Iraq – 10 years on: Remembering when the world said No to war
Monday March 18 at 6-8.30pm — Mitchell Theatre, Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 240 Pitt Street, Sydney
This month marks the tenth anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq. It is a timely reminder not just of the brutality of the war in Iraq, but its length. A decade of war has ravaged the Iraqi people and decimated public infrastructure. In 2004 and 2006 epidemiologists and others associated with Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the US published research in the international renowned journal The Lancet, estimating the number of ‘excess deaths’ due to the war. The second report states that 650,000 people had died as a result of the war in Iraq, a figure that is likely far greater given the intense fighting that occurred after 2006 and the ongoing health and social crisis in the country. And let us not forget those injured and maimed.
It is also time to recall the the tenth anniversary of the largest protest in Australian history, on February 15 2003, when between 300,000 and 500,000 people protested in central Sydney. That weekend between 600,000 and 900,000 protested across Australia, alongside many millions around the world.
The Sydney Stop the War Coalition is conducting a forum next Monday to remember when the world said no to war, and consider what the situation is in Iraq now and what can be done to prevent more wars. I will be speaking on the panel alongside Donna Mulhearn, who was a human shield during the first ground invasion and has recently returned from another visit to Iraq.
I will be focussing my contribution on the impact and legacy of the protests. While the antiwar movement did not stop the invasion of Iraq from proceeding, it had a significant effect in the outcome of future political events. It shaped international and national politics, and one cannot imagine the comprehensiveness of Howard’s defeat in 2007 without it. For me, an important question is also the difficulties we had of uniting the Global Justice Movement with the anti-war movement in Australia.
Press release from the Sydney Stop the War Coalition
Media release – March 13, 2013
Iraq – 10 years on Remembering when the world said No to war
This March 20 marks 10 years since the invasion of Iraq by the Coalition of the Willing, or Coalition of the Killing as it came to be described. Sydney Stop the War Coalition will host a panel discussion on what has happened in Iraq and to the anti-war movement since, and what anti-war activists can do to prevent more such wars.
The panel will hear from Donna Mulhearn who has just returned from another trip to Iraq. Donna was part of the “Human Shields” who tried to stop the war in Iraq before it started. She has since devoted time to informing Australians of the consequences of this war. “It seems the new Iraq is becoming very close to the old Iraq in terms of lack of free press, free movement or free speech. After so many decades of suffering, Iraqis deserve better.”
Elizabeth Humphrys, a researcher, who was also active in the movement to stop the invasion, is another panelist.“There are many aspects to reflect on including the differences between the 2003 upsurge and the anti-Vietnam War movement. How did the anti-corporate globalisation movement intersect with the anti-war movement? And what should anti-war activists be doing now to stop this and other imperial wars?”
Simon Butler, a youth leader of the Books not Bombs movement – the youth walk-outs from schools across Sydney which the state government and media tried to demonise – is also a panelist. “Students were accused of just wanting to wag school. But they were very conscious about why they were protesting; they saw that this war was not about democracy; this war was a grab for Iraq’s resources. The government of NSW Labor Premier Bob Carr was the only one in the Western world to ban an Iraq war protest.”
Hall Greenland, another participant in the huge mobilisations and another of the panelists said: “The Greens stand in the proud tradition of opposing acts of aggression. Ten years ago Bob Brown and the Greens said the illegal attack on Iraq would lead to disaster. Sadly, we and other peace activists have been proved right.”
Monday March 18 at 6-8.30pm
Mitchell Theatre, Sydney Mechanics School of Arts 240 Pitt Street, Sydney
Entry $10/5 concession
Phone Pip 0412 139 968 or Anne 0404 090 710 for more information.
Organised by Stop the War Coalition Sydney — www.stopwarcoalition.org