On Feb. 25, dozens of demonstrators from Houston organizations protested the Biden administration’s bombing of Syria. The protesters came with the demand that instead of spending money to cause more death and destruction in Syria, money and resources should be spent fixing broken water pipes in Houston and throughout the state of Texas.
Weeks after a deadly winter storm — now called Winter Storm Uri — and the failure of ERCOT’s power grid wreaked havoc on the lives of millions of Texans, many residents are still without access to water.
Texans told to drink pool water while Biden prioritizes bombing Syria
Biden’s decision to bomb Syria while Texans continue to suffer water shortages and broken pipes shows the horrifying discrepancy in the U.S. political and economic system.
In Houston’s predominantly Black and Latino Fifth Ward, many residents are still without running water weeks after the winter storm froze their pipes. Due to the damage caused to their homes by the broken pipes, many residents have been living in their vehicles. Landlords have illegally abandoned their responsibility to fix apartments, simply claiming that they will fix the damages at some later, undisclosed date.
Residents of the Villas Del Paseo apartment complex in Southwest Houston have been without water for weeks. Property managers are insultingly telling residents to use dirty pool water to meet their needs.
While Texas’ recovery stalls, the U.S. government has no such sluggishness or lack of resources for its endless wars abroad. On Feb. 24, only 34 days into the new administration, President Biden ordered airstrikes on Syria that killed at least 22 people.
The Biden administration claimed that the airstrikes were in retaliation for “Iran-backed militias” firing on U.S. contractors in neighboring Iraq. The notion that these airstrikes were carried out either in “retaliation” or “self-defense” is blatantly absurd.
By definition, an occupying force such as the United States is committing an act of aggression, not “self-defense.” More than 2.4 million Iraqis have died as a result of the U.S. invasion in 2003, in addition to countless Iranians, Syrians, Yemenis, and many others who have died as a result of U.S. military aggression, interference and sanctions.
Protesters in Houston made the connection between the lack of resources for poor and working people in the United States, and the endless resources the U.S. government spends on warfare abroad.
Organizations involved in the protest included the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Workers World Party, the Brown Berets and others.
The greatest threat in the world today? Biden and the USA!
The demonstrators gathered in front of Houston’s Galleria Mall. Several protesters stood in the middle of the crosswalk with signs reading, “$ to fix our broken pipes. Not Syrian airstrikes,” “Money for jobs & education! No more war!” and “You lied about Iraq. You lied about Afghanistan. You lied about Libya. You are lying about Syria & Iran.”
Houston’s local Free Radicals band arrived to play music, and demonstrators chanted slogans to the beat. Drivers at the busy intersection honked in a show of support and some raised their fists in solidarity. Protesters chanted, “Fix our broken pipes. No more airstrikes,” “The greatest threat in the world today? Biden and the USA,” “From Syria to Palestine, occupation is a crime,” and “When Syria is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”
One demonstrator unfurled the Iranian flag to symbolize that nation’s decades-long resistance to U.S. imperialism and aggression in the Middle East.
PSL organizer Caleb Granger spoke about the Iraqi people’s stated desire to be completely rid of U.S. occupation forces and the absurdity of its government justifying its attack on Syria based on an alleged attack by resistance fighters in Iraq:
“On January 24, 2020, millions of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad to demand an end to all U.S. military presence in their country. The U.S. military and contractors were told time and again that their refusal to leave would be met with resistance. Less than four months after this mass demonstration, the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution calling for the expulsion of all occupying forces. The resolution stated, ‘The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason.’ The Iraqi people have made it beyond clear they do not want the U.S. military occupying their country in any capacity. The U.S. refuses to listen. Occupied people have the right to resist occupation however they see fit, by any means necessary.”
Texans need relief from the pandemic and from the damage caused by Winter Storm Uri now! End U.S. imperialist warfare and use the resources to help suffering people!