Meredith Aby of the Twin Cities based Anti-War Committee delivered this speech at the Iran in the Crosshairs event on October 19, 2012
It is important that we are here today. As our speakers have explained the threat of war with Iran is REAL. I would argue the war has already begun with the sanctions that are already in place. But the reality is people’s lives are at stake.
Representative Ellison today articulated the atmosphere in Washington. We have a critical role to play in changing the atmosphere in Washington. Minnesotans as a population are an overwhelmingly peaceful people who are very war weary. We don’t want another war. We remember the lessons from the war on Iraq. We don’t buy into the weapons of mass destruction propaganda. Despite this the majority of the MN Congressional delegation have not been vocal in opposing the steps towards war with Iran and they won’t be unless we make this an issue they have to respond to. We need to mobilize the constituencies of WAMM, Vets for Peace, the MN Alliance of Peacemakers, the MN Peace Action Coalition, and the Anti-War Committee to pressure our representatives in Washington and demand that they advocate for peace with Iran.
When we have these conversations with members of the peace movement and with members of Congress it is important to not just speak about peace in general terms. Everyone supports peace – or claims to. Instead we need to be clear we support a policy of non-intervention. The US should not be intervening in Iran. That means not using Israel as a proxy, that means not sending in spies or supporting armed groups to kill Iranian scientists, that means not threatening the use of force against Iran, that means not supporting sanctions in lieu of or leading up to war.
We need to challenge the racist and imperialist notion that the US gets to decide what will make the world safe when in fact the US is the most dangerous country in the world. We need to challenge the notion that other countries don’t need or deserve nuclear weapons (regardless of whether we even like nuclear weapons) when in reality it is the US and its ally Israel that terrorize and intimidate countries and make them want nuclear weapons so that they will be safe. The world would be safer if the US didn’t have nuclear weapons, if the US didn’t threaten other countries, if the US wasn’t an occupier.
This is not an easy task. Currently there is a growing interest in finger pointing at other countries, which is encouraged by leaders of both parties, but we in the peace movement have an important role. We need to be the voice of conscience for the US. We need to be the voice of solidarity. We need to be a part of changing the conversation from blaming Iran to holding up a mirror to the US.
We need to be a voice for peace and justice. We cannot be passive. We cannot assume that our leaders will “do the right thing”. The threat of war and the impact of sanctions already in place on Iran are very real. When we are silent we send a message that the status quo is acceptable and we know that there is a real possibility of war and we can’t be quiet about this. Please think about what you or your organization can do with this information from this panel today. We need people to show an increasing level of opposition to war with Iran. This can be expressed by coming to the bridge on Wednesday, organizing a meeting with your member of Congress, calling for a call in day to Congress, organizing a street protest, writing letters to the editor in opposition to war, going to campaign events and asking questions about what they will do to stop war threats and sanctions on Iran. We need you all to raise the demand of no war with Iran on a national and state level. Thank you for your help with this.
The people of Iran are under attack. What do we do? Stand up, fight back!