SPEECH GIVEN BY COMMUNIST PARTY OF CANADA LEADER MIGUEL FIGUEROA AT ANTI-NATO RALLY OUTSIDE THE U.S. CONSULATE IN TORONTO, SATURDAY, MARCH 27, 1999.
[The Rally was organized by the Serbian Community and approx. 2,000
On behalf of all Canadian Communists, and all progressive-minded Canadians, all democratic Canadians, all Canadians devoted to the cause of peace, we pledge our solidarity and support to the peoples of Yugoslavia at this dark, difficult moment.
I also want to assure you that, although our voices go unreported in the mass media, and are not reflected by the parties on Parliament Hill, that millions upon millions of Canadians stand opposed to the NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, and to Canada's involvement in this brutal and barbaric act of aggression.
With every passing day, more and more Canadians want to know why we are tailing sheepishly behind this "made-in-Washington" war, instead of standing firmly for a peaceful, political settlement to the so-called "Kosovo question."
Those who support this NATO action say that, as Canadians, we must stand behind and support our troops. But this is not the issue; the issue is whether or not we as Canadians should support an illegal, immoral and totally unjustified act.
And this NATO aggression is totally unjustified. It is an injustice to the peoples of Yugoslavia who are being terrorized and even killed by these NATO attacks. This unilateral action by NATO -- one which has never been sanctioned by the United Nations -- is a flagrant violation of the national sovereignty of an independent country. It is a flagrant violation of all international law.
In fact, the United Nations has once again been sidelined by the NATO powers, which are intent on the further dismemberment of Yugoslav territory and the Western military alliance's continued expansion eastward.
Who is to blame for the current crisis? For many decades, the peoples
of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia lived together in peace and friendship.
Who was responsible for whipping up national resentments and divisions between nations and national minorities in Yugoslavia and other countries in eastern Europe? Who tried to sew distrust, and turn Serbs, Croatians, Slovenians, Bosnian Muslims, and ethnic Albanians against one another? Who used Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe, and paid agents and provocateurs to achieve these ends?
You know the answer.
And why? To weaken and divide working people, to destabilize and ultimately overthrow governments and regimes, and to restore an economic system and political order which serves the interests of capital, of the transnational corporations and big banks.
The tragedy of the former Yugoslavia has been induced at all stages by foreign interference, beginning with the German-led encouragement of the break-up of this multinational country. The proposed NATO attack and occupation of Kosovo is but the latest chapter.
That's what happened. You know from your own experience that this is
And now, after having fostered and cultivated these nationalist and reactionary movements for many years, the imperialist powers are today using these same movements as an excuse to launch this aggression, claiming that they want to avert a "humanitarian disaster."
All peoples and all nations deserve the right to full equality, to protect their national rights and cultures. And this includes the ethnic Albanians in the Kosovo region. But we must never forget who stirred up these national divisions and discord in the first place, and who continues to do so today.
The hypocrisy of the NATO powers on this question knows no bounds. They do nothing about the oppression of the Kurdish people in Turkey; about the Palestinian people who still suffer under Israeli occupation; about the people of East Timor who were forcibly annexed by the anti-communist regime in Indonesia, to give only a few examples.
Why? Because these NATO powers do not really care about national rights and equality. This is only a pretext to cover their other, more sinister motives, motives which have nothing to do with peace, but rather with extending their own power and influence to every corner of the globe.
The NATO powers, and especially the United States, want to use Yugoslavia as an example. They want to send out a message to all peoples, and to every country, that they are not only the world policeman, but also the judge and jury. And even the executioner. That any country--any people--that steps out of line, and violates their economic and strategic interests will be punished.
But the people of Yugoslavia, and the peoples of countries around the world are saying No! -- we will not be bullied or intimidated. We will not be dictated to by Washington. Mr. Clinton, the world is not your back yard, to do with as you see fit. And the people of the world are not your children, and not your prisoners.
By this action, NATO has shown its true colours. It never was, and it is not today, a "defensive shield" against the Soviet Union, or any other "evil empire" -- real or imagined. It was and is an offensive, aggressive sword to serve the expansionist interests of imperialism. This alliance is a threat to regional and world peace -- it should be dissolved at once. And it is high time that Canada, for its part, should withdraw from NATO.
Everyone wants to see a peaceful solution to the current crisis. But
real peace -- genuine peace -- cannot be achieved through threats and blackmail.
And obviously, it cannot be built at the point of a gun. Indeed, the Rambouillet process itself is an infringement of the Vienna Convention (Art 52) which states "A treaty, the signature to which has been obtained through the threat of force...is illegal and void.."
More and more voices in Russia, China, and around the world are being raised to demand an immediate end to this aggression. People are also speaking out in the NATO countries themselves, especially in Greece and Italy.
More Canadians must be urged to speak out against this outrage, this
disgrace. We know that there those who would use intimidation to silence
We see signs of that today, right here in the streets of Toronto.
But we will not be intimidated. We say firmly and loudly: Stop the aggression! End the Bombing Now!
We demand a peaceful, negotiated political solution!
NATO Out of Yugoslavia!
Canada -- Out of NATO!
Communist Party of Canada
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