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50,000 Protesters Tell Bush & Blair...
War Brings No Solution
IGNORE THE media disinformation, last Sunday at least 50,000 people marched through London and into Trafalgar Square. Banners, placards and flags, horns, whistles and megaphones communicated the message: No to war in Afghanistan.
Veterans of the peace movement rubbed shoulders with school students on their first demo and large contingents of Asian people. A section of the square was used for prayers as part of Ramadan. Muslims handed out dates for protesters to eat.
Significantly, this event came after concerted attempts by the government to derail the movement. As New Labour's new friends in the Northern Alliance swept into Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, on US tanks it was implied that the war was all but over. US president George W Bush, and his lackey, Tony Blair, gloated that the anti-war movement has got it wrong. Not so.
The scenes of jubilation in Kabul after the hated Taliban retreated have given way to fear and anxiety as armed men roam the streets. A heart-rending picture of human misery is forming. As winter fast approaches, ragged refugees desperately seek shelter and food.
Khanabad, where there were no Taliban, was blitzed relentlessly for days. Around 150 civilians died. People fled in terror leaving their meagre possessions to be destroyed by B-52 bombers: "Zumeray had walked across the front line with his mother, his sister and her children, after abandoning three months' worth of food in Khanabad. The children had no shoes; they had been walking for seven hours and their feet were raw." (The Independent, 19 November)
Meanwhile, the Western powers negotiate with Afghanistan's self-proclaimed president, Burhanuddin Rabbani. The spoils of war will go to the Northern Alliance warlords, proxy fighters for Bush and Blair. The voices of Zumeray and his family will not be heard.
Military 'victory' in Afghanistan is encouraging the 'bomb Iraq' brigade in the US. There's even talk of bombing Somalia - another impoverished and destitute country. We need to build and strengthen the anti-war movement and campaign for a socialist alternative to war and terror.
Thousands of people have signed up to the Socialist Party and International Socialist Resistance campaigns.
Our sights are set for the demonstrations in Brussels on 13-14 December where we will say No to War, No to Terror, No to the bosses' EU, For a Socialist World. Join us.
In The Socialist 23 November 2001: