Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

With only 1,000 People on March Stop the War Coalition Faces Crisis.

with 10 comments

Syrian Kurds take cover from rain in Suruc after crossing border between Syria and Turkey 30 Sept 2014

Back the Kurds!

Russia Today reports,

Hundreds of activists rallied against Britain’s involvement in airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria on Saturday. Protesters marched through central London holding banners and chanting anti-war slogans.

Demonstrators chanted “Hands off the Middle East, No justice, No peace,” which marching toward Prime Minister David Cameron’s Downing Street office, where the rally was planned to end.

That is,

Up to 1,000 people participated in the protest, despite pouring rain. Many shared their demonstration experiences on social media.

Others state that up to 2,000 took part.

On the 19th of June the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) noted,

Saturday 19 July will long be remembered as the day many tens of thousands of protesters from all over Britain marched in London to call for Israel’s bombing and killing to stop, and an end to the siege in Gaza and Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

The huge turnout marched from outside prime minister David Cameron’s residence in Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington. The placards said “Gaza: Stop the Massacre”, “Stop Israel’s War Crimes”, “Freedom for Palestine”, “End Israeli Apartheid”.

So packed was the crowd in the sweltering heat that more than 20 people fainted.

Few would consider that the Saturday rain explains the catastrophic  decline in numbers attending the StWC march.

 It is obvious that something has happened between June and October.

That something is called Isis/Islamic State.

At the time of the Israeli army assault on Gaza, an attack that was murderous, with between 2,127 and 2,168 Gazans killed (including 495–578 children) no words were too harsh to describe the action.

Ewa Jasiewicz said in August, backing calls for “to stop Israeli impunity and apartheid”.

It’s clear that we can’t just tweet in the face of genocide and that marching from A to B in the face of massacre and ethnic cleansing is not enough.

 Jasiewicz, may be a controversial figure – one of her activities (in 2010)  had been the following,

Yesterday, Israeli and Polish activists met in the ruins of Warsaw’s old Jewish Ghetto.

The activists sprayed ‘Liberate All Ghettos’ in Hebrew, followed by ‘Free Gaza and Palestine’ in English on a wall of an original block in the ghetto. The block is across the street from the last fragment of the remaining perimeter wall of the Ghetto. They also hung Palestinian flags from the wall.

Some might say that trying to appropriate the memory of the Warsaw ghetto is ‘controversy’ incarnate.

But the fury about Gaza was real and widely shared.

Why, in August, was there not the same anger about the very real genocide taking place in Iraq and Syria?

The information was there.

The renowned Canon Andrew White, a person whose goodness is enough to make you weep, amongst the most beloved of all, was broadcasting details from Baghdad.

In his concern for the lives of those threatened with genocide he has not  stinted at linking his posts to all those,  the left as well, covering the unrolling events – including this very site.

We all know how this became the major story it is.

We all know that the US-led bombing has started.

Perhaps the Stop the War Coalition  might reflect that stopping the bombing is not a major concern for those concerned by the killings carried out by Isis and Islamic State.

Many are simply tired of the same old song: “blame it all on the USA”.

For others,  a moral revolution has taken place, from playing that game people want to back the Kurds.

It is to the credit of the StWC that they allowed on Kurdish speaker,Memed Aksoy, at their rally to say just that.

But in general the STWC remains on the sidelines of this issue.

Instead one of their supporters, Owen Jones, writes in the Guardian of the fear of Isis/Islamic State,

We grow more terrified of it; we express our terror, and so help to spread it. Western media compete over inflammatory language to express the evil of Isis, and add to its almost otherworldly, terrifying mystique – a mystique Isis has depended on to conquer large swaths of Iraq and Syria, because its opponents are left too frightened to resist. Stills of its videos are plastered on front pages, and vicious anti-Muslim diatribes are posted on Twitter – which must delight Isis: the more hatred of Muslims ratchets up, the better chance it has of winning support.

….

