[R-G] Beirut Meet Seeks Strategies to Counter U.S. Policies
furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sat Oct 16 11:33:59 MDT 2004
The Beirut Declaration: <http://www.focusweb.org/main/html/Article512.html>
Walden Bello, "Beirut 2004: A Milestone in the Global Struggle
against Injustice and War" (Speech at the Assembly on "Where Next for
the Anti-War and Anti-Globalization Movements?" Beirut, Lebanon,
Sept. 17, 2004):
<blockquote>Beirut meet seeks strategies to counter U.S. policies
3-day conference gathers 300 participants, focuses mainly on
situations in Iraq, Palestine
By Mayssam Zaaroura
Daily Star staff
Monday, September 20, 2004
Beirut meet seeks strategies to counter U.S. policies
BEIRUT: On Feb. 15, 2003, 10 to 15 million angry protesters marched
the streets of the world's major cities. The next day, The New York
Times wrote that there are "two super powers left in the world today,
the U.S. and global civil society."
Civil society is more than making its presence felt and "it is no
longer a question of whether Washington will eventually be defeated
by the Iraqi resistance, the question is how long it will hang on to
an impossible situation," according to Walden Bello, speaking at the
"Where Next for the Anti-War and Anti-Globalization Movements?"
three-day conference being held in Beirut.
The conference has gathered over 300 attendees in search of an
international strategy - "or global plan of action" - to counter the
spreading initiative of war and imperialistic, "U.S.-led
globalization" and a reply to the continuous U.S. occupation of Iraq
and its endorsement of aggressive projects in the Middle East region.
Intellectual gatherings, national Islamic political forces, human
rights associations, peace activists, cultural forums, political
parties, non-governmental organizations and delegations representing
every continent on the planet gathered at Le Bristol Hotel in Hamra
on Friday creating a multicultural hub of noise, cameras, laptops and
Some of the main figures attending the meeting included Abdel-Amir
al-Rukaby, leader of the Iraqi delegation and an intellectual who,
allegedly, was suggested as a member of an interim council before the
Iraqi war, as an alternative to the U.S.-led war against Iraq and the
Saddam Hussein regime, a retired admiral from the Indian Army turned
peace activist, Ramu Ramdas, and Dr. Nahla Chahal, a Lebanese human
rights activist from the International Civilian Campaign for the
Protection of the Palestinian People.
The conference focused on three main issues: defining the
international movement's situation, determining its strengths and
weakness and drafting a final statement regarding the movement's
course of action to be announced on Monday.
However, despite being held in Lebanon and apart from a few parties
present to welcome the delegations, there was very little - if any -
representation of the Lebanese political element.
According to participants at the conference, choosing Beirut as a
venue resulted from several factors, but mainly due to "the Lebanese
people's successful struggle against Israeli occupation and Lebanon's
experience in resisting the United States' hegemony."
The Lebanese welcoming committee included Hizbullah, The Lebanese
Communist Party, The Socialist Party, Coordination of Domestic
Association and Al-Leqaa Club.
According to Ali Fayyad, the director of the Consulting Center for
Studies and Documentation, "this conference is being held in Lebanon;
Lebanon, which has defeated the Reagan project for the Middle East in
the 1980's; and Lebanon's resistance which has liberated the land
However, delving deeper into the details of the conference, the main
struggles and debates centered on the situations in Iraq and
Palestine, with very little being said about the political upheaval
in Lebanon and Syria, with regard to the Syrian-orchestrated
parliamentary decision to extend the mandate of President Emile
Lahoud and UN Security Council Resolution 1559, passed on Sept. 2 and
opposing Syrian interference in Lebanese affairs.
"There are great expectations around the world from this meeting and
we are not here to listen to fancy words," said Salim Vally, a
member of the Anti-War Coalition of South Africa.
Quoting Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, Vally said: "Here on the
slopes of the hills, facing the dusk and canon of time, close to the
gardens of broken shadows - we cultivate hope."
Indeed the Iraqi and Palestinian delegations present appeared full of
hope and were impatient to vent some long-held helplessness and find
feasible campaigns to counter what many at the conference referred to
as the "U.S.-Israeli axis."
On Saturday, Rukaby cut a charismatic leader at the podium, as he
told the audience that, as a movement, they had failed since the last
"Last year, we were called a superpower by one of the world's leading
newspapers. Today, the Iraqi resistance stands alone in the face of
the invading forces and this movement has failed to be beside the
Iraqis in this struggle."
And as the members gathered into a quasi-round table meeting, the
main points for the action plans for the Iraqi and Palestinian
situations began to take shape.
The Palestinian delegation requested an anti-Israeli apartheid-wall
movement, an international hearing against Israeli Premier Ariel
Sharon and a march against the atrocities committed against the
As for the Iraqis, "we need a counterconference of intellectuals and
activists inside Iraq," said Rukaby. "We need a committee of lawyers
to defend the women and children in U.S. captivity and we need a
statement giving the Iraqi resistance the right to defend the land
from any occupying forces, in any way."
But the last comment drew a cacophony of protests as the issue of
Admiral Ramu Ramdas, a soft-spoken Indian, said: "The war in Iraq was
such an unnecessary war, a very illegal war. No one authorized it and
whatever system was present, it was the Iraqi people's system."
"Mahatma Gandhi used to say that 'three-quarters of the world's
problems would be solved if only you could put yourself in the shoes
of your adversary,'" he added. "The Iraqis do have a right to defend
themselves. However, while taking hostages and prisoners of war is
fine, killing the innocent and beheading them is not."</blockquote>
* Critical Montages: <http://montages.blogspot.com/>
* Greens for Nader: <http://greensfornader.net/>
* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* OSU-GESO: <http://www.osu-geso.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus:
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://www.solidarity-us.org/>
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