Americans United Against All Wars on a Day of Peace and Solidarity
Over a thousand of Americans stopped by the Herald Square in New York City on March 13, 2016, where a “Day of Peace and Solidarity” took place, gathering activists from New York, New Jersey, Illinois and other states. People came together to oppose the racial discrimination, sham of elections, government corruption, and the foreign policies of the United States and the American Imperialism as the root cause of all domestic issues and foreign proxy wars. Speakers have also talked against US military operations all over the world and have called for reducing the number of military bases and made demands to US Government to stop interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.
Protesters expressed the lack of trust in the presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose foundation is believed to have a backing of major Transnational Corporations and financial institutions. Some expressed the fears that if Clinton were to become the President of the United States, she might essentially work on policies for the benefit of those corporations that donated money for her campaign and will disregard the needs of an average American that wants to live in peace, have access to affordable medical care, have a job and earn fair wages for his work. Some of the banners stated “Hillary Clinton – WALL st Candidate!”, hinting that Hillary Clinton is the candidate of the “Fat Cats of Wall Street” that correspond to the 1% of “rich and powerful” who don’t listen to the needs of 99% of US population. Since one of the main benefactors of Clinton’s presidential campaign is the Military Industrial Complex, activists expressed no hopes for the World Peace in case she gets elected. Some held the signs: “Stop Hillary! Save Democracy!” and “Stop Corruption! Stop Hillary!”
Quite a few of protesters had hard feelings against the latest foreign policies and killer drones used by the current U.S. President Barack Obama, raising the banners stating: “Stop Obama and U.S. Imperialism”, “Obama: From Nobel Peace Prize to Hague Tribunal”, “White House, Congress: Stop Funding Right-Wing Terror Worldwide”, “Obama, Erdogan, Saudi Royals – Sponsors of Global Terrorism”, “Time for Regime Change in U.S. & Turkey!”, “Obama, Shubin, when will you take care of our National Debt???”, “U.S. Aggression – Greatest Source of World Problems”, “NO to U.S. Meddling in the Internal Affairs of Foreign Nations”, “War Crimes Must Be Stopped No Matter Who Does Them”, “Stop Bombing Donetsk & U.S.-NATO: Out of Ukraine!”, and many others.
Domestic issues, including the lack of decent jobs, racial discrimination and profiling, police militarization and men-made environmental disasters, were also brought up by various community speakers, with the following banners being raised: “Money for Jobs and People’s Needs, not War!”, “Money for Jobs, Schools & Healthcare, Not War in Syria”, “From Mindanao to NYC, Stop the Militarization of Our Communities!”, “Rebuild Flint! Rebuild our Cities! End the wars!”, “Defend the Black Lives Matter movement”, and others. The slogans were shouted: “Money for jobs and education – not for wars and occupation!”
In an eye-opening conversation after his speech on stage, Syrian-American doctor Khaldoun Makhoul, M.D., who lived in the U.S. for almost 20 years, shared what brought him now to this protest: “We came to stand for Syria. We’ve been standing for Syria for the last five years, and it hurts us when we see what’s happening in Syria. Nobody believed, before this happened, that our friends and our family would be getting killed, and all the countries are giving wrong information, and that has been happening and is happening even now. Two weeks ago, before they agreed to a cease-fire, US announced that Russia bombed a hospital in Syria by mistake. It wasn’t accurate. This hospital had no patients in it. It was evacuated five years ago, in the beginning of the war, when it was first used by the Free Syrian Army. After that, it was used by al-Nusra Front, and then ISIS took it over. And that’s when they (Russians) bombed it. There was accumulation of ISIS leaders in that hospital. I am from Aleppo. I was studying (to become a doctor) in Aleppo. That hospital was the biggest hospital in Asia, not just Aleppo. It was built to treat 5500 patients from cancer, and they (ISIS) destroyed it before they (Russians) bombed it. ISIS used this area as a cover, and so they got bombed. Was it a hospital bombing? No! That’s a bombing of the terrorist groups that were inside. There were no patients there.”
When asked about whether the last presidential elections in Syria were democratic ones, “I can tell you: yes! First of all, it wasn’t just a Syrian government who monitored it. Sara Flounders, one of the coordinators here, was there. She and five other Americans were there as a group. There was another group from Europe and a group from Asia there, monitoring the elections.”
