- George W. Bush; A dangerous president (FCN, 02-01-2005)
- Al Jazeera Special Report: Iraq Under Occupation (Al Jazeera)
- Neo-Cons and the Motives of the Iraq War (Minister Louis Farrakhan, 05-03-2004)
NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) – Hundreds gathered in Marcus Garvey Park on the morning of March 19 to begin a day of outrage and protest against the two-year war and occupation of Iraq. While listening to various speakers, some activists discussed the state of resistance against the war in America.
“Here we are in Marcus Garvey Park in the heart of Harlem, U.S.A. early in the morning. We have a huge crowd, which is Black, Latino, White, young and old. We are going to have a march of national significance against the war, coming out of Harlem,” observed Larry Holmes of the International Action Center.
What is happening here in this park will be worthy of some analysis in the coming days, Mr. Holmes opined. “Looking at these beautiful people, I would say the [resistance] movement seems up. I think that Pres. Bush is in trouble. I think the war is in trouble, no matter what the media says,” Mr. Holmes argued. “I think we are on the move,” he added.
Another view of the resistance in this country came from Harlem Democratic Councilman Bill Perkins: “I think we are going to do a lot more in getting our troops home.” He said that more had to be done to get the needed tax revenues directed towards programs for the American people. “It appears as if the movement is losing ground as more and more of our tax dollars are being used for war. At the same time, our families are suffering from a lack of affordable housing, wide disparities in health care and massive unemployment,” Mr. Perkins stressed.
On Mar. 16, Aljazeera.net said in a poll released by ABC News/Washington Post on Mar. 15 that, “Fifty-three percent of Americans surveyed thought the war was not worth fighting, compared to 45 percent who thought it was.” Twenty-eight percent said the war put the U.S. in a “strong position”–down from 52 percent at the height of the war. Forty-four percent thought the war had “improved the chances of democracy in the Middle East.”
“I think people are divided on this war. I think people feel that we must support the troops but, on the other side, we should not be there. One of the tasks for us is that you support the troops by calling for an end to the war,” Attorney Lynne Stewart told The Final Call.
Many of the activists said they were aware of the deliberateness of the media in not reporting the depths of the resistance in America. “The resistance here is being ignored by the U.S. media and the government,” offered Carl Webb, member of the Army National Guard, who refused to deploy to Iraq. They refuse to disclose to the public that at least 6,000 soldiers are officially absent without leave (AWOL), and the government has yet to do anything about it. “I’ve been AWOL for six months, and I haven’t been listed as a deserter. I thought maybe their computer crashed but, as I talked with soldiers in the same situation, we surmised that the government doesn’t know what to do with us, Mr. Webb said.
Another story of resistance that observers said was being ignored by the mass media was the level of student resistance on college campuses. Hadas Thier and two other City College of New York students were arrested two weeks ago as they protested the presence of military recruiters on their campus.
“The anti-war sentiment o our campus is huge; it’s mostly everyone who is against the war,” Ms. Thier said, noting that the media ignored reporting on it. “When they arrested the three of us (there was a group of 20 protesters), it touched off a very deep rooted anger. The administration actually has bitten off more than they can chew; 150 people descended on the administration on our behalf.”
At least 1,000 people have signed petitions on their behalf, thus far. “The resistance is only going to grow,” she said.
Posted on the website of the Center for Civil Society, which is located on the Howard College Campus of the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa: “Two years after the invasion, there is more opposition to the war in the U.S., in the coalition countries, and all over the world than ever before.”
The Gauteng Anti-War Coalition in South Africa said they were expecting a mass march in downtown Johannesburg on March 19. Demonstrations were expected in Iraq, Palestine, Argentina, Brazil, India, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Macedonia, Cyprus, Philippines, Thailand, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Spain, Venezuela, New Zealand and the Netherlands. The Jordan Times reported on March 20 that an Iraqi Christian politician told AFP, “I urge the U.S. Pres. George W. Bush to rethink his plans and leave Iraq to the Iraqis.”
Aljazeera.net reported on March 20 that 400 demonstrators turned out in the streets of Cairo, Egypt. The BBC said thousands turned out in Japan and Australia, with 4,500 in Tokyo to protest the war in Iraq. The BBC also said that the largest crowd in Europe was the 100,000 that marched in London. In Athens, Greece, unions and left-wing groups marched, while 300 turned out in Stockholm, Sweden.
Iraq, Afghanistan: a climate of fear, lawlessness
The armed resistance to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan also continued in the days leading up to the second anniversary of the Iraq war and the day after. On March 20, the BBC reported a gun battle in Baghdad between the Mujhadeen and coalition troops, with six troops injured and 24 “freedom fighters” killed, according to the U.S. military. The BBC also said that earlier that day, a “suicide bomber” killed the head of the Police Anti-Corruption Department in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. And in Baqiba, which is north of Baghdad, at least 13 people were injured during an attack on an Iraqi National Front post. On March 19, at least three Iraqi policemen were killed by a roadside bomb in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
“We continue to see such greed and destruction at the hands of the occupiers in Iraq, in Palestine and in Afghanistan, that it is hard to get the people to put down their arms and go home to their families,” argues Palestinian activist Samia Halaby. During her speech in Central Park, Ms. Halaby said that “all resistance was important” and that people must see the connections to what was taking place in Iraq, Palestine and in Harlem. “We must work better together,” Ms. Halaby stressed.
Two separate landmine blasts rocked western Afghanistan on March 16, the day before U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was to visit the capital city of Kabul, according to the AFP news service. The news service said three U.S. soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan in 2005, and that at least 29 soldiers were killed in combat there in 2004. Pres. Bush attacked the Taliban in November 2001. The U.S.-led coalition has more than 18,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, according to the AFP.
On March 6, Reuters reported the wounding of four policemen and two Taliban fighters during an attack on district headquarters in the Afghanistan city of Kunar. In another incident, Taliban fighters fired five rockets at the district capital in the southern province of Helmand. “People are worried that the attacks have started again,” a school headmaster told Reuters. The story said that Taliban attacks had tailed off over the winter, but added that Taliban fighters had “vowed to step up their attacks in the spring.”
In February, a 288-page report by the United Nations Development Program was critical of the U.S.-led military engagement in Afghanistan, saying it helped produce a climate of “fear, intimidation, terror and lawlessness.” The UNDP report described reconstruction projects sponsored by the U.S. military as “inadequate and dangerous.”
In a radio address on March 19, Pres. Bush defended the war, saying it took place “to disarm a brutal regime, free its people, and defend the world.”