[act-ma] Sept. 28 forum: Eyewitness Syria: Report Back from IAC Ramsey Clark - Cynthia McKinney delegation

iacboston at iacboston.org iacboston at iacboston.org
Fri Sep 27 11:04:44 PDT 2013

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SAT • SEPT 28 • 4 pm

ACTION CENTER - 284 Amory St, Jamaica Plain, MA (near Stonybrook on Orange Line)
HEAR Sara Flounders International Action Center co-director and WWP Secretariat
member, give a talk and show video footage on her recent trip to Syria as part
of an U.S. anti-war delegation that included former U.S. Attorney General,
Ramsey Clark; former Georgia Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney; IAC West Coast
director, John Parker and others


The anti-war delegation visited Syria the week of Sept. 16 to see for themselves
what is happening there. The delegation included human rights lawyer and former
U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark; Cynthia McKinney, a former six-term
congressperson from Georgia; Dedon Kamathi of the All-African People’s
Revolutionary Party and Pacifica Radio; and Johnny Achi of Arab Americans 4
Syria in Los Angeles. The International Action Center, which pulled together the
delegation, sent key organizers John Parker from Los Angeles and Sara Flounders
from New York.

Below are reports from the delegation, condensed from emails and a phone
interview conducted by Andrea Sears of WBAI radio with Flounders and Syrian
youth organizer Ogarit Dandash. It can be heard online at leftvoices.net

Sara Flounders: “Today [Sept. 17], we are visiting a youth resistance encampment
called Over Our Dead Bodies on Qasioun Mountain. It is the site of TV and
communication towers overlooking Damascus. This is a human shield commitment
made by hundreds of youth every day and at least 100 every night against U.S.
bombing. It was begun two weeks ago, when it seemed a U.S. strike was imminent.

“What we’re involved in on this trip is people-to-people resistance, meeting
people from neighborhood defense teams, also meeting people at a displaced
persons center whose homes had been destroyed by the U.S.-supported rebel

“Today, we visited such a center of about 300 people — 65 families in a public
school in the Mezzeh neighborhood of Damascus. Families of from six to 10 people
share one classroom. It is crowded! But at least families are assured shelter,
good food for the kids, medical care and meds, and classes.

“We also visited a military hospital where victims of gas attacks and sniper and
shrapnel fire were being treated.

“We earlier had a meeting with the Grand Mufti of Syria. He is the top Sunni
religious leader and stands with the government in defense of a secular state
for all religions. Because of his position and because he refused to join the
Islamic right-wing jihadists, his son was publicly assassinated almost two years

“He had planned to visit the U.S. this past summer to hold meetings with many
Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders on the importance of a society
based on tolerance. But the U.S. denied his visa.

“Day and night, we hear the boom of civil defense mortars and some heavy
explosives, but most parts of Damascus are secure. It is a beautiful, modern,
clean city with wide boulevards. Everything here is still well lit, even street
lights all functioning. The infrastructure is pretty incredible. The housing
blocks everywhere we have been are very modern. Everywhere are Syrian flags and
enormous patriotic fervor.

“Women are especially outspoken about what is at stake here, when they compare
it to what the future holds in Iraq or Libya.”

Ogarit Dandrash: “I am usually a journalist, but now I am an activist. The
experience in Iraq has taught us. We don’t trust the U.S. government. Only when
the Syrian government says we have an agreement and it is safe now will we go
back to our schools or our jobs. Until then, we will stay at the encampment

John Parker: “There was great relief when it seemed that President Obama had
called off the attack. But over the last few days, Obama and Secretary of State
John Kerry have made it clear that an attack is not off the table. A U.S. attack
on Syria would destroy what is a very modern, developed country with results
like what we’ve seen already in Iraq and Libya, which once had the highest
standard of living in Africa and is now in chaos.”

Delegation members have played a big role in organizing anti-war actions in the
U.S. since the U.S. government began threatening Syria during the last week of
August. They intend to use their experience in Syria to strengthen their
anti-war organizing among the U.S. population, which is overwhelmingly opposed
to U.S. military action against Syria.

Endorsed by International Action Center, Boston Fanmi Lavalas, Bishop Filipe
Teixeira OFSJC, Minister Don Muhammad Nation of Islam Mosque #11, Women's
Fightback Network, Stonewall Warriors, Workers World Party (list in formation.
TO ENDORSE, call 617-286-6574 or email iacboston at organizerweb.org,)

c/o Action Center
284 Amory St
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(near Stonybrook on Orange Line)
iacboston at organizerweb.org
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