in the United States, people in countries outside of Syria. It is our responsibility to educate people and to organize against war in Syria, against sanctions and against attacks by proxy that are going on there.”

The forum went on to a lively discussion and debate where participants in the forum spoke about especially the complete hypocrisy of colonial governments given the recent atrocities committed by the U.S., Canada, NATO and other imperialist countries in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Many also expressed frustration and anger with the mass media and the lies that they tell to justify and propagate attacks on Syria and people in oppressed countries all around the world.

By the end of the forum it was clear just who is behind the civil war in Syria – the U.S. government and their allies aiming for the overthrow of independent governments in North Africa and the Middle East. Following the debate in the forum, Nita also cautioned that “It is really important that we as activists, as peace-loving people really research and understand the truth ourselves...look critically at whatever piece of media from whatever source to find out and really look at the interests behind it.”

To close the forum, MC MAWO Co-chair Alison Bodine invited everyone to get involved in MAWO through organizing meetings and upcoming events, including MAWO's monthly antiwar rallies and petition campaigns as well as the 10th International Film Festival for Peace being held March 16-18, 2013 at Britannia Community Centre.

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