U.S. anti-war activist on speaking tour, tells of meeting with Iraqi resistance

by staff |
June 16, 2007
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In March, U.S. antiwar activist and Freedom Road Socialist Organization member Kosta Harlan attended a historic international solidarity conference in Italy with leaders of the Iraqi resistance ( see “Voices of the Iraqi Resistance,” Fight Back!, March 2007). Since returning to the United States, Harlan has traveled to college campuses and cities across the South, speaking to hundreds of students and antiwar activists about the Iraqi resistance. He spoke at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, Chapel Hill, and Charlotte; at Winthrop University in South Carolina; at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and at community centers in Winston-Salem and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The international solidarity conference in Italy was the first time that leaders of the Iraqi resistance were able to speak in the West about their struggle for national liberation. Leaders and representatives of the resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine also spoke about their fight against Zionism and U.S. imperialism.

Discussing the speaking tour, Harlan told Fight Back!, “My aim in these talks was to bring the perspective of the Iraqi resistance to the American people. Bush, the Republicans, the Democrats and the corporate media - all they talk about are ‘terrorists’ in Iraq. Resistance to imperialism is not ‘terrorism.’ Americans need to know these are brave, dignified people fighting for freedom. Iraqis are defending their homes and families, fighting to liberate their country, fighting for justice.”

Audiences applauded in support of the Iraqi resistance at all the events. At Winthrop University, 75 people attended, including a few from the Army. Several of the soldiers expressed agreement that the resistance was just. “One woman in the National Guard told me, ‘We are occupying their country, we don’t have any right to be there, and we would be fighting too if our country was occupied.’”

“One of the questions people asked me was about the sectarian fighting in Iraq,” Harlan said. “The Iraqi resistance leaders at the conference said there was no such thing as ‘sectarian civil war’ in Iraq. They said sectarianism was the work of the occupation, who aim to ‘divide and conquer’ Iraqis.”

Harlan continued, “Army statistics show an average of 185 attacks every single day by resistance forces. Of that, 75% of the attacks are against U.S. troops, and 17% against the puppet army and police. Civilians are affected in 8% of the attacks. When 92% of the resistance attacks are against occupation forces, it is clear that ‘civil war’ is a myth. I told audiences what the resistance leaders told me: the lie of ‘civil war’ in Iraq is government propaganda used to justify and cover up the awful reality of the U.S. occupation. Having heard about the Iraq war from the side of the resistance, most people at the talks agreed with this view.”

Meanwhile the U.S. occupation of Iraq continues to deteriorate, as the Iraqi resistance goes from strength to strength. The U.S. military recently admitted they control less than 40% of Baghdad, the decisive city in the Iraq war, and the latest Pentagon report to Congress says the fighting has increased in intensity since the beginning of Bush’s troop ‘surge’ in February. “Now more than ever, anti-war activists need to raise political support for the Iraqi resistance,” said Harlan. “Each day that passes is a crime. We need to put the pressure on and demand U.S. out of Iraq now.”