The Socialist Alliance and its youth wing, Resistance, expresses our solidarity with the people of Paris and Beirut who were targeted in back-to-back acts of terror by ISIS forces in the past few days.
In Paris, coordinated bombing and shootings at six separate locations on November 14 killed 129 people and injured 200 others. In Beirut, 43 people were killed and more than 200 injured in two suicide bomb attacks just 24 hours earlier.
We condemn these acts of violence.
Furthermore, we condemn any attempts by politicians, governments, the corporate media and others to use these attacks to whip up hysteria and racism, including the incitement to violence against Muslims and refugees. Solidarity with Muslim communities, migrants and refugees is needed more than ever, especially when far right, racist and nationalist forces are also seeking to exploit these events to build support for their politics of hatred and fear.
These latest acts of terror must not be allowed to justify ongoing and new imperial wars, tougher anti-refugee and anti-immigrant laws and anti-democratic “security” laws and repression of democratic rights.
In response to the attacks in Paris, people opened their homes to the traumatised and wounded. Taxi drivers ferried people home for free. People queued to donate blood. There has been international condemnation, statements from Western leaders, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and a global outpouring of sympathy and symbolic acts of solidarity across the globe.
The same level of response from the West did not follow the immediate aftermath of the bombings in Beirut (often called the ‘Paris of the middle east’). But people’s lives matter as much in Paris as they do in Beirut or Syria or Iraq. Perhaps this latest attack in the heart of Europe has, at least, made the horror inflicted on the people of Beirut and the Middle East more difficult to ignore.
Terrorist forces such as ISIS and Al Qaeda are the products of decades of Western imperialist intervention and occupation in the Middle East. These same Western governments have been responsible for more bloodshed across the region than ISIS. In Iraq, for example, where more than half a million have been killed since the 2003 invasion and the society largely destroyed, the kind of extreme fundamentalist terror represented by ISIS was unknown prior to the invasion and occupation by the US and its allies.
At the time of the invasion of Iraq, both Western intelligence agencies and the millions of people who marched against war warned that this military intervention would only create more terror. They have been proven correct and it is the people of Paris, Beirut, Syria and Iraq who are paying the price.
The Kurdish resistance to ISIS with its democratic, multi-ethnic and feminist revolution in Rojava serve as a counter-example to Western imperialist military intervention in the Middle East. These resistance fighters show the way forward: to defeat ISIS, as illustrated by the recent Kurdish-led victory in liberating the city of Shinjar; and to building a democratic, secular and progressive Middle East – an outcome that ongoing Western imperialist intervention has failed to achieve.
* * *
On November 22 in cities around Australia, anti racists will be mobilising to defend the rights of refugees, Muslim communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These demonstrations have been organised as counter protests to nationally coordinated actions by Reclaim Australia, a racist group targeting Muslim communities.
Details of November 22 Anti racist counter protests
Adelaide. 10am, Parliament House, Adelaide.
Brisbane. 12pm, Emma Miller Place, Brisbane.
Canberra. 12pm, Parliament House, Canberra.
Hobart. 1pm, Franklin Square, Hobart.
Melbourne. 11am, Melton City Council Building, High St Melton.
Newcastle & Cessnock. 11am, outside Cessnock Performing Arts Centre.
Perth. 11am, Parliament Place, West Perth.
Sydney. 12pm, Martin Place (Macquarie St end), Sydney.