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World Hunger Strike Day Against US Star Wars -Report, Photos, Video
anti-war / imperialism |
Monday June 23, 2008 23:49 by Damien Moran and Tony Robinson (European Peace Action)
Miaou after he had just broken his Anti-Star Wars solidarity fast
In a brave act of feline solidarity, my cat ever-hungry cat, Miaou, fasted on Sunday against the demented US Star Wars plans for Poland and the Czech Republic. Unfortunately he only survived about 10 minutes, then started eating a cheesecake, so I then took over for him and carried out our relay effort. Relay hunger strikes have been ongoing since I lasted posted on Indymedia (http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87739) about Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar, the Humanist Czech hunger strikers spearheading the nonviolent activism against the proposed US Missile Defence Radar for Brdy, near Prague. They started their hunger strike on May 13th, ending on June 2nd, calling on other members of civil society to take up the strike and other forms of resistance to military expansionism
Below my introductory comments to this issue, which I hope brings people up to speed on some of the current developments, you will find some more background to the initiative, called by Czech campaigners, and some interesting links to videos on the US Missile Defence system and ongoing resistance, photos and messages from the hunger strikers, the online petition approaching 200,000 signatures, other forms of resistance against US missiles bases worldwide, etc.
On July 10th Condi Rice is due to sign an agreement with the Czech gv. giving the green light for the radar element. The US still hope that Poland will drop it's huge demands for modernisation of it's armed forces in return for consent to host 10 ground based interceptors, ostensibly to defend the US against rogue states, Iran and North Korea, but from the point of view of someone who doesn't have their head up their arse, it is about spreading the tentacles of the US military empire onto the doorstep of it's former nemesis, Russia.
Why fast? Well Sunday, June 22nd, was declared by our Czech colleagues as World Hunger Strike Day Against Star Wars - sensibly calling on financial resources to be divested from the US missile defence programme, and militarism in general, and to be directed towards addressing real human needs - food, education, health, sustainable environment, etc. Their nonviolent efforts have huge support amongst the Czech public and it is still quite possible that the agreement between the US and the Czech gvt. will not be ratified by parliament. The gvt. have a very slim majority in parliament and it seems that the Greens may hold the voting balance, which from our own recent experience in Ireland doesn't bode very well.
Greenpeace anti-radar campers were recently evacuated from the Brdy site where the radar is due to be built.
Resistance in Poland is less well organised but nevertheless protests are ongoing, the public are passively against developments, and more importantly, at the first demonstration to be held at the proposed site for the missiles, staged by a wide variety of anarchist groups, public support was overwhelming, giving credence to polls which have been conducted amongst the local population and show strong opposition to their area being used to host another empire's missiles. Repression against a wide range of progressive activists is quite intense here and so 23 participants in this action were brutally arrested and have ongoing court cases based on bogus charges.
For more information on the nature of the arrests read the thread linked to above and to get updates on the status of the accused please contact Anarchist Solidarity and Anarchist Black Cross who are trying to help - if you are rich and feeling generous or just have some spare change in your pocket you can send a donation for legal help - just contact email@example.com
During that demonstration at the end of March in Northern Poland a solidarity vigil was held in Dublin - photos and report here:
The most recent developments concerning Poland and this issue is the fact that the US are now conducting negotiations with Lithuania on the possibilities of hosting the interceptors. Most political commentators agree that this is an exercise intended to put pressure on the Polish gvt. to play ball and let go of their huge demands for weapons, including Patriot missiles.
Anti-war campaigners were recently given a huge boost by the raytheon 9 victory (http://www.raytheon9.org), the defeat of the Lisbon Treaty, New Zealand Ploughshares activists pulverising radar domes with a big kick in the balls (http://cia.bzzz.net/us_spy_base_in_new_zealand_gets_a_b...lls_0) while an Italian court has just stopped the planned construction of a US missile base in Vicenza, Italy (http://cia.bzzz.net/italian_court_blocks_construction_o..._base)
So do please read on to find out more about this initiative, videos against Star Wars, photos and comments from participants in the June 22nd fast.
The following is an original article by Tony Robinson from European Peace Action, which I brushed up to make it more time relevant
On the 2nd June, after 21 days, Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar suspended their hunger strike. The protest against the proposed US Star Wars system for Poland and the Czech Republic continues, however, in the form of a relay in the Czech Republic with the participation of politicians, scientists and artists, etc.
Video message by Jan Tamas: http://nenasili.cz/en/1527_video-message-from-jan-tamas...otest
To give more force to this great non-violent protest, the Czech campaigners launched a Worldwide 1-Day Hunger Strike today, June 22nd, proposing a simple but significant gesture: let’s not eat for one day to oppose Star Wars and say to the world powers: “Stop feeding the war machine and start feeding the people!”
The Czech campaigners declared that it’s scandalous one thousand million dollars are destined to military spending, when with different choices this money could solve the problems of hunger, lack of education and the environment.
Here you can look at photos and messages from the hunger strike participants who came from varied ages and backgrounds: http://nenasili.cz/en/1494_worldwide-hunger-strike-22th...-2008
If you’d like more information please get in contact or read more here:
In Italy, Giorgio Schultze started a hunger strike on the 1st of June and suspended it on the 13th of June in Brussels where, together with Jan Tamas, he met with Luisa Morgantini – Vice-President of the European Parliament and many other MEPs (Members of the European Parliament). On the 9th of July, there will be a meeting and press conference in Strasbourg with MEPs opposed to the Star Wars project. He will present the signatures gathered by the on-line petition: A great opportunity to redouble our efforts and reach 200,000 signatures!
Giorgio Schultze and Jan Tamas will participate in the European Humanist Forum “The Strength of Nonviolence” in Milan, Italy on the 17th, 18th and 19th of October where they will be guest-speakers on the Disarmament panel. For more information about the forum see the website: http://www.humanistforum.eu and download the monthly bulletin.
The bulletin is also available in French, Spanish and Italian.
Colleagues in the US also staged their protest on June 22nd: http://nenasili.cz/en/1481_world-wide-hunger-strike-on-...he-us
Video about “Star Wars” (reduced version of 10 minutes): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2NN_1ihgEs&feature=user
Here is the 20 minute version: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-69857570202781...hl=en
Support this campaign by letting your friends know, in your city, among organisations and the media. Only with everyone’s help can we change the future, a future that is today in the hands of a few unscrupulous crazy people.
To get more information on European Peace Action please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or check their website at http://www.europeanpeaceaction.org/
For English info. on the ongoing Czech campaign: http://www.nonviolence.cz and http://www.nezakladnam.cz/en/
For English info. on the ongoing Polish campaign against Star Wars: http://www.cia.bzzz.net and http://www.m29.bzzz.net
By 2013 the US would like to be planting their missiles on this land in Redzikowo, Northern Poland. Residents still remember clearly when the Russians left this former military base 20 years ago with their missiles
Preparations are under way for November 14/5th European Direct Actions Against Militarisation