This is a reflection received from Ciaron O'Reilly, Catholic Peace Activist.
Can we move from co-dependent protest to nonviolent resistance to this war?
George Bush has now departed on Air Force 1, another plane carrying 600 security and staffers, another plane carrying 10 bomb proof limos and also Doomsday Plane with 100 military ready to fight a nuclear war have gone. The emperor was in town, the paradigm has shifted in terms of what Australians are willing to live with in terms of the shrinking of civil liberties.
The 5km security fence is coming down. I attended the anti-war/APEC march on Saturday in Sydney. Freshly purchased water cannon deployed, robo cops in latest combat designer wear shoulder to shoulder with taser and mace, snipers on the roof and hanging out of choppers, the massive fear generating propoganda effort of the previous weeks had kept the Muslim community and many others away from paractising their democratic rights of dissent. See http://sydney.indymedia.org.au//
The crowd was passive, but the pumped up cops could not help themselves picking a few stragglers off at the start of the march and attacking the International Socialists rallying in the park. One Wobbly from Melbourne was picked up and extradited, he is still in custody.
On Saturday night I attended a wedding, a young man was about to be deployed to Afghanistan, two Labor ministers were seated at my table. It's a small world.
On Sunday, I walked in town and came across a group of gentle hippies with a drum who had been ordered out of the CBD. I made it all the way to the fence passed by squads of 12 cops marching through the ghost town of the city in formation. I had lunch in Hyde Park and was passed by three more squads marching around in circles in the empty park. I then headed to the Domain where Speakers Corner has operated since the 1870's. I got on a box and gave out with a chopper hovering above. Two ladies from Limerick stopped and remembered our effort at Shannon www.peaceontrial.com
Conservative PM Howard is on his way out. Labor leader Rudd on his way in claiminng an anti-war position in this most unpopular of wars where OZ troops have been deployed to Iraq without casualties thus far. Rudd met with Bush and assured him that although he would be withdrawing the 700 ground troops in a year's time (because it is all about preserving Australian lives not Iraqi) he will be leaving 700 Australian naval and air force personell in the theatre to help out with the U.S. indiscriminate bombing and killing of Iraqis. Pine Gap the NSA targetting base near Alice Springs is the most significant Australian military contribution to the war on iraq and does not rate a mention, it does not appear on the political radar. The irony deepens as Rudd parades Peter Garrett lead singer of the most popular and most left mainstream rock band of the '80's/'90's. He is a dissident cultural symbol that has made his peace with the presence of U.S. warfighting bases and the sale of Australian uranium to anyone who is buying.
The most dramatic act of resistance in the past week came from a popular comedy team The Chaser who dacced (pulled the trousers down) on the multimillion dollar security effort. Dressed as Bin Laden and with Canadian flags on their limos they were waved through 2 security checkpoints and the story went world wide........the Emperor Has No Clothes!
Security does not come from waging illegal wars abroad and crushing civil liberites at home. Security comes from building peace and justice. A project Emperor Bush, present Prime Minister Howard and it looks like PM in waiting Rudd has no interest in. The state of the anti-war movement is not good. Can we move form co-dependent protest into proactive and nonviolent resistance in the spirit of Ghandi, King, the Pine Gap 4 www.pinegap6.org the dissidents in the military www.ivaw.org , those resisting in the U.S. www.jonahhouse.org ? That will depend on how serious we are about ending this war