Letter: The people of the world say: NO war on Iran
In support of the January 25th Global Day of Action calling for No War on Iran, approximately 80 people who gathered at Castlegar United Church
urged all Federal party leaders to work to avoid a catastrophic war. They wrote:
Whereas the USA may launch a war on Iran;
Whereas such a war will involve Canada;
Whereas such a war could lead to a world nuclear war;
Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Canada and all of the opposition parties in the Parliament of Canada unanimously agree to oppose such a war;
Further be it resolved that Canada withdraw all of its armed forces from Iraq and anywhere they may be deployed in the Middle East.
The attendees learned from and were inspired by a variety of exceptional speakers, the talks interwoven with interfaith prayer and harmonious singing led by a Doukhobor choir.
One of them — Don Currie, a long standing member of the Canadian Peace Congress and the West Kootenay branch of the Southern Interior Peace Coalition — addressed “the urgent need for a Canadian foreign policy of peace.” “Another major war in the Middle East can take human civilization to the brink of world nuclear war in which case there can be no winners,” he said. Like what MP Richard Cannings wrote to the gathering, he said: “The role Canada must play is de-escalation of tensions through peace
Lamenting that the government of the USA declared it will not withdraw its forces from Iraq by 2021 as it has been asked to do by the Iraq Parliament, to applause he said “The Canadian government must respect the request of the Iraq parliament and …withdraw all Canadian troops from Iraq and wherever they may be in the Middle East. Another Afghanistan experience where Canadian armed forces were engaged in a combat role from 2001 to 2014 should not be repeated again in 2020.”
Referencing the recent history of “Canadian Government complicity in US and NATO-instigated wars of regime-change,” he claimed that “NATO is …. a war business seeking to expand the immensely profitable business of war. Wherever NATO goes, nuclear weapons go with it.”
Robert Macrae, Instructor for the Selkirk College Integrated Environmental Planning Technology Program, focused on the consequences of government expenditures on militarizing the economy at the expense of the social needs of the people and environment. Rob said that “in 2017, Justin Trudeau increased Canada’s military budget by 70%”. He provided vivid digital data confirming global military expenditures far outweighing most forms of combined global spending towards social needs. Rob said, “every time we choose to invest in the military, we lose an opportunity to invest in peace”.
Hannah Hadikin, of Canadian Voices of Women for Peace, spoke about the heart-breaking impacts of wars and conflict on women’s security. From her personal experiences and discussions with women during her travels and residence in the Middle East, Hannah underscored that “sexual violence was a tactic of war used on women and girls, constituting a war crime.” “Boys and men are not excluded from such horrific brutality”, she said.
Moving presentations were shared by local Anglican church pastor Reverend Elizabeth Huether and a Kootenay Muslim Association representative Amir Zeb who recited a prayer also spoke of personally-witnessed tragic accounts of children working long days on the streets in war-torn Afghanistan cities as they attempted to reduce family hunger and starvation following war’s destruction of infrastructure and people’s livelihoods; and JJ Verigin, President of the Kootenay Region Branch of the United Nations Association in Canada, wrapped up the event.
Laura Savinkoff, Coordinator for the Boundary Peace Initiative and B.C. Southern Interior Peace Coalition, spoke passionately about the importance and ways to daily commit towards building a living global peace movement, followed by a panel Q & A.
Following, event coordinators Nadine Podmoroff and Antoinette Halberstadt encouraged people “as groups to write to their federal MP’s and government leaders in support of this resolution”. They also recommended “alternative media sites like Democracy Now, Radio4all and The Intercept to learn more about the true costs of militarization, Canada’s actual roles in foreign affairs and what Canadians can do to help achieve peace through authentic and sincere diplomacy.”