American-Palestinian activist Eman Khaleq says that the American people stand firmly against another imperialistic intervention in the Middle East.
August 31 marked the global day of action against US intervention in Syria. It was also the day Obama decided to address the people of the United States declaring that he will be seeking Congressional approval before taking any military action against Syria.
Obama’s speech on Saturday morning was in complete opposition to what the Arab American communities and their allies in the US want. Obama has repeatedly stated that he “[has] decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets” going so far as to even move American warships into the Mediterranean Sea ready to attack at any time.
However, the people have chanted tirelessly “No war on Syria!”
The decision to intervene in Syria is based on the August 21 chemical attack in Syria that killed hundreds. The UN has recently deployed inspectors to Damascus to investigate the origin of the chemical weapons and who in fact used them, whether the rebels or the Syrian government.
A recent Reuters poll indicated that 91 percent of the American population is against intervention in Syria, so of course they were not satisfied with the President’s decision despite it seeming like the democratic thing to do. People were more concerned with the direct actions they can take to stop the perpetual threat to Syria and were determined to make their voices heard.
With actions all over the world, the United States alone witnessed protests in more than a dozen cities including Washington DC, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Seattle, and throughout the south.
On Saturday, despite heatwaves hitting all across the country thousands filled the streets demanding Obama stay out of Syria. Some of the organizations rallying against the perpetual threats included Arab Americans for Syria, Al-Awda Right of Return Coalition, and ANSWER LA, an anti-imperialist organization that was formed just days after the 9/11 attacks in response to the rampant racism Arabs and Muslims began to experience.
Lisa H., a Syrian American living in Los Angeles, explained why she personally thinks it is important to protest the US intervention in Syria. She said: “As a Syrian American, I’m devastated at what is going on. It is disgusting how the American government supports these criminals. I hope that with these protests we can raise awareness of what is really going on over there and show the true will of both the American people and most importantly the Syrian people.”
When asked what she thought about Obama’s claim that “In that part of the world, there are ancient sectarian differences.” She replied, “I may be Catholic, but I know that Islam does not teach such violence and hatred. Before all of this, in Syria no one ever said “I’m Sunni, I’m Shiaa, I’m Alawite, I’m Druze, I’m Christian.” The first thing that we say is “Ana Souree” (I am Syrian) before anything else.”
The lies about Syria at this moment in history are so similar to the lies surrounding Iraq that people around the world have reacted instantaneously.
The aim of US imperialism is not to ascertain the truth surrounding the chemical weapons attack but to establish its pretext for war on Syria. Instead of gathering actual intelligence, the aim of the US, like in Iraq, is to make the necessary claim and then to build falsified intelligence around this claim in order to sway public opinion.
Two days after the chemical attack the US even called the UN directly to try to stave off any investigation into the incident saying that it was “too late”.
Mike Prysner, an Iraq war veteran and organizer with the ANSWER Coalition recalls how much these times resemble the warmongering pretext of the Iraq invasion: “It really hits home for me because I was one of those very trusting, loyal soldiers,” he said. “We’ve learned not to trust the war propaganda.”
Obama or anyone who happens to be in the Oval Office does not care about the Syrian people’s well being. If he did, he would have also cared about the thousands of birth defects in Fallujah due to depleted Uranium and the children who’s flesh was burned from white phosphorus during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza which the US fully funded.
Dr Samira Alani, a doctor in the city of Fallujah focusing on the issue of birth defects, says that the current rate of birth defects for the city of Fallujah has surpassed those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
She said it’s common now in Fallujah for newborns to come out with multiple systemic defects, immune and central nervous system problems, massive heart and skeletal disorders, babies being born with two heads or half of their internal organs outside of their bodies, and cyclops babies literally with one eye. All of this is due to the depleted Uranium the US military used during the Iraq war in 2005.
A similar situation happened during one of the many attacks on Gaza carried out by the Israeli occupation forces. A 71-page-long Human Rights Watch report, entitled “Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorous in Gaza,” states that the group was not able to enter Gaza due to the white phosphorus bombs exploding in the air over densely-packed residential areas in the Gaza Strip.
The US gives Israel $3 billion a year in military aid. If Obama cared one bit about humanitarianism he would provide civilian aid and reparations to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine.
These facts, exposing the hypocrisy of the US empire, were some of the catalysts for the wave of mass demonstrations throughout the US and the world this week.
Although the task at hand is a grave one, spirits were high during Saturday’s protests in the US due to the victory of the British people in preventing their government from participating in a new war. The use of force in Syria was rejected in a 285-272 vote. The British media said it was the first time since 1782 that the House of Commons went against the government on a question of war.
Given that Britian is the original colonizer of the Arab world and the US’s closest ally this is indeed a victory and exposes the shift in people’s power over the past few years.
Apart from protests erupting across the country this week, solidarity with the Syrian people has long been a part of the Arab and Muslim American conscience. In May, Suhaib Webb and the Ella Collins Institute called for a Global Qiyam for Syria. The action was called for May 17, and asked National Muslim Organizations, youth groups, MSAs, and regional coalitions, mosques, families and even groups of neighbors to come together and raise hands in du’a for Syria.
Although many would like to turn Syria into a sectarian civil-war, and many are confused at what the solution to the violence is one thing is for sure, Syrians, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, and everyone in between do not want one more dollar to be spent on war and not one more bomb to be dropped on innocent civilians due to US imperialism.