Racist bigots with the "Tea Party Movement" aren’t the only ones in the streets, as we proved March 18th – March 21st with coast to coast protests against the wars and torture the U.S. is still carrying out.
What has this war meant for the people of Iraq? Despite 7 years of "shock & awe" for the people of Iraq, their nightmare of US invasion is not over… 7 years of bombs and home-raids, repeated massacres of whole families.
One of the speakers at the protest in Chicago was Fatma Hindi, a former professor of journalism at the University of Baghdad and now an Iraqi refugee working with the Refugee Center for Hope in Chicago:
"I have not [got anything] to say because I want to scream, because I want to cry," said Hindi, whose sister’s family in Iraq was killed in an explosion two weeks ago and who was herself both kidnapped and raped before finding a safe haven in Chicago. "I want to thank you so much because you are here with me now."
The war and occupation of Afghanistan was never justified & must end also. ONLY the people can do this; only through mass visible protest, not hemmed in to official politics can we bring these horrors to a halt. In doing so, we give heart to the people of Iraq & Afghanistan and all over the world. These wars are being carried out in our names and it is our responsibility to stop them.
Report from the ground in DC by Debra Sweet
Some people from Toledo, OH put up a huge display memorializing the 5,400 soldiers killed, as well as the million+ in Iraq. There’s a class of Cal State students here with their professor. They’re coming from different backgrounds and different majors: women’s studies, art, film… we sat down and talked about John Yoo and what’s behind the protest of him tomorrow night. They wanted to know – what does it take to put together a movement like this?
There was a press conference today – the AP and Washington Post came out. A reporter asked us if it’s harder to stage a protest movement against Democratic presidents. We all know the movement isn’t where it should be. But on the other hand this is the first time when we’re marching across the country in a big way against Obama’s wars.
There are thousands of posters up around the city for the march on Saturday. ANSWER has $9,000 in fines for putting them up but they are fighting this political repression and not accepting it.
What World Can’t Wait is bringing into the mix:
We have to take people back to the basics: this was a preemptive, aggressive, illegitimate war, and we need to end it. We’ve been right all along: this wasn’t a "dumb" war, this was an unjust war – a crime against humanity! We are marching Saturday to take responsibility for the future and to stop the crimes of our government. Look what it’s led to, seven years later.
As for the war in Afghanistan – it is now truly Obama’s war. The current military offensive is the biggest offensive in the history of the war and has led to repeated killings of dozens of civilians. It is being done in our name but is not about saving the people of Afghanistan. The torture state continues – these are crimes. In fact, the situtation is worse under Obama. People are being detained indefinitely, tortured, held in isolation and force fed in the most inhumane ways. Now, denied the right to defend themselves in Bagram prison in Afghanistan.
Then, we went to protest John Yoo at the University of Virginia law school. He was in fine form as usual, telling David Swanson that there was nothing that could stop the President from nuking U.S. cities.
You can read Debra Sweet’s speech here. After the march, several protesters were arrested in front of the White House, including Cindy Sheehan, Elaine Brower, and Matthis Chiroux. They were in jail for more than 48 hours, disrupting Cindy’s ability to lead the Camp Out Now protests on the following days. Read Matthis’ account of why he burned the U.S. flag, and why he doesn’t regret it. Watch the video: