BY WILL WILLIAMS
WOLLONGONG — More than 400 people gathered on November 3 for a march and rally to oppose the US war on Afghanistan. Marchers poured scorn on pro-war Prime Minister John Howard and the equally gung-ho Labor "opposition" leader Kim Beazley. The march and rally was organised by the Illawarra NOWAR coalition.
Speakers in the Wollongong Mall included Father Brian Gore, a noted activist for human rights and against racism, who is active in the Jubilee 2000 campaign that demands that the Third World debt be dropped.
Warren Smith, Communist Party NSW Senate candidate, outlined the history of US imperialist wars since 1945.
Doreen Borrow, from the Australian Peace Committee, spoke about the history of US support for terrorists like Chile's Augusto Pinochet and Indonesia's Suharto. "I am furious at the hypocrisy of political leaders calling the September 11 attack 'the greatest act of terrorism in history'. What about the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where 90,000 people were killed?", she asked.
Sharon Callaghan, from the Refugee Action Collective, condemned the Australian government's treatment of refugees. Andrew Whiley, from the South Coast Trades and Labor Council, also condemned the government for its support of the war.
About 20 women from the Illawarra Islamic Women's Society took part in the march and rally. Roshana called on people to donate money for food for starving children in Afghanistan. She pointed to the hypocrisy of the appeal for teddy bears for the children of New York, while millions in Afghanistan faced starvation and death.
After a communal rendition of "We shall overcome", led by local folk singer and activist Morrie Mulheron, the march moved off to McCabe Park, where Dr Margaret Perrott, Socialist Alliance candidate for Throsby addressed the crowd.
"Let us make no mistake", she said "The real reasons for this war are the needs of US imperialism and the global corporations. There is oil in the Caspian Sea area and a pipeline through Afghanistan is the US preferred option.
"This war of retaliation is aimed at the people of the Third World, all those who have been oppressed and exploited by imperialism. And it's aimed also at any dissenting voices at home — the movement against globalisation, the radicalised generations who provide an opposition to the capitalist status quo, anyone who looks or thinks differently. And it's aimed at any democratic gains we've won in past decades."
From Green Left Weekly, November 7, 2001.
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