BY JO ELLIS
DARWIN — On November 6, 50 people attended a forum organised by the No to War and Racism collective (NOWAR). Under the slogan "War is not the answer", the speakers addressed how peace can be achieved.
Prath Prathapan, president of the Hindu Society, told the audience that peace means more than stopping the bombing of Afghanistan. Without decent food, health and education for everyone worldwide, he added, "we are failing to create the conditions for world peace".
Criticising the US government for valuing American lives more than others, Prathapan also argued that we "should not put up with hypocrisy and double standards" in the struggle to globalise justice.
"What is the moral difference", Reverend Jim Dowling asked, "between people killed by the bombing of Afghanistan and people killed in the terrorist attacks in the US?". Dowling also criticised attacks on Muslims living in Australia.
Beryl Mulder, president of the Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory, told the meeting that she was "ashamed to be an Australian by choice" considering the Coalition government's stance on refugees. She argued that John Howard appears to have "the most acute form of xenophobia I've ever seen". Mulder also condemned Kim Beazley for his statement that Australia accepts the second highest number of refugees in the world, explaining that Australia "does not even feature in the first 40 countries".
Gary Meyerhoff, Senate candidate for the Socialist Alliance in the recent federal elections emphasised that "the bombing will continue after the election". He called for a strong grassroots campaign against the bombing of Afghanistan and for global justice.
Australian Democrats Senate candidate Ted Dunstan told the meeting that he had "no problem with the SAS going to fight terrorism" but that the government should conduct a plebiscite specifically on the war.
The meeting followed an October 31 "peacefest", organised by the Socialist Alliance and attended by around 150 people.
From Green Left Weekly, November 14, 2001.
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