Thursday, January 25, 2007

Join the Global Peace March!

Anti-war protest in New York. Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis will know by now that I am not shy of telling America (and Britain to some extent) what I think - especially when it comes to the decisions made by GW "The Decider/Escalator" Bush.

Nearly four years ago, on 15 February 2003, I was one of millions of people protesting across the world against the Bush/Blair governments' plans to invade Iraq. I think most of us knew at the time that our protests would fall on deaf ears, that Bush and Blair had already made up their minds and weren't interested in what the world thought of their illegal war. Yet up to 30 million of us protested anyway. I was there because I felt it was something I had to do - I had to stand up and be counted, and I had to register my protest - even though I knew it would make no difference at that stage.

Anti-war protest in Berlin. We were part of the biggest worldwide demonstration in history. Back then the anti-war protestors in America were attacked, vilified, called "traitors" and "un-American". It was pretty tough being against the war if you were an American. It was also pretty hard if you weren't an American - because we knew that those who made the decisions simply weren't listening to what the rest of the world thought.

What a difference four years makes. Over 3,000 dead American soldiers, up to 600,000 dead Iraqis, and a country descended into civil war, at a cost to America of over 361 billion dollars and counting. Now 64% of Americans think that the War on Iraq was a mistake. Fifty-one percent of Americans now "strongly" disapprove of Bush's job performance overall, a majority for the first time. Just 17 percent strongly approve - a 3-1 negative ratio.

AVAAZ. There's a huge anti-war peace march planned for this Saturday January 27 in Washington DC, organised by United for Peace and Justice. Hundreds of thousands of protestors are expected - all there to tell George Bush just what they think of the war on Iraq, and to ask the new US Congress to block the military escalation in Iraq and demand a diplomatic solution and a real plan to end the Iraq war.

And I'll be there too - in a virtual capacity - courtesy of - the world in action.

Read on, to find out how you too can be a part of the virtual protest...

Anti-war protest in Jakarta, Indonesia. Members of at the march on Saturday have pledged to carry banners and flags representing those of us around the world who are opposed to the ongoing war on Iraq, and its current escalation. It's easy to take part, and to add your name and country to the growing list. When I signed up this afternoon the numbers stood at around 55,000. A few hours later and it's at 65,000 and still rising. Join the Global Peace March! was co-founded by Res Publica, a global civic advocacy group, and, an online community that has pioneered internet advocacy in the United States. From their website:

Our aim is to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people -- and not just political elites and unaccountable corporations -- shape global decisions. members are taking action for a more just and peaceful world and a vision of globalization with a human face.

In our inter-connected world, the actions of political leaders and corporations are having a profound impact on all of us. To match the power and reach of global leaders and borderless corporations, members are building a powerful movement of citizens without borders. As citizens without borders, we might not have the resources of governments, corporations or the media, but working together we can bring together millions of people around the world and make global public opinion really count on major global issues like poverty, climate change, human rights and global security.

We have a voice. Let's use it. The US-led coalition forces and the Iraqi government are part of the problem, sending tens of thousands more American troops will only fan the flames of this conflict, and it's endangering us all. It's time to demand a real plan to end the war. 
Add your name to the petition and join the march. Tell your friends before Saturday, and make the number on your country's placard big!

Anti-war protest in Korea. I was browsing through old posts on this blog last night, and I came across this mega-rant - Speaking Truth to Power - can get you into trouble - which I'd quite forgotten about. It explains pretty clearly why I feel I have the right to speak out about what's been happening in America over the past 6 years.

In it, I ask the hypothetical question that some Americans may ask when reading my blog: What right do I have to pass judgement on your country?

Here's a bit of my answer:
I think firstly it's because what happens in America affects what happens in the rest of the world. Like it or not, America is the only superpower on the planet right now, and the fact that it's being ruled by a man I believe to be a sociopath, in a manner more befitting a King than a President, scares the shit out of me.


Anti-war protest in Italy. I see estimates of the dead in Iraq since the war began, and I am horrified that over 2,750 American lives and up to 600,000 Iraqi lives have already been sacrificed by Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and the rest of the criminals in the White House. Sacrified for a lie, for oil, for imaginary WMD, in order to force democracy at the point of a gun, for whatever-the-hell this week's "reason" for the invasion might be - and still Bush insists on "staying the course" in Iraq, even as that beleaguered nation decends into civil war and anarchy.


Wage peace. I see ordinary Americans slowly but surely losing the very freedoms that Bush has sworn an oath to protect, and I see him and his cohorts destroying, piece by piece, the Constitution that his country was founded upon. I see them paying scant regard to the opinions of anyone else in the rest of the world, and I see their arrogance as they stomp all over the rights of ordinary citizens in their own country - and I wonder when (or even if) America is going to wake up and realise what's happening in "the land of the free and the home of the brave". From over here, it doesn't look as free to me as it was even six years ago, and the brave appear to be very few and far between right now.

The only power I have, not being able to vote or make financial contributions to the Democratic campaign in the US, is to get as informed as I can, to speak out, and to write what I know and how I feel in my blog. That's it.

Stop the war. These are some of the reasons why I'll be part of the virtual Global Peace March this Saturday, representing New Zealand as part of the interconnected global community. I hope that, unlike four years ago, we will make a difference. I also hope you'll join me - or even better, if you're able, join the march in Washington DC.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .