Saturday, March 6, 2010

Amir Amirani: We Are Many--Feb. 15, 2003 global protest against the US War in Iraq--Reverberating Worldwide Soul Cry for Peace

"We Are Many" by film director Amir Amirani

On February 15, 2003, millions of people joined each other on the streets of 800 cities worldwide: the largest anti-war demonstration in history to protest the US/UK invasion of Iraq.

The demonstration (and related protests from January to March of the same year) resulted from the coordination of peace groups joined together in global networks.

Ordinary people (between 6-30 million) around the world included those from the entire range of the political spectrum; the entire range of the religious spectrum (Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics & atheists); all generations; from every socio-economic class. Except for the tiny minority who believed the Bush/Blair justification that the war was about (ultimately non-existent) WMD in Iraq--the majority of people around the world did not want this war just as the majority now do not want the war in Afghanistan, and continued US global military escalation.

Among the people who marched for peace: 3 million in Rome • 750,000 in London • 50,000 in Glasgow, Scotland • Between 100-200,000 in Paris (total of 500,000 in 80 cities in France) •  Between 300-500,000 in Berlin (joined by Germans in 300 cities and towns, including trade unionists and church leaders •  100,000 in Brussels (center of the EU government) •  10,000 in Warsaw • 150,000 in Athens • 80,000 in Lisbon • 60,000 in Oslo • 60,000 in Stockholm & Gothenberg, Sweden • 100,000 in Montreal •  80,000 in Toronto • 40,000 in Vancover (& 67 other Canadian cities) • 300,000 to one million in NYC • 50,000 in LA • 4,000 in Colorado Springs (who withstood violence from police using tear gas, stun guns and batons) • 100-300,000 in Damascus • 10,000 in Beirut • 5,000 in Jordan • 25,000 in Tokyo, followed by another 5,000 the next day (including smaller protests at some of the 100 US military bases located in Japan and Okinawa--used to train troops before deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan • 10,000 in India • 3,000 in Seoul • 20, 000 in Cape Town, South Africa • 200,000 throughout Australia • 10,000 in New Zealand.

Of course, these millions of people did not stop the US and UK invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003.

But their collective soul cry against unnecessary war and ever-increasing military expansion still reverberates.

In the global anti-base and demilitarization movement • In the transnational (US, Japan, global environmentalist) coalition challenging the construction of a US military base that would destroy a coral reef and the home of the critically endangered dugong in Henoko, Okinawa and bring war-training helipads into the nearby pristine Yanbaru Forest • In the Guahan refusal to accept without question a massive military expansion on their island (1/3 of which already covered with US military bases) that would destroy the world's largest mangrove forest and a coral reef •  In the Japanese decision to stop assisting in the refueling of warships to Afghanistan • In the recent Dutch decision to pull out of Afghanistan • In tangerine farmers' and other villagers' protest against the construction of a missile base that would destroy a coral reef at Jeju Island, Korea (a World Heritage site because of its unique biodiversity) •  In Vincenza, Italy (a World Heritage site because of its ancient history and culture) where residents have not ceased protesting against a new US military base • In the School of the Americas Watch coalition that works to heal the wounds of state terror and stop US miliary escalation in Latin America • In a new US coalition (spanning the political spectrum) to stop the Afghanistan war

These are just a few of the examples of people working across our planet now for a culture of positive peace, cooperation, justice, and sustainability. Martin Luther King called those who work to build zones of liberation, peace, and redemption in our world the "dedicated minority."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this gorgeous series of posts, Jean. Eventually justice WILL prevail...and your work in getting these hidden voices of passion and truth out into the open is an immensely important step toward making this happen!