Monday, March 19, 2012

Making the Chicago-Pakistan Connection

Yesterday - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - people took to the streets of the Devon neighborhood in Chicago to protest continuing U.S. wars in the Mideast and South Asia.

The occasion was the 9th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and people protested the continued U.S. presence there, even after the so-called U.S. "withdrawal" from Iraq in late 2011. There were also sizable contingents protesting U.S. threats against Iran, the continuing U.S. occupation and militarization of Afghanistan, the expanding U.S. practice of indefinite detention in places like Guantanamo, the persecution of Bradley Manning, and other U.S. abuses.

March organizer Andy Thayer (r) holds webcam to broadcast images of
participants in Chicago antiwar march to observers in Pakistan via Skype.
(Photo courtesy FJJ)

A major focus of the demonstration, however, was an undeclared U.S. war: the killing of hundreds of Pakistanis in secret attacks, principally using drones. Yesterday, people from throughout Chicago -- and especially from the Pakistani-American community -- stood up to say the drone attacks must end, and we must hold those who are responsible accountable.

It was less than two weeks ago that Chicago saw U.S. attorney general Eric Holder shock the world with his bizarre assertion that the U.S. government can -- using drones and other means -- pretty much kill whoever it wants.

"Violence toward civilians = TERRORISM.
Support the people - NOT the Pentagon!"
(Photo courtesy FJJ)

Numerous speakers at yesterday's demonstration denounced the U.S. drone attacks, and stressed the numerous ways those attacks defy morality and international law. Many people in the crowd carried anti-drone signs.

Perhaps the most important moment in yesterday's demonstration came when a Skype connection was established to peace activists in Pakistan, so that they could see the crowd of people assembled in Chicago. It is vital that we, the people, be able to communicate directly with people in other countries, and say, "We do NOT support the violent acts of the U.S. government. We are doing everything we can to resist these crimes, and we stand WITH YOU!"

I've written before about how important it is to "stand up and be counted." Yesterday, people on Devon sent a message with their presence that could be seen clear around the world.

See also . . . 

Manal Shakir: Video of the March 18, 2012, Chicago antiwar march on Devon Avenue. Our immoral drone war: Media coverage of unmanned attacks -- and the resulting civilian deaths -- miss mounting anger within Pakistan

Related posts

There can be no question but that Americans and the rest of the world will eventually wake up to the terror being inflicted in their name on Pakistanis and others. The only question that will then remain will be whether Obama, Panetta, and the whole drone "kill chain" will be prosecuted as war criminals or as ordinary criminals. (And God help them if they are condemned to the limbo of "unlawful enemy combatant" - entitled to neither civil nor military justice.)   

A September 5, 2013, U.S. drone strike in Pakistan killed six people - including Sangeen Zadran -- a "senior militant commander" who was "implicated in a long-running kidnapping drama involving an American soldier."

(See September 5 in Pakistan: Another Day, Another Drone Killing

This is not new in kind -- the U.S. dictates course of action (and inaction) to Pakistan all the time -- but in magnitude is probably the biggest thing since the Bush administration went to Musharraf shortly after 9/11 and said, "You're either with us or you're against us."

(See The $1.5 Billion Bribe: Obama Buying Cover From UN Report?