By Elias A. Rashmawi
Vice President, The International Campaign Against US Aggression on Iraq
Member, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition Steering Committee
Free Palestine Alliance - USA
This is an urgent call to ask for your active role in the January 18 national/international mobilization in Washington, DC and San Francisco. On that day, the eyes of the world will be on the United States!
At the eve of the pending obliteration of Iraq, this is the time to show our collective resolve, unity of action, and rejection of war ...
On that day, people across the globe will send a clear message for peace, and hope that the people of the United States are equal to the monumental task of halting war. This is a position we in the US cannot abrogate, a moral duty we must undertake, and an historic responsibility that is primarily ours.
To that end, and to expand the essential efforts of peace, a crucial international conference with more than 400 delegates from around the world was held in Cairo, Egypt, on December 18-19, 2002, to launch an international movement to stop war and support self-determination for the Iraqi and the Palestinian people. The conference adopted the call of the ANSWER Coalition and called for January 18, 2003, as the first international day of action against the war to be anchored on that day in the United States. It also adopted February 15 as the subsequent international day of mobilization to be anchored then in Europe.
A steering committee for the international campaign was established, headed by former president of Algeria, the legendary Ahmed Ben Bella, and two vice presidents, Elias Rashmawi of the ANSWER Coalition and the Free Palestine Alliance in the United States and John Rees of the Stop the War Coalition in Britain. Participants of the conference included delegates from at least 20 countries, many Egyptian parliamentarians and prominent political leaders, activists, writers and artists from around the world. British Member of Parliament George Galloway along with Dr. Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday, the two former United Nations ranking officials who resigned their UN posts in protest of the Iraq sanctions, and former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, were among hundreds of the distinguished conveners.
In the words of President Ben Bella, «the people of the United States hold the primary responsibility of halting their own government's rapid advance to war, and in securing peace in place of destruction.» The 85-year old historic leader of Algerian independence from France, and one of the primary legends of the decolonization era, emphasized that the world expects the people of the United States to once more take a moral and courageous stand as they have before against the devastation of Vietnam.
There is no doubt that January 18 will again enter history. On that day and as we in the US commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Egyptians will remember the very same day in 1977 as they took to the streets across the country reclaiming their nation from the devastation of austerity measures imposed by the IMF. This is also the time when the first destruction on Iraq was unleashed some 12 years ago, killing so far at least 1.5 million Iraqis between the bullets of missiles and the bullets of imposed disease and starvation.
From Egypt to the United States and to every nation around the world, we are resolved to make this coming January 18 a historic day of solidarity and peace. As thousands and thousands prepare to march on Washington and San Francisco, we echo the call of the International Campaign Against US Aggression on Iraq and urge all to join hands so as to link with all those standing for justice globally.
January 18 may well be our last national/international unified stand before destruction is unleashed, since the Bush Administration has indicated January 28 as the day of decision.
Peace and justice are nonetheless viable, but only if we take a stand!
This is a duty the rests squarely on the shoulders of the people of the United States ... and history will certainly record this stand for generations to come.
Even in the United States itself, war has significantly escalated against the people of the Middle East. In a prelude to prison camps that evoke the memory of the internment of Japanese-Americans, and as a test case to widespread wholesale arrests, the US has begun a hateful and racist policy of selective «registration» and mass detention of men based on their ethnic background alone. This manifestation of the self-serving «war on terror» is indeed terrorizing entire communities throughout. It is a policy that is yanking away bothers, sons, fathers, and husbands from their families for no other reason but their national origin. Holding criminal an entire people is well under way in the United States. It is being normalized and set into law.
But there is more. The campaign of destruction on Palestine has also escalated with active US diplomatic, political, financial, and military support and participation. With an attack on Iraq, Israel will undoubtedly carry out its planned mass expulsion; wholesale destruction of towns and refugee camps; and a higher rate of individual and collective assassinations. Unless challenged globally, Palestinian mass transfer is imminent. Palestine, a primary hurdle to global domination is indeed in the crosshairs of imperial designs.
An Empire has emerged! It is waging a global war to redefine the boundaries of nation-states, appropriate wealth and resources, install governments, and re-shape policies throughout. It was Afghanistan some months ago. It is Iraq today. There are Korea, Columbia, the Philippines, and Palestine. The examples are too many -- Yet, who is next and where?
With every step of imposed destruction, our world is brought closer to a global disaster and the people of the US are pitted against the international community.
A collective answer to the drumbeat of war is a must -- we no longer have a choice, or the luxury of time!
Busses, carpools, and delegations in the thousands are being organized for Washington and San Francisco at hundreds of organizing centers nationwide from coast to coast. The movement in its entirety is united. Join, as we collectively make history and take a step for justice and peace!
Information on how to help and be part of this historic march can be found on the ANSWER website: http://www.internationalanswer.org. Visit today and organize!
Time is of the essence!
For your immediate reference, I have also attached below a copy of the Cairo Declaration for your review and consideration. I urge your immediate support. To indicate your endorsement of the Declaration, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
In solidarity, Elias A. Rashmawi
THE CAIRO DECLARATION
Against U.S. Hegemony and War on Iraq and In Solidarity with Palestine
We, the participants reaffirm our resolve to stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq and Palestine, recognizing that war and aggression against them is but part of a U.S. project of global domination and subjugation. Solidarity with Iraq and Palestine is integral to the internationalist struggle against neo-liberal globalization. The Cairo meeting is not an isolated event, but an extension of a protracted international struggle against imperialism, from Seattle and Genoa to Lisbon and Florence, to Cordoba and Cairo.
The U.S. provides unlimited support, and even justification, to the Zionist perpetrators of genocidal crimes against the Palestinian people. The suffering of the Iraqi people under a regime of genocidal sanctions lasting over a decade, and the aggressive militarism which they face today is but a logical outcome of the structures of power asymmetry of the existing world order:
Attention to this global context helps explain current world developments:
The suffering of the Arab people and U.S. unwavering support of the system of apartheid imposed on the Palestinian people, will undoubtedly fuel conflict and lead to the escalation of violence in one of the most sensitive areas of the world. Such danger can easily extend to neighboring Europe, Asia and Africa. Continued preparation for war on Iraq in spite of its acceptance of a UN resolution of aggressive inspection of its armament, as well as civilian industries, signals a predetermined intent to control the Arab region, its oil and indeed the entire world supply of oil.
The Cairo conference against war on Iraq and in solidarity with Palestine represents the launching of an international popular movement that creates effective mechanisms for confronting policies of aggression. The participation of international activists who are prominent for their struggles for Human Dignity, Rights and Justice, as well as intellectuals, authors, unionists, human rights workers, journalists and artists- from Egypt and the rest of the Arab World, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the United States- will no doubt accelerate this noble endeavor in spite of the numerous obstacles that we have to confront.
Email circulated by: A.N.S.W.E.R.
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