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Medea Benjamin speaks in south Florida on U.S., Saudi relationship

By Cassia Laham |
August 22, 2016
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Miami, FL - About 30 anti-war activists in South Florida gathered together, Aug. 18, to hear Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin speak about her new book, Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S-Saudi Connection. Miami was Benjamin’s first stop on a tour meant to increase awareness and create more dialogue around the ties between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

Kingdom of the Unjust, largely centers around the human rights abuses and war crimes committed by the Saudi government, and how the U.S. supports, utilizes, and defends those actions. Benjamin spoke about the millions of dollars’ worth of weapons the U.S. sells to Saudi Arabia each year, their mutual interests in the Middle East, as well as their involvement in American politics.

Her book and the tour itself could not have come at a more opportune time. Over the last five years, the Saudis have not only exported weapons and money to terrorist groups throughout the Middle East fighting in Syria, Iraq and Libya. These Saudi-backed groups have created violence and chaos throughout the region which has killed hundreds of thousands.

Benjamin talked of the current waves of illegal bombing raids the Saudi government is conducting against the people of Yemen. These strikes have targeted schools, hospitals and heavily populated neighborhoods, killing thousands of civilians. Yet despite these horrific war crimes, the U.S. continues to support their regime.

Several progressive groups came together to discuss these topics with Benjamin, including the Green Party of Miami and People’s Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR). The audience was able to ask questions and give input during the event.

“In her lucid presentation, Medea dismantled false dominant paradigms about the U.S.'s interests in the Middle East,” said Carlos Valnera of POWIR.

“It was important for Benjamin to speak in south Florida to inspire a new wave of peace and justice activists to get mobilized,” said David Gibson of Peace, Justice and Sustainability Florida. “She supported current activists who continue to work for positive change and informed us on the coming struggles so we can organize a powerful and effective response to the abuses of those currently in power.”