Skip to comments.San Francisco protest condemns U.S./NATO bombing of Libya 'U.S. out of Africa!'
Posted on 07/13/2011 2:09:34 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
Stop bombing Libya! U.S. out of Africa! echoed throughout San Franciscos major intersection at Powell and Market as more than 125 activists and supporters gathered to demand an end to the U.S./NATO bombing of Libya and call for the money spent on war to instead provide for peoples needs. The demonstration was sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).
While participants picketed, a number of people spoke. A common thread throughout the speeches was that the U.S. government claim of humanitarian intervention is a lie.
Antoinette Marquez, an elementary school teacher and member of Teachers 4 Public Education, opened the program and spoke of the pressure put upon her in the classroom by the budget cuts. "I'm fed up with the politicians and the government telling us that there's no money for education. Then how can the government spend $10 million a day on bombing Libya and killing people?!"
Palestinian youth activist and University of California student Tamara Khoury expressed her anger at the continued U.S. intervention around the world and the increasing hardships for people living within the United States:
"If you look back in history, the United States has never funded or supported a real popular uprising, a mass movement of the people for the benefit of the people. Why? Because the imperialist powers only care about profits and power. Just look at the growing number of homeless families in the United States, or the number of students who have had to drop out of their universities because they can't afford to pay fees. Where is the humanitarian intervention here?" Khoury also elaborated on the irony of the United States claiming to act in Libya for humanitarian reasons while continuing to fund the Zionist, apartheid state of Israel.
Omar Ali, a student at San Francisco State University and an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition, echoed Khoury's sentiment when he spoke about the role the United States played during Egypt's revolution earlier this year. "As an Egyptian, I stand against the NATO-led bombing on Libya, which has left more than 800 civilians dead and more than 4,000 Libyans injured. While Egyptians were fighting against a U.S.-backed military dictatorship, protesting in the streets of Egypt, and attacked by thugs, the United States remained silent."
Another theme was the call for unity. Attending his first demonstration, Lester Myers, a Liberian now living in San Jose, spoke of the need to break out of the stigma and stereotypes that have been applied to Africa, and to develop unity amongst Africans to fight back against the attempts of their former colonizers to keep them subservient. "Unity is good for everyone. It is good for the people of the United States of America, and for all the people around the world."
Stephanie Tang of World Can't Wait also called for unity in the anti-war movement: "When it comes to standing up to the crimes of our government, we have to stand shoulder to shoulder."
In the spirit of that solidarity and to demonstrate concretely how the issues are connected, participants marched to Civic Center where there was a rally in support of the Pelican Bay State Prison hunger strikers. Frank Lara, a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, closed the joint rally expressing the groups' shared sense of unity. This unity was shown by the marchers as they entered Civic Center with a twist on the familiar anti-war chant: "Money for jobs and education, not for war and incarceration!"
Denouncing war on Libya, White House action points to revitalized movement - July 13, 2011 - Bashir, a Libyan citizen, had driven all the way from Colorado to Washington, D.C., to deliver a simple message: NATO is killing our civilians, not saving our civilians. Bashir was joined by hundreds of others who picketed outside the White House on July 9 with signs that read No War for Oil, Money for Jobs and Education, Not War on Libya and Stop Bombing Africa!
Several protesters explained that Cynthia McKinneys Eyewitness Libya tour in June had moved them to take action. One was José, a 57-year-old Vietnam veteran from the Bronx, who sees in this war striking parallels to the one he experienced. Once again innocents are being killed for the profits of a small group of rich people. Vietnam touched all of uslets not let war touch this generation the same way.
Michael Ben-Elohim, 28, of New Haven, Conn., explained his presence at the march as an obligation as a descendent of Africa, which NATO was hoping to re-colonize through Libya. Calling out the one-sided media coverage, he asked, Where are the pictures of the civilians being killed by NATOs bombs?
A significant majority of the protesters on July 9 were African American or African immigrants, and several dozen Ivorians enthusiastically participated in the march. In April, French and UN troops moved into the Ivory Coast to help remove President Laurent Gbagbo, who had steered the traditional French client state towards a more independent foreign policy. This intervention, which placed the pro-French opposition leader into power, was also justified on humanitarian grounds.
For Ben, 39, an Ivorian immigrant living in New York City, the interventions in Africa are all about natural resources: In the Ivory Coast, they want our coffee and cocoa beans; in Libya, they want the oil. Ben, an unemployed college graduate, pointed out that the U.S. government seems more interested in creating war than jobs.
Albert Josiah, 25, had seen a flyer for the July 9 protest lying on the sidewalk in Baltimore, Md., where he lives. Josiah, who is of Liberian descent, has opposed the war from the start, which he believes is for the governments self-interestfor oil. The action at the White House was the first protest Josiah has ever attended, but he was eager to get back to Baltimore and get the information out to our neighborhoods.
Rakim Jenkins, a 21-year-old activist in the Black Student Union at the City College of New York, made the point, When other people are being oppressed, we are too. Some people might not believe that this is their fight, but that could be your mother, father, brother or sister being bombed. While explaining that he was supportive of Obamas election, Dr. King and Malcolm X would not sanction what hes doing in Libya.
After two hours of chanting and picketing, the anti-war crowd marched to an indoor rally several blocks away. There, speakers included Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition; Akbar Muhammad, International Representative of the Nation of Islam; Khalifa Mohammed, a Libyan studying abroad in the United States; Leo Gnawa of CRI-Panafricain-USA; Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund; and Salim Akhtar of the American Muslim Alliance Foundation. Masake Kane, a student at Towson University and member of the ANSWER Coalition, chaired the indoor rally.
The action drew buses of protesters from Harlem, and vans and cars from Baltimore, Md.; Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and State College, Pa.; New Haven, Conn.; and elsewhere. On the ride home, each bus had a speak-out that gave individuals a chance to reflect on their experiences and address their fellow passengers. Juanita Thomas, an activist with Afrikan Unity of Harlem, Inc., linked the war on Libya with the continuous disrespect that the United Nations shows towards the sovereignty of African countries. Jinnette Caceres, a schoolteacher and ANSWER Coalition activist, explained that future generations will want to know how the U.S. government got away with yet another war for oil: I dont want to look my students in the eye and say I did nothing to stop it.
Sure took ‘em long enough...
that is what I was going to write
Without it the rest are unchecked as they conspire together and are either appointed by or protected by each other.
Glad to see there are 125 people who oppose war even if their guy is in office. At least in that sense they are not being hypocrites.
Of course we had thousands when Bush was in office.
125 people, we have better turnout at a decent garage sale.
These are the same people that keep reelecting Pelosi!
“125 people, we have better turnout at a decent garage sale.”
Obviously the thousands who turned out against the war during the Bush administration were not actually against any war, but against Bush. Which is what I suspected all along, with perhaps 125 exceptions.
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