When asked if people really did like Assad as their president, he responded: “Exactly! That’s why we’re here. I don’t know President Assad personally. I wasn’t there when he took over, but I went to Syria every year two or three times before the war had started. Now, for the last four years, I didn’t. Last time I was there in the August of 2011, and the country was changed completely. Why wouldn’t they like him? He opened the country, improved the country. He improved everything. Why would they stand against him? There were three candidates, and he took 89% (of all votes). And most importantly, I would say, look at Syrians in Lebanon: they’re refugees. The people who seek the refugee status there – they are the families of terrorists themselves, so they should have voted against Bashar al-Assad. That’s why they kept the Syrian Embassy in the Lebanon opened. There were seven thousands of Syrian voters in Lebanon, and they voted for Bashar Assad, and there was no Syrian Army, no Secret Service, nobody. Here (in U.S.) they closed our consulate to not let us vote. It’s a clear indication! And that’s why Syrian government and President Assad have said it many times: they’re willing to have an election again, and again, and again – because they know that he’s going to get it.”
At last, Les Jamieson (H.Res.14, and the “Truth about September 11” organization) spoke of the government transparency and the need to release the classified information on those who funded 9/11 to the public. He claimed that politicians who have read all 28 pages of the classified information on 9/11 funding, have all stated that they should not jeopardize the National Security, and yet, the President Bush classified those pages, claiming that they would. They (politicians) say it’s false, and that those 28 pages contain information about the covert criminal Saudi-Bush dynasty relationship. There’re now 41 co-sponsors of the H.R.14 legislation to de-classify these pages.
He further stated: “In August of 2003, 46 Senators sent a letter to George W. Bush, demanding the release of these 28 pages because this was an issue of basic transparency, which is required for functional democracy. Guess who was on that list? The current Secretary of State John Kerry, who have known of the 28 pages release, and the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton! She knows about this evidence of who have funded the 9/11! Also, who else would be implicated, would be other Middle Eastern countries (this is all according to those politicians), and, I quote, serving U.S. Agencies. Hello? This is critical information!”
Les then asked those who agreed with him to go to his FR14.org site and sign RootsAction.org petition to send the letter to the legislators, calling for transparency. He finished his speech with a quote from the Karl Rove, Chief Bush political adviser, which caused even more uproar among listeners: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” Someone responded angrily: “Put them in jail!” Les then closed: “That’s the attitude, folks! So, power to the people, right? Help expose the Truth. Help to stop the cover-up of 9/11!”
The following widely known speakers also participated in the event: Albert Marder (U.S. Peace Council), Lynne Stewart (People’s Lawyer, former Political Prisoner), Lawrence Hamm, Kathy Kelly (Voices for Creative Nonviolence), Margaret Kimberly (from Black Agenda Report), Khaldoun Makhoul (SAWA Syrian American Will Association), and others.
The rally was organized by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) and the International Action Committee (IAC). Manhattan Greens have also participated on behalf of their presidential candidate from the Green Party Jill Stein – the only presidential candidate who promised to end infinite wars and US military expeditions all over the world. The event was supported by a donor who sponsored pizza for all the participants. At the end of the event protestors marched together to the U.N. Headquarters to demand for attention for before-mentioned issues from the international community. The crowd was entertained by the Peace Poets, opening the event at Herald Square, and by Raging Grannies, closing the event after the march to the U.N.’s Dag Hammarskjöld plaza.
The Day of Peace and Solidarity was also supported by David Swanson (WarIsACrime.org) and endorsed by the following organizations: Action 21, AlAwda Palestine Right to Return Coalition, BAYAN USA, Chapter 21-NJ, Haiti Support Network, International League of People Struggle, Islamic Leadership Council of NY, Jersey City Peace Movement, LaRouchePAC, OccupyRUs.org, Pakistan/USA Freedom Forum, Party of Communists USA, Peoples Organization for Progress, Peoples Power Assembly, RootsAction.org, Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Socialist Action, Solidarity with Iran, South Asian Fund for Education and Training, Syrian American Forum, US Peace Council, Veterans for Peace, Workers World party, World Beyond War, World Can’t Wait, and others.
This event followed another successful event organized by UNAC members in New York City on December 20, 2015 called “No to Racism, No to Trump”, which was attended by over 500 people demanding for respect and protection of minorities and people of color. Just this last Friday, on March 11, 2016, over 5000 people gathered outside and inside the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, IL to protest against Donald Trump’s rally in Chicago. As a result, Trump’s appearance in Chicago was cancelled, showing just how much power American people still have over politicians, no matter how rich and powerful they are! Activists also cheered Chicagoans for standing up for their beliefs and asked New Yorkers to do the same.
March 15, 2016.