This was the appeal to all the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) members to stand up against USA unilateral actions against Iraq.
The opposition against a new war in Iraq is growing and the 15th of February was marked by demonstrations in all European capitals and around the world. Many of our member organisations were present on this day for this action.
The planned war against Iraq is threatening to destabilise the whole region and trigger a humanitarian and ecological catastrophe in an already volatile region. We are in a situation were the USA unilaterally or in alliance with European countries may decide to intervene in Iraq without putting forward the proper information on the true intentions for the war. The reasons may be various, ranging from terrorism to oil but the truth is that we are left in the dark. We are not informed of the full scale of the Bush administration’s visions for the region. This alone is a strong enough reason to oppose the war. Any intervention must be based on international law and a broad political base not solely on the determination of the USA.
We say no in the name of international law and peace. Therefore we call for an extension of the mandate for the UN weapons inspectors so that they are given adequate time and resources for a thorough completion of their mission.
Diplomatic solution must be used in an attempt to de-escalate the rhetoric and defuse the conflict, as the recent Franco-German proposals.
The Security Council must look at other options to war for holding Saddam Hussein to account for his disregard for human rights and international cooperation and a potential failure to comply with Resolution 1441. These include the use of “smart sanctions” targeted at the governmental elite.’
Economic sanctions should be lifted because of their perverse consequences for the Iraqi people and their obvious ineffectiveness in achieving the goals they were set up to reach.
Alexandra Supper from Gaj Wien, Austria had sent a translation of their statement. This is an excerpt. If you want the whole translated statement, write to me. The original can be found on www.gajwien.at: The very first impression of yesterday’s demonstration: a German flag. Second impression: an accumulation of Palestinian and Iraqi flags. Then the speeches start. Anti-american phrases, moral indignation, rhetorical elevation of the “new peace movement”; but no political analyses. Instead, a strong dash of conspiracy theory (Israel -> USA -> oil -> world domination). Not quite uncontradicted, but certainly dominating is a view that makes the enemies of our enemy (the USA) our friends. For example, the Green city councillor Susanne Jerusalem said that while “Saddam Hussein is an evil dictator”, the bigger threat for “world peace” was currently Bush.
Markus Petz wrote that in Hyde Park, the feeling in the protest was more of humanity coming together, a United Nations of ordinary people (Jews against Zionism, Archaeologists Against War and Grannies too, showing the range of people involved). I personally saw many national flags (Welsh, Irish, English, Scottish, but also Brazilian, Swedish, Palestinian, Iraqi, Lebanese) although I saw no Union Flags (UK) and no Stars and Stripes (USA). Elsewhere Basque flags (seen at the gathering of the clans in Glasgow) and other nations who we share a grouping with in Europe under the Banner of the European Free Alliance were no doubt fluttering. As for who was on the march, I talked with Iraqis, Afghanis, Italians, Pakistanis, French, Welsh, Irish, but no English 🙂 and it was all summed up by the placard carried before a samba band – no borders, no nations no problems. Admittedly 1 in 20 inhabitants in London is an asylum seeker or a refugee and many many more would be unable to trace a pedigree of London origins back to exclusively Grandpar ents, but nevertheless there was a comminality which we all shared despite recognizing our national variety.
We are peoples, but not nationalistic nations. This was paralleled by our speakers, whereby those from Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America spoke. And what did we call for in common? Stop the War.
Tamsin Lyons reported that Irish participation in the demonstration was excellent: Irish wishes for neutrality were reaffirmed on Saturday when over 150,000 protestors took to the streets in Dublin and towns all over Ireland. It was the biggest demonstration in Dublin since tax marches in the 1970s and saw the longest street in the capital entirely filled with people, banners and great atmosphere! The Greens joined other opposition political parties,community groups, schools, musicians, writers and even a group of ‘pets for peace’. For most people this was their first time at a protest and they came along with their families and plenty of home made banners. Hopefully we made the government wake-up to true Irish feeling on this unjust war.