This blog was started interactively a fortnight ago. Some of you have made comments on the first blog to which I have added my own thoughts. I need to elaborate on the scope of the title of this blog. These two words – Intifada and Chimurenga – originate from the struggle of the people of the South for freedom and justice. But they are not limited to the South. They have a global scope. Let me give a recent example.
On 21 August 1,429 people including at least 426 children were gassed to death in the ongoing fierce civil war in Syria. It was a heinous crime. Because people get killed through other weapons of war does not justify the use of chemical weapons. By the end of the month, the war-mongering leaders of the West (Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nicolas Hollande) swore that they had evidence that it was Assad’s government that had used the chemicals. Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that the US had received hair and blood samples that “tested positive for signatures of sarin”, again blaming it all on Assad. As subsequent developments showed that was a bare-faced lie. No evidence was produced. By that week-end (30 August), Obama was ready to bomb Syria. He was preparing the Congress and the public opinion to accept the much heralded aerial bombing. This is what NATO governments have always done. By scare-tactics about “imminent” threat to “national security”, elaborate lies, and press propaganda they create a mass hysteria … ready to throw the bombs, with or without the approval of the United Nations.
However, this time the American people effectively neutralised their government. They have been fooled before – for example, in 1903, falsely claiming that Sadaam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction”. The US and the UK had then launched an unprovoked war on Iraq. John Pilger says that the Iraq war was (is) a crime of “epic proportions” (UK Guardian, Sunday 26 May 2013).
Today, 10 years later, 14% of Iraq’s population are orphans; 1million families headed by women. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring George Bush and Tony Blair for trial. Why should only African leaders face the ICC? What makes Western leaders exempt from war crimes and genocide?
As for stopping Obama’s near-war against Syria on 30 August, the credit goes to the people of America – besides skillful diplomatic role played by Russia. As Mark Weisbrot said: “The blocking of the Syria bombing was a historic victory with profound implications, perhaps the first time in the past 50 years that the American people were able to prevent an announced military intervention by pressuring Congress”. Weisbrot goes on to say that “The anti-war movement and the American people can also claim credit for the recent and vitally important diplomatic overtures with Iran”. (UK Guardian, October 4, 2013).
Time will tell if the diplomatic efforts – in Syria, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Somalia and Mali, among other war zones – trump the militarist predisposition of American presidents and other NATO leaders. What is important to recognise is that diplomatic efforts are significant but not enough. The people must continue to struggle with peaceful mass action – Intifada – against their war-mongering governments – not only, but especially, in the US, France, Britain, the Netherlands, and Japan. People of Africa must work in solidarity with the people of these countries. But they must also prevail upon their own governments not to allow the forces of the NATO to use Africa for their proxy wars. This is part of Global Intifada; it is part of National Chimurenga.