With only 1,000 People on March Stop the War Coalition Faces Crisis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. …..
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:
2- The following Facebook pages are up to date on Kobane and post regularly:
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/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:
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