Invited antiwar speech by representative of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization at May Day rally sponsored by Union del Barrio, following a march by several hundred from MacArthur Park to City Hall.
I went to one of my first protests when I was 16 against the war in Iraq during the Bush regime. I want to tell you about the the war on terror that doesn’t get talked about much. The US has bombed Syria since 2014 in name of killing terrorists. When the US-led Coalition took back the Syrian city of Raqqa from ISIS, it destroyed 80% of the city and killed 1400 civilians last year. And in Iraq, the battle to take back Mosul from ISIS was similarly bloody. The US has killed 6000 civilians in bombing ISIS in Syria. We cannot keep silent about this.
We must stand against the endless war on terror, from Syria and Iraq to Yemen and Afghanistan, but we also must also stand against the bombing of Syrians by Assad. Most of the over 500,000 people killed in Syria have been killed by Assad and his imperialist allies like Russia. In Sednaya prison, 13,000 prisoners, mainly nonviolent activists, including many Leftists, have been murdered by the regime. We must reject the idea that the only choices are fascism or terrorism; that’s what fascists say to keep power everywhere.
How many more terrorists has the US created with its endless wars? Why has the US been bombing Afghanistan for 17 years? Why is the US helping to kill people in Yemen? We need to organize mass-marches to end the so-called war on terror that makes us less safe. But at the same time, we also need to let those facing mass murder from fascist regimes know that they are not alone and that we stand with them and against all imperialists and fascists! Solidarity with the Syrian revolution, including Rojava!
Beginning on Saturday, January 20, 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered his military together with allied elements of the Free Syrian Army to begin a major assault on the Kurdish-controlled Afrin region, the northwestern part of the Democratic Confederation of Northern Syria, otherwise known as Rojava. Though preceded by two days of preparatory shelling, the attack commenced with heavy bombardment by 72 aircraft of over 150 targets in Afrin, including the city center. As of Sunday morning, January 21st, Turkish ground troops and tanks have started to invade. This aggression, which clearly violates the Nuremberg Principles on war, comes days after the Trump Regime announced it would begin training a 30,000-strong “Syrian Border Security Force” among Kurds in Northern Syria to block infiltration to resurrect Da’esh (ISIS/ISIL). Hence, while the Orwellian-termed “Operation Olive Branch” launched by Erdoğan seeks to crush the Kurdish Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (People’s Protection Units, YPG) and the allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for being supposed affiliates of the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê (Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK), against which the Turkish State has been at war for more than three decades, this assault also targets the Syrian Kurds as a people.
According to Hawzhin Azeez of the Kobane Reconstruction Board of Rojava, the initial aerial bombardment indiscriminately struck civilian areas, and FSA fighters, who reportedly speak only Turkish, captured by the SDF/YPG report that they have come to “kill all the Kurds” of the region. Considering that the Turkish State has cut off all cellular and internet coverage in the area, and in light of the recent Russian withdrawal of forces from the region, there is a grave risk of nationalist massacres against the Kurdish civilian population, both as part of the strategy against the SDF/YPG, and also as reprisal, should the latter be pushed back or defeated. On Saturday, Erdoğan declared that the attack on Afrin, if “successful,” would be followed by a new campaign against Manbij. See a map of northwestern Syria/southwestern Turkey below:
Yellow = SDF/YPG Turquoise = Turkish military/Free Syrian Army Red = Assad Regime Green = anti-Assad rebels
Continue reading “Afrin Under Attack by Neo-Ottoman Erdoğan: We Must Defend Afrin!”