The fact is, we are playing the part Isis has written for us in an even more profound way. “We must do something” has too often proved to be the cry of a man pouring a can of petrol over a burning home. Isis knows that, which is why it is doing everything it can to incite western intervention. “Is this all you are capable of doing in this campaign of yours?” mocks the spokesperson Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. “Are America and all its allies unable to come down to the ground?”

The words, “almost otherworldly” “terrifying mystique, “a mystique” (repeated) – could have been written by Richard Seymour.

I put it no lower.

So those who want to oppose Isis, what can they do to avoid the path that Owen calls, “Isis’s script”?

Owen’s conclusion after this self-indulgent cri de coeur?

It is….we “must do something“:

Murderous Shia militias must be dismantled. Kurdish peshmerga must, undoubtedly, be properly armed. The western-backed dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar must be compelled to crack down on the funding networks that are helping to sustain Isis and other terrorists. As General Jonathan Shaw says, these western client states must stop exporting the Wahhabi/Salafist ideology that underpins jihadi terrorists everywhere. Economic sanctions – and certainly arms embargoes – must result from non-compliance. External military intervention in Iraq and Syria must be led by regional powers, not by western forces as Isis craves.

But…….

The StWC remains silent on the desperate plight of Kobane.

Those who may conquer it, Isis are genociders.

Their regime of ‘discipline and punish’, put in place in Iraq (Islamic State) and Syria,  is aimed at the extermination of all who refuse to accept their religious orthodoxy and  tyranny over all who submit. 

They are the  real business not a “mystique”.

So what do we have to “be done”?”

The Kurds want bombing to save Kobane. (1) 

Who is Owen to deny them that?

We will have the real ethical debate when the US tries to take on Assad.

There is a division between those who back measures to remove Isis/Islamic state, an urgent imperative, and those who believe there is a  further moral obligation to remove the Baathists from Syria.

Those who argue for that appear to have lost all sight of the consequences of such moves in a region where Isis are  not the only armed Islamic reactionaries. …..

Update: 

Owen Jones says -in response to this Blog post – that it misrepresents him.

I’ve called for the arming of the Kurds. My line is the same as Peter Tatchell who you’ve applauded below, so why you are attacking me is frankly beyond me.

We wait the SRWC to follow.

(1) See Facebook Page for links on this.

The Middle Eastern Feminist writes,

Friends/hevals, a large number of you are asking “how can we help Kobane?” I have compiled a list of things that you can do to help:

1- Be informed and keep up with the news. We do not recommend any of the Western sources as they are lagging in information release, and do not have the finer details. I recommend the following news sources:

http://en.firatajans.com/
http://pydrojava.net/eng/
http://en.xeber24.net/

2- The following Facebook pages are up to date on Kobane and post regularly:

https://www.facebook.com/rojavabreaking
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kurdish-Resistance-Liberation/1480960568841619

3- If you are on Twitter I recommend a number of people who are informed and produce up to date, and often live news:

https://twitter.com/DefenseUnitsYPJ
https://twitter.com/DefenseUnits
https://twitter.com/ColdKurd
https://twitter.com/geehall1
https://twitter.com/reband_kurd
https://twitter.com/AJANSAMED
https://twitter.com/ArjDnn
https://twitter.com/MEasternfeminst (my own twitter)

Additionally, if some of us have some cash to spare I recommend this aid organization only. They are the official regional wide Kurdish organization operating in Europe. Their reach goes into all four Kurdish provinces including support for the people of Kobane:

http://www.heyvasor.com/en/alikari/

The most important thing is that you help us to highlight what is happening in Kobane. Please speak! Share information. Support the aid organization if you can spare some money. To speak is to resist! To speak is to be visible. To speak is to exist! and existing right now for the Kurds is resistance and a revolutionary act. Please stand with us in speaking about Kobane as much as you can.

