Millions march against Libya War
By Saeed Shabazz -Staff Writer- | Last updated: Jun 29, 2011 - 5:04:55 PM
'There have been times in history when the people have been faced with grave challenges, and they have met those challenges with profound, sustained actions that have made a difference. ..We believe this is one of those times.'
—Lawrence Hamm, Peoples Organization for Progress chairman
NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) - Disturbed by what they see as a White House that has ignored their concerns, anti-war activists called a press conference in Harlem to announce the “Millions March in Harlem” protest and their demand for an end to the bombing of the North African nation of Libya and ending illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe in Southern Africa.
The coalition includes Pan African activists, anti-war and progressive organizations, and the Nation of Islam, said protest organizers at the June 21 press conference at the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building
“We want to get a million people in the streets,” said Viola Plummer of the Brooklyn-based December 12th International Secretariat, or December 12th Movement. Her group is a UN recognized non-governmental organization that works on domestic and human rights issues, reparations and advocates on behalf of Africa and the Black Diaspora worldwide.
The march is scheduled for August 13.
“We need to go into our communities to build a consciousness concerning the connections to what is happening in Africa, and how these events relate to the struggle here in Harlem,” Omowale Clay, also a December 12th member, explained during the press conference.
Anti-war activists expressed their full support for the Harlem march. “That is what is needed against these wars—a huge mobilization,” Sara Flounders from the anti-war International Action Center told The Final Call.
One of the keynote speakers at the press conference was Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockman, a former foreign minister of Nicaragua during the popular Sandinista regime of former President Daniel Ortega. The fiery priest, who also served as the 63rd president of the United Nations General Assembly, gave a history lesson about the workings of the UN, and how the world body complements the “imperialist agenda of the United States government.”
The atmosphere created by the U.S. in the international community is like “taking arsenic,” he said.
Father Miguel d'Escoto has never bitten his tongue when it comes to condemning U.S. hegemony. During an acceptance speech at the UN, he spoke out against “acts of aggression” in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The behavior of some member states has caused the UN to lose credibility as an organization capable of putting an end to war and eradicating our planet,” he said. His remarks were immediately condemned by U.S. officials at the United Nations.
Father d'Escoto continued his condemnation of U.S. foreign policy during his talk in Harlem, saying, “The U.S. is dedicated to war.
“The U.S. talks about terrorism. The U.S. is a terrorist power,” declared the fiery priest/politician.
Meanwhile news organizations prompted by the regimes in Washington, Great Britain and France said Libya's Muammar Gadhafi was going to slaughter thousands of his people, he noted. “No one ever saw a picture of the alleged slaughter in Libya, but the UN voted for resolutions 1970 and 1973,” he said. These UN Security Council resolutions also asked for an International Criminal Court warrant for individuals inside the Gadhafi government in Tripoli.
‘United Nation's body a war council'
“The U.S. and its allies at the UN are using the two UN resolutions as their cover for regime change,” said Abdul Akbar Muhammad, the international representative of the Nation of Islam, one of the supporting organizations for the August march.
“The United Nations has become a war council,” Mr. Muhammad said.
The African Union nations at the United Nations should say “later for the UN until we see you are becoming a peace council,” he added.
Mr. Muhammad pointed to targeting of Zimbabwe, when the West decided to remove President Robert Mugabe, following his efforts to take farmland from White commercial farmers and return the land to the people of Zimbabwe.
But, Mr. Mugabe has withstood the imperialist onslaught, said Mr. Muhammad.
Still just as the West went after President, the West is going after Pres. Gadhafi, who for now is holding his position as NATO continues its air strikes, he continued.
NATO continues to say its war making is protecting the civilian population in Libya, but activists say the opposite is happening.
Western nations, led by the U.S. in the Security Council, continue to stymie efforts by the African Union to get a Presidential Statement reaffirming Resolution 1973 forbids any foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.
In the corridors outside of the Security Council, members of diplomatic delegations representing the three African nations on the council huddled together. South Africa, Gabon and Nigeria said their proposed statement stresses the need for “a political solution” to the conflict in Libya.
According to press leaks, the Presidential Statement also says: “The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.”
A UN Security Council presidential statement, while not legally binding, reflects the overall consensus of member states. The statement is usually issued when a permanent member, such as U.S., UK, France, China or Russia, threatens to use their veto. The sitting president of the council then signs the statement. Gabon held the seat for the rotating presidency for the month of June.
White House spends $10 million a day on NATO warmongering
President Obama, back in March, said he had “ordered our armed forces to help protect the Libyan people from the brutality of the regime of President Gadhafi.” The operation had a “limited scope” and a “specific purpose,” said Mr. Obama.
“It's in our national interest to act. And it's our responsibility,” said America's first Black president.
However Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador at the UN, told reporters June 23 the Security Council urged the 192-member world body to recognize the Transitional National Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.
The New York Times wrote that the United States is spending $10 million a day to supply the NATO war machine against Libya, Mr. Muhammad noted. “What could $70 million do for the community of Harlem?” he asked. Letters should be sent to the White House asking the president to take a look at the suffering in Harlem, Mr. Muhammad suggested.
According to Ms. Flounders. sixty percent of the people in the U.S. say they are against what is taking place in Libya.
She admitted activists now see Congress will be no help and mixed-signals are coming out of Washington. Ms. Flounders is referring to a June 24 vote, when the House of Representatives voted 238-180 against a Republican-led effort to halt the funds for the Libyan war; and voted 295-123 in a so-called symbolic gesture to challenge the president's authority to continue supporting the NATO-led action.
There was hope that some politicians understood what is happening to Americans, said Ms. Flounders. “The U.S. Conference of Mayors on June 20 said to President Obama, redirect the billions spent on war toward urgent domestic needs,” Ms. Flounders noted.
Coalition members in support of the Aug. 13 march also include the New Black Panther Party, All African People's Revolutionary Party, and the Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive to African People, International Association Against Torture, the Freedom Party, and other groups to be announced.
Scheduled for June 27, the Newark-based Peoples Organization for Progress was to launch their “Daily People's Campaign for Jobs, Peace and Equality” One of the key issues the group will deal with is ending wars in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. “There have been times in history when the people have been faced with grave challenges, and they have met those challenges with profound, sustained actions that have made a difference,” said Lawrence Hamm, Peoples Organization for Progress chairman. “We believe this is one of those times,” he added. The date June 27 is also the official end date for NATO's 90-day “no-fly zone” mandate in Libya.