U.S. Out of Afghanistan!

The Miracle - - Local - By: Ja­nine Solanki Van­cou­ver protests 16 years of war and oc­cu­pa­tion of Afghanistan dur­ing In­ter­na­tional Days of Ac­tion

Oc­to­ber 7th, 2001 marked the be­gin­ning of the U.S.-led so-called “war on ter­ror”, what is more ac­cu­rately a war OF ter­ror. With the thin ex­cuse of re­spond­ing to the Septem­ber 11th, 2001 ter­ror­ist at­tacks in New York, Afghanistan was in­vaded and sub­se­quently oc­cu­pied. 16 years later not only is Afghanistan still un­der U.S. oc­cu­pa­tion, but the new era of war and oc­cu­pa­tion which has ex­panded, coun­try af­ter coun­try, over the last 16 years. Now in ad­di­tion to the de­struc­tion that war has in­flicted upon Afghanistan, we also have Iraq, Libya, Ye­men and Syria bear­ing the wounds of war, along with mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions and drone at­tacks on other coun­tries in Africa and the Mid­dle East. A sin­gle re­sult shows just how dev­as­tat­ing the en­tire new era of war and oc­cu­pa­tion has been. The world now is fac­ing the largest refugee cri­sis in hu­man his­tory, and these refugees are com­ing from the coun­tries un­der U.S.-led wars be­cause war and oc­cu­pa­tion has made their home­lands un­in­hab­it­able. For Afghanistan, the sit­u­a­tion has be­come in­creas­ingly worse. By Septem­ber, 2017 was shap­ing up to be the dead­li­est year on record for Afghan civil­ians since the 2001 in­va­sion, ac­cord­ing to The Guardian news­pa­per. A record num­ber of civil­ians, 1,662 – were killed in the first six months of 2017, a 2% in­crease from the same pe­riod last year. An ad­di­tional 3,581 civil­ians were wounded. These num­bers were re­leased in a re­port by the United Na­tions As­sis­tance Mis­sion in Afghanistan. This in­crease came with a 23% rise in the num­ber of women killed, and child deaths were up 9% com­pared with the same pe­riod last year. The war in Afghanistan is not wind­ing down af­ter 16 years – on June 13, 2017, U.S. Pres­i­dent Trump an­nounced the U.S. would be send­ing nearly 4000 ad­di­tional troops to Afghanistan, to be joined by 3000 ad­di­tional forces promised by NATO. This will bring the to­tal troop num­ber to nearly 20,000 in Afghanistan. To protest the con­tin­u­ing war and oc­cu­pa­tion in Afghanistan, lead­ing an­ti­war or­ga­niz­ers in the U.S. called for In­ter­na­tional Days of Ac­tion Oc­to­ber 2nd to 8th. In Van­cou­ver, Mo­bi­liza­tion Against War and Oc­cu­pa­tion (MAWO) an­swered this call and or­ga­nized for a rally and pe­ti­tion cam­paign on Oc­to­ber 7th, in Down­town Van­cou­ver. The rally opened with a wel­com­ing song and drum­ming from Ea­gle Eyes, an In­dige­nous ac­tivist and hered­i­tary chief from Sechelt. MAWO Chair Ali­son Bo­dine led the crowd in chants of “US Hands Off Afghanistan!” and em­ceed the pro­gram, as well as an­nounced a new MAWO pe­ti­tion against the U.S. war and oc­cu­pa­tion in Afghanistan, high­light­ing the re­cent U.S. troop in­crease in Afghanistan. MAWO ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee Ja­nine Solanki spoke on the role Canada has played, from 2001 on­wards, in the war and oc­cu­pa­tion of Afghanistan, and how Canada con­tin­ues as an colonial player in this new era of war and oc­cu­pa­tion. David Whit­tle­sey, MAWO or­ga­nizer and long­time an­ti­war ac­tivist since the Viet­nam war, also spoke and en­cour­aged peo­ple to keep up or­ga­niz­ing and protest­ing against war. Fol­low­ing the pro­gram, ac­tivists ap­proached passers-by who stopped to add their sig­na­ture to the pe­ti­tion against the U.S. in Afghanistan. Lo­cal news ra­dio sta­tion News1130 also came to cover the rally and re­flected the protest on­line and over the ra­dio. While this month’s rally was es­pe­cially im­por­tant to mark the an­niver­sary of the war on Afghanistan, MAWO has or­ga­nized an an­ti­war rally and pe­ti­tion cam­paign ev­ery month since MAWO formed. Oc­to­ber 2017 also marked MAWO’s 14 year an­niver­sary, and since MAWO started or­ga­niz­ing on Oc­to­ber 29th, 2003 MAWO has been con­stantly ex­pand­ing and find­ing more com­mu­ni­ties and or­ga­ni­za­tions to unite with against war with both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. MAWO con­tin­ues to stand by the cor­ner­stones of or­ga­niz­ing, ed­u­cat­ing and mo­bi­liz­ing with cre­ativ­ity, con­sis­tency and, as demon­strated in or­ga­niz­ing on this in­ter­na­tional day of ac­tion, also with co­or­di­na­tion. Now more than ever is a crit­i­cal time to be or­ga­niz­ing against the ex­pand­ing new era of war and oc­cu­pa­tion, and MAWO en­cour­ages more an­ti­war groups and peace-loving peo­ple to come to­gether against war and oc­cu­pa­tion. MAWO is com­mit­ted to con­tinue voic­ing the de­mand “U.S. Out of Afghanistan Now!”through protest and through ed­u­ca­tional events and lit­er­a­ture. Along­side the de­mands of no to war and oc­cu­pa­tion, the de­mand for the self-de­ter­mi­na­tion of all op­pressed na­tions is de­fend­ing a ba­sic right and one that an­ti­war groups and peacelov­ing peo­ple can unite around to be part of build­ing a strong and ef­fec­tive an­ti­war move­ment. For more in­for­ma­tion on up­com­ing MAWO events and ac­tions visit www.ma­wovan­cou­ver.org, find MAWO on Face­book or fol­low on Twit­ter @ma­wovan. To see the full list of en­dorsers of the In­ter­na­tional Days of Ac­tion and for in­for­ma­tion about events in other cities across the United States visit: www.no­to­war.net

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