Finally, learn about who the Kurds are. Learn about their plight and why they are in this situation. Learn about the genocide of the town of Halabja that was the target of Chemical attacks (my own family escaped being killed in Halabja by just an hour or so). Learn about the Anfal campaign against the Kurds. Learn about the oppressive nature of the regimes (Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria) in which the Kurds have been divided in, and the violent assimilation and ethnic cleansing policies of these regimes towards the Kurds, which has produced resistance movements such as the PKK. It would also be an immense help and of respect if you start recognizing, speaking and voicing the names of the different parts of Kurdistan and use the Kurdish names for the Kurdish cantons and provinces:

1-Rojava (Kurdish word for Sun-set is located in Syria, and is known as Western Kurdistan). This is where Kobane is located.

2- Roj-halat (Kurdish word for sun-rise is the Kurdish canton in Iran, and is known as Eastern Kurdistan)

3-Basur (pronounced ba-sh-ur, is the Kurdish word for South and is south of Kurdistan in northern Iraq). This is where I am from.

4-Bakur (is the Kurdish word for north and is northern Kurdistan in Turkey)

Thank you friends and feminists for standing in solidarity with us

Written by Andrew Coates

October 6, 2014 at 11:29 am

10 Responses

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  1. As news of the Black Flag of Isis flown in Kobane Kurds took to protests all over the world.

    Andrew Coates

    October 6, 2014 at 5:35 pm

  2. I’m beginning to lose the drift, Andrew. Bombing will not stop the advance of Isis. The US have flown hundreds of sorties and still they advance. Some of these sorties have killed civilians. In northern Iraq Isis control territory the size of Great Britain, but there are perhaps 20,000 fighters in total. They have few identifiable bases. Recent reports suggest they are adapting their tactics to evade bombing (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2776899/RAF-Tornados-destroy-two-Islamic-State-targets-airstrikes-continue-support-Kurdish-Iraqi-forces.html). This is why the newspapers today are full of talk about the need to escalate and put in ground troops. All this in spite of the US giving $42 billion in the last three years to the Iraqi army which increasingly played a sectarian role against the Sunni community. Material support to the Kurds is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t deal with the full reality as far as Iraq is concerned.

    Mike Phipps

    October 6, 2014 at 7:48 pm

  3. I found a facebook page dedicated to Kobane and one poster wrote (about ten minutes ago) that riots are breaking out all over Turkish Kurdistan. I hope they make the Turks lives hell and really go for it!!!

    Sue R

    October 6, 2014 at 9:32 pm

  4. In an interview on CNN, the Turkish Prime Minister makes any intervention of the Turkish Army conditional on ‘other parties’ doing their bit. He also says that unless there is an agreement to get rid of Assad, the Turks do not want to intervene as even if ISIL is cleared out, another group will arise. Nut of course, he assures teh world, the Turks are noted for their humanatarinism. I wonder if they think they will be able to co-exist with a sharia-run state on their doorstep? What effect would that have within Turkey? What will teh large numbers of Kurds, both refugees and Turkish Kurds do?

    Sue R

    October 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm

  5. […] Source: With only 1,000 People on March Stop the War Coalition Faces Crisis. […]

  6. Red-Green Alliance (Denmark): Left-wing party funds Kurdish group in Syria
    The Local
    3 October 2014

    The Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) on Friday donated over 50,000 kroner directly to Kurdish fighters battling the terrorist group Isis in northern Syria.

    Danish fighter jets will strike Isis targets in Iraq (02 Oct 14)

    Enhedslisten MP Nikolaj Villumsen held a press conference with Saleh Muslim, the leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), in Copenhagen on Friday afternoon in which he presented Muslim with a check for 53,500 kroner ($9,000).

    Villumsen said the donation was needed to help the “desperate situation” faced by civilians in northern Syria.

    “For more than 14 days, [Isis] has carried out a violent attack on the city of Kobahni, which has more than 400,000 Kurdish and Christian residents. Here, the Islamic State has beheaded and killed civilians. Therefore we have taken the untraditional step of donating money to a Syrian party,” Villumsen told DR ahead of the press conference.

    Villumsen said that Enhedslisten would not seek any influence over how PYD chooses to use the money, and that he couldn’t deny that the money might go toward the purchase of weapons.

    The right-wing Danish People’s Party (DF) was critical of the move.

