International Day of Protest
Report from: Berlin
By Hans-Peter Richer
This is my report about the Global Action Day in Germany:
On Friday October 12., three members of the Berlin peace movement (one scientist from the Berlin Institute For Transatlantic Security, and two members of the German Peace Council) had the opportunity to speak in a TV programme (Open Channel) for half an hour about NMD. We showed the brochure "Vision 2020" to the camera and explained the content. Of course we asked the audience also to join the Action Day.
On Saturday, October 13. we had three major events. Altogether 75,000 people were on the streets to express their disgust about the NMD and war generally.
The biggest demonstration was in Berlin with 50,000 participants, followed by Stuttgart with 25,000. Because of the war in Afghanistan NMD was not the main topic of this demonstrations. The slogan was: "No War - Get Up For Peace! For Solidarity And Social Justice"
In Berlin the demonstration began with three
manifestations on different
"The policy of the USA and its NATO partners including the German government surrenders completely to the military "logic". In this logic follows war to terror. The answer to the mass murder on September 11. is the "collateral" killing of innocent people. In the end this means a triumph of the "logic of violence". We fear that the spiral from terror to war, from violence to counter violence will go on and on. And this spiral will be accompanied by a new arms race, which is fueled by the US-NMD, which is senseless and unbelievable expensive. We are against the armament in the space!
We are also against the export of weapons and the production of new weapons in our country!
We are reminded of the words of the great American, and fighter for civil rights Martin Luther King, which he said more than 30 years ago: "The chain reaction of evil - hate, which create new hate, wars, which create new wars - must be broken, if not we all fall into the dark abyss of destruction" (please look for the right words, this was translated back from German!)
His speech ended with: "Today in Stuttgart 25,000 people demonstrate, anti- war demonstrations within the "Global Action Day" are in many cities in the USA, Great Britain, Australia, Italy, France, Belgium and Austria and in many other countries. And here in Berlin we are more than 50,000."
"Let us urge our demands again, which are the reasons for our peace-demonstrations today: Stop the war! Stop the terror! Get up for peace! Let us support the international solidarity and social justice - everywhere in the world, also here in our country!"
Especially for this event we were very happy to establish a coalition with 36 organisations for funding and also more than 100 other organisation for supporters. Many pupils were involved and also more than 70 universities and many opponents of globalization. This was a new coalition and maybe also the beginning of a new combined movement.
These and other wonderful pictures from: http://www.arbeiterfotografie.com/galerie/reportage/index-2001-10-13-berlin-demo-gegen-krieg-gendarm.html
Speech by Juergen Scheffran
The events of September 11 have terribly demonstrated how vulnerable our industrial society is. Military lobbyists are using the public fear about terror for their own purposes. They try to convince us that war and new weapons can protect us against terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and missile attacks. They promote the vision of the military controlling outer space in order to counter all threats on earth.
September 11 marks the complete failure of all security systems of the world's greatest military power. All intelligence and secret services, expensive reconnaissance satellites and a giant high-technology military arsenal were incapable to detect people from the neighborhood using pocket knifes to convert commercial airliners into weapons of mass destruction. The attempt to achieve security from great distance with most advanced technical systems failed miserably against a determined enemy sitting within society, waiting for the appropriate moment to attack. Contrary to the vision of a high frontier in outer space, in reality the concept of frontier becomes meaningless in an interlinked, globalized and fractal society where the threat can be everywhere and nowhere.
Nevertheless, US President George W. Bush still believes that his country can be protected by a multi-billion dollar space shield against ballistic missiles from rogue states. His Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is heading towards space weapons to prevent a Pearl Harbor in space. And the US Space Command aims at a comprehensive space dominance to control earth. The intention is to control the information flows around the globe, to achieve the capability to strike everywhere at any time, and to protect against all adverse consequences. A huge network of missile interceptors and laser weapons, military satellites and radars shall detect, pursue and destroy any threat.
In order to realize these plans Bush has recently nominated the previous director of the Space Command, Richard Myers, to become the leader of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. Instead of dreaming visions of space war, Myers now directs the attack on Afghanistan, a country which has been devastated by decades of civil war. People who until now were massacred by swords, knifes and rifles are now being attacked by laser-guided bombs which probably will not hit those responsible for the terror.
The quest for total security may lead to total control and total war. Missile defense and space dominance feed a dangerous illusion of security which prevents the search for alternatives and real solutions. Those who feel protected against any threat are tempted to continue a miserable globalization policy, to ignore poverty and hunger, environmental destruction and climate change, scarcity of energy and water in the world. Similar to the attacks on Afghanistan, which sow new terror and drive the chain of violence, the attempt to control earth from space provokes feelings of powerlessness. Despair, anger and hate create the breeding ground for terrorism.
Promoting missile defense and space war adds fuel to the flames of conflict, heats the arms race on earth and in space, provokes instabilities in crisis regions of the Middle East, South Asia and North-East Asia, wastes valuable resources which are required to solve global problems. The destruction of existing arms control and disarmament treaties, including START II, the ABM Treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Biological Weapons Convention, ultimately will strike back to the USA. What they do, others can claim for themselves.
Many have dreamt of invulnerability in history but noone ever reached it. Sometimes it is the recognition of the own vulnerability that requires conflict resolution, the settlement of disputes and agreement. The people in Central Europe had to live over four decades of the Cold War with the worst of all threats: complete nuclear annihilation. Inspired by the peace movement and Gorbachev's New Thinking they learned that only a policy of common security and disarmament could bring peace to Europe. The history of Berlin clearly demonstrates that walls do not exist forever, that parts of the world can neither be excluded nor confined.
Power projection into space and anti-terror wars cannot provide true security. The alternatives are clear and simple: avoid threats before they emerge; dry out the causes of terror; cut the instruments of violence and destruction. To be specific, it is essential to improve international control of missiles and space weapons, of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, leading towards their ultimate elimination and prohibition. Here Europe can be a leader instead of following the US in military strikes. In addition, the possible motivations and the social conditions of terrorism have to be tackled. Sustainable peace requires a broad basis within society which includes the well-being of all people. This is the best way to undermine the sources and resources of terror.
Juergen Scheffran is physicist, co-founder
of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against
Proliferation (INESAP) and editor of the INESAP Information Bulletin at the
Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany. (firstname.lastname@example.org,