Note: This was written before Trump’s missile strikes were launched and intercepted by the Syrian military. Since then a demonstration was called to denounce those strikes and demand that the U.S. end its occupation of and involvement in Syria.
On April 12 and 13 the ANSWER Coalition called emergency response demonstrations in solidarity with the Syrian people struggling against the imperialist war of the United States, Britain, France and their running dogs in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia, and Turkey. On April 12 a demonstration was held at Copley Square and on April 13 at Park Street in Boston.
The demonstration was initiated by the ANSWER coalition and endorsed by the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Workers World Party, The Syrian American Forum, Massachusetts Peace Action, Dorchester People for Peace and the Hands Off Syria Coalition.
The two days of back to back demonstrations were called in response to President Donald Trump’s threats to attack Syria unilaterally and illegally in response to chemical attacks in Douma a former rebel enclave liberated by the Syrian Army. Trump announced on his Twitter on the morning of April 11 that “nice and new and smart missiles” would be fired at Syria.
Nino Brown, an organizer with ANSWER stated at the April 12 and 13 rallies: “The United States has been trying to overthrow the Syrian government since the 1950s. The U.S. claims it is against dictatorship and for order and other nice sounding things, but they are gross violators of their own laws and international law. How can the U.S. claim to be intervening based on ‘humanitarianism’ when Black children in Flint, Michigan are being chemically poisoned while politicians continue to live high off the hog and even shut down distribution of clean water to civilians. How can anyone take the U.S. seriously on this claim when it supports the genocide of Palestinians who are victims of all sorts of attacks, chemical and otherwise, from the Zionist Israeli regime? The U.S. was found to be using white phosphorus just last year in Iraq and Syria and continues to give billions of dollars in aid to Israel and arms deals with Saudi Arabia who is directly arming and funding these reactionary Islamist mercenaries. We have a duty to fight for the independence, self-determination, sovereignty, of Syria, a nation oppressed by ‘our’ government. Hands Off Syria! U.S. out of Syria!”
Interview with three Syrian women: The people need the truth about Syria
Liberation News spoke in Boston with some Syrians from Damascus on the eve of Trump’s missile strike. Mary Rose, Rawan and Jessica had come out in support of their government and nation.
Liberation News: So what do you think about the media coverage on Syria right now?
Rawan: I think all the news talking about chemical attacks by the government is not the truth. It’s an excuse for Donald Trump to attack my people.
Jessica: We support our President and our family there has told us that he didn’t kill his own people. We know our government and need the war to be over. We want to go back and live in peace, but it has to stop, we want to see our family safe.
Liberation News: What role can people in the U.S. play?
Mary Rose: They need to give the right [to the Syrian people] to seek refuge here and tell the truth about what is happening in Syria. There is no government-led chemical attack. I don’t know why people think sending planes over there to kill people helps. We need the truth about what’s happening in Syria.
Liberation News: Do you think the U.S. media has a role?
Rawan: The media here is like a movie…[inaudible]…we have a lot of family there that told us the truth of what’s happening. My parents are over there, my home is over there – we have a lot [of family] and they tell us what’s happening.
Liberation News: What do you think about the rebels?
Jessica: The rebels want to impose religious segregation in Syria, we want them to stop and some have been allowed to leave safely. We just want this to stop so we can live our lives. When it comes to the army, we love the army because they protect us from the rebels and their attacks.
Liberation News: Is there anything else that you think people in America should know?
Rawan: Don’t just [blindly] trust the media or the news, it’s all fake. They rely on the [rebels’] social media. You need to know the truth and have to look harder for truth.
Protesters chanted “Don’t wait ‘til the bombs drop! U.S. wars have got to stop!” and “Humanitarian? That’s a lie! You don’t care when Syrians die!”
Other speakers like Bonnie Caracciolo, an organizer of the Women’s March on the Pentagon spoke about the need for the anti-war movement to be against both parties of imperialism as well as connect the struggle for social and worker’s rights at home to the war abroad. She highlighted the fact that the Trump administration has continued the austerity of the Obama administration. The cuts to social programs and the concomitant increasing of the war budget shows that the U.S., a deeply sexist and imperialist country; it does not care about women and children at home, how can it claim to care about them in Syria or anywhere else?
The ANSWER coalition is seeking to re-build the anti-war movement on a principled basis. It does not matter fundamentally, if the head of U.S. imperialism is a Democrat or a Republican, the imperialist system needs war and racism to prop up its economy and it colludes with the media to promote “regime change” and “humanitarian interventionism” to neo-colonize nations. It sees the wars abroad as reflections of the wars at home against oppressed nationalities. We must press forward for peace and remember that we share a common interest with the Syrian people in opposing and eliminating imperialism.
Hands Off Syria!