    “Enhedslisten is injecting money into an inflamed environment, where no one can tell friend from foe. It’s like throwing gasoline on the fire,” DF spokesman Søren Espersen told DR.

    Daniella Kuzmanovic, an expert on Turkey who teaches at the University of Copenhagen, said that PYD’s connection to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) makes Enhedslisten’s move a risky one.

    PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by both the EU and the US.

    “As long as PKK is on various terror lists, PYD will remain a problematic partner internationally because of its strong ties to PKK,” Kuzmanovic told Jyllands-Posten, adding that armed factions of the PYD are known to have received military training from the PKK.

    Enhedslisten was the only party to vote against Denmark’s military action in Iraq.

    http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article33207

    Andrew Coates

    October 7, 2014 at 11:04 am

  7. “Statement from Day-Mer Turkish Kurdish Community Centre!
    “Support the resistance of Kobane against ISIS attacks!
    The ISIS mob that have been brought up by imperialist countries are turning Iraq and Syria into a bloodbath. Imperialists wanted to use ISIS to redesign the Middle East for their own goals.
    The ISIS forces have been massacring and displacing the Yazidi minority of the Shengal region of Syria, and are now focusing on the Kurds of Rojava. Situated in northern Syria, Rojava’s predominantly Kurdish population have created a new formation, where they are trying to enable peoples of all faiths and national identities to live together in peace. This example is an expression of how peoples of the Middle East can live freely. However, the ISIS militants are trying to destroy Kobane at the heart of Rojava, while the Kurdish people are waging a life and death struggle to defend their homeland. Therefore, everybody who claimes to be on the side of equality and peace must support Kobane and stand in solidarity with its defenders.
    ISIS aims for another massacre in the region and the imperialists have been watching. Through ISIS attacks they have been expecting to destroy the revolutionary steps taken in Rojava. For this reason, defending Kobane which is under attack today does not only mean to stand against the ISIS barbarism but it also means to defend the democratic future of peoples against the occupation plans of the imperialists and regional reactionary forces.
    Turkish government’s proposed plans to set up a “no fly zone” or a “buffer zone” in the Syrian border, in the name of fighting against ISIS, is a reactionary plan to occupy Rojava under the veil of “humanitarian aid”. AKP government also aims to destroy the Rojava revolution in a neighbouring country so it can impose on the Kurdish people its own rules in the so-called “peace process” in Turkey. Recent attacks on Kurdish schools hint what kind of solution the AKP has on its mind.
    The crocodile tears of Western imperialist countries, led by the USA, in an attempt to appear to be bombing ISIS, should not deceive anybody. The blood bath in the region is their creation. For this reason, the way forward to get rid of ISIS barbarism is not a new imperialist intervention that provoke conflicts between different beliefs and peoples to plunder the region’s natural resources; on the contrary, it is only possible through termination of these countries’ interventions in the region and the realization of regional people’s right to self-determination of their future.
    For this reason, we condemn the imperialist countries and any plans to occupy the region. They must stop selling arms to reactionary countries like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Doors must be open to all those escaping the massacre, and refugees must be provided with humane and hounarable living conditions.
    As DAY-MER and…………………….., we call on the public and preogressive forces here in UK to show solidarity with Kobane against ISIS barbarism and any plans for occupation. On this basis, we call on people to join protests, meetings and campaigns in solidarity with the Kurdish people who are fighting against the ISIS terror.”

    Andrew Coates

    October 7, 2014 at 11:53 am

  8. I am just waiting for the SWP and Counterfire to crow if Kobane falls that this shows that it’s all the ‘imperialists’ fault’.

    Andrew Coates

    October 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm

  9. I heard a news item this afternoon that there is heavy fighting near to Baghdad. It’s all kicking off.

    Sue R

    October 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm

  10. The Islamicists of Turkey may not mind a sharia state on their border but, an enraged Kurdish population, swollen by several hundred thousand, may be another thing. Interesting times.

    Sue R

    October 8, 2014 at 10:38 am


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