Categorized | Campaigns

IS StWC’S PRO-WAR OR ANTI-WAR ?

Dear Nu’man

 

As I mentioned to you outside the Central Library I intended to send you a note on the December

meeting on Libya which you helped to organise.

 

I must say I found it one of the most ridiculous meetings I have attend for some time.

 

The meeting had two themes

 

1. Attacking the StWC’s record on Anti-War activity on Libya.

 

2. Complete support for the dictator Gaddifi’s repression against internal dissent including support

    for torture of the regimes critics by the main speaker Harpal Brar.

 

In his opening address Moeem stated the existing Anti-War movement (ie Stop the War Coalition)

had failed during th Libya campaign. How it failed was unclear.

 

However this was a bit much since 90% of the audience had played NO role in the six month

campaign by Birmingham StWC and the Erdington/Sutton Coldfield StWC against the bombing of

Libya. They had not been at the numerous stalls, public protests, two Bham Public meetings

(attendances of between 40 and 60) or any of the four meetings held by Erdington/Sutton Coldfield

meetings opposing the war. Moeem himself only attended one stall and successfully disrupted a

StWC public meeting nearly provoking a fight. StWC had organised active opposition to the war

which probably reached its peak when Sami Ramanadani, anti-war Iraqi exile spoke on BBC radio

at 7.45 am (a peak time) in March prior to speaking at the first Bham StWC meeting on the war.

 

On one point I accept your criticism which I understand from Abu that you have made about the

StWC operation. Unfortunately Dr Sami Ahmed, an Egyptian doctor who had spoken well at

previous meetings on the Egyptian revolt, supported the no-fly zone in Libya at the March Bham

StWC public meeting. The official position of the StWC was clearly stated by John Rees, a

national officer of StWC, and supported by Sami of opposing the no fly zone. Dr Sami Ahmed

had not taken this position prior to public meeting and his statement was a surprise to the

meeting organisers. You make a similar point about Hasan, a British Libyan who spoke at a

Erdington/Sutton Coldfield StWC. Again Hasa changed his position and was well answered in

the debate at the StWC meeting. However it was good we had speakers from the region 

despite the problems at times.

 

I said in my contribution to the discussion was that the key thing was united action against

western military threats to Syria and Iran. There was no positive reply to this.

 

Moeem made two suggestions, one rather bizarre for an anti-war group. The first proposed a

campaign against drones which was good, Bham StWC supported a picket on this initiated

by Bham PSC members earlier in the year. The other was a David Cameron Big Society idea

that we should visit old people in hospital. A Great idea but how this is part of building an Anti-War

movement is a complete mystery to me.

 

The second theme was unqualified support for the Gaddifi regime. It was said correctly that

Gaddifi coming to power produced a number of advances in terms of welfare provisions for the

Libyan people. However in recent years Gaddifi had actively collaborated with imperialism and

cooperated with MI6 and the CIA in torturing Islamic militants. No democratic freedoms existed

for the Libyan people to organise trade unions or opposition political parties and torture was

widely used to repress opposition voices.

 

The main speaker, Harpal Brar, at the meeting completely supported torture and said he would

like to do it to some individuals!!! What a farce!!

 

Stuart Richardson

 

Dear Stuart,

Although there are some accurate observations in your assessment below, your account of StW activity on Libya is misreprentative but you admit that StW hosted two pro NATO speakers on both StW meetings held on Libya. Furthermore, StW, if I remember correctly, held no vigils or demonstrations while the bombing was going on. These were organised by myself and Abu.

As for the discussion that went on after the meeting I am not in a position to say whether this is accurate because I had left at the end of the panelists speeches.

As for your assessment of the Gadhaffi government and as I mentioned to you last time I saw you, this is largely immaterial to what the meeting was about. The meeting was called ‘Chaos in Libya: Understanding Britain’s intervention in Libya’. Therefore the meeting was (or it should have been) about British foreign policy and not hte Gadhaffi regime.

In defence of Harpal, at least he mentioned the collusion between Islamic militants and NATO in Libya – something the StW is continually overlooking.

However, once again I wasn’t there for the discussion period so I can’t comment on what was said afterwards.

Regards,

Nu’man

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