New Year’s Message from IAC founder Ramsey Clark
2012 marks 20 years of activism!
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As it enters its twentieth year, the International Action Center can count a long list of major and increasing initiatives and contributions it has made in the struggle against militarism, authoritarianism, and economic exploitation at home and abroad.
Its story begins with the U.S. assault on Iraq – the six-week Gulf War which devastated the country with more than 100,000 aerial sorties, unleashing 88,500 tons of explosives, equivalent to more than six Hiroshima atomic bombs, inflicted on top of genocidal sanctions which deprived the people of life-saving and supporting imports from abroad.
The IAC took key delegations of Americans to Iraq between 1991 and 2003, the year of George Bush’s “Shock and Awe” invasion seeking, he said, Iraq’s non-existent nuclear weapons. They saw the deaths and destruction inflicted by the U.S. on an ancient people while also taking infant formula and medicines to children and the elderly, the principal victims of the sanctions, which took another million lives.
U.S. troops are finally forced to withdraw from Iraq by January 1, 2012. They leave behind a million widows, several million orphans, 2 million refugees in neighboring Syria, Jordan, and Iran, more than 3 million internal refugees, and ever-present fear of death-dealing violence throughout the country every day.
In the meanwhile “the longest U.S. war,” Afghanistan — if one ignores its wars against Native Americans and Latin Americans, which coursed through two centuries, and the Cold War with the Soviet Bloc, one of history’s greatest crimes, winds down as the U.S. withdraws leaving another devastated and divided people. And the U.S. struggles to recapture its surrogate control of Egypt and Tunisia, seemingly lost to the Arab Spring, place its surrogates in Syria and Yemen and retain them in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and again recapture Iran as during its quarter-century dominion under the Shah.
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During all these 20 years, the IAC has been on the cutting edge of the global struggle between war, or peace; exploitation, or sharing; force and fear, or justice; cunning, or candor, with a keener understanding of the nature and causes of war, violence, poverty, hunger, bigotry and injustice.
Its many books and other publications include “The Children Are Dying,” “Metal of Dishonor,” and “Haiti: A Slave Revolution” and others. They provide a major roadmap of the greatest global crimes and cruelties of the last 20 years, prologue to the future, and how to prevent the tragedies of the past.
In the first week of 2011, the IAC had a delegation in Gaza, where the beleaguered, undaunted Palestinian people are under daily attack. We saw hospitals, damaged, without sufficient beds, or essential equipment and medicines, students and faculties, learning and teaching under threat of attack.
We brought galley proofs of a book, in which the IAC contributed, “Gaza: Symbol of Resistance,” published in the spring.
As in each of its 20 years, the IAC was busier, coping with more violence and injustice than the year before and more challenging for its organizers.
The IAC held, or participated in, protests more than once a week in major cities across the U.S. this year. During the devastating U.S. and NATO assaults on Libya, the IAC worked daily at fever pitch. Libya, whose people, barely 6 million, had the highest living standard in Africa – highest per capita income, best health care, education, housing, and contributed more to the desperately poor of sub-Sahara Africa, pressing harder than any for an African Union capable of liberating the continent from crushing poverty and exploitation.
The IAC organized and attended more than weekly demonstrations across the country protesting the armed aggression, publicized former Rep. Cynthia McKinney’s heroic reporting from Tripoli and participated in her subsequent U.S. tour of protest. Finally, Libya’s oil was wrested from its people’s control at devastating cost in life and property.
The year ended with a major IAC role in an international conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh, headed by its co-coordinator, Sara Flounders, which I was unable to attend. Bangladesh, with more than 100 million Muslims, is part of near half a billion Muslim population in Southeast Asia, far from the Arab world.
The International Action Center is an all-volunteer organization. It has no payroll. Its members feel rewarded beyond salary. Many work very hard at every opportunity. We hope to expand our membership to have greater impact.
Join now, if you haven’t already. And contribute to help meet the high costs of travel, mobilizing for activities, conferences, research, informative emails, and publications – and share in the palpable exhilaration of being part of the solution to the daunting global problems facing humankind.
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