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Getting things straight on Iraq

When: Saturday, January 14, 2012, 8:00 am to 11:00 am
Where: First Parish Church • 3 Church St - Helverson Parlor • Harvard Sq T • Cambridge

Getting things straight on Iraq

A Peace Movement Briefing with Raed Jarrar and Terry Rockefeller

Raed JarrarOn Saturday afternoon January 14 from 1pm to 4pm, UJP will hold its quarterly strategy session. The key event of the day will be a briefing on just what is happening in Iraq and its implications for peace activists. The briefing will be provided by Raed Jarrar and Terry Rockefeller.

Raed Jarrar is an Iraqi-Palestinian architect, blogger and political analyst who was in Iraq during the U.S. invasion in 2003 and has recently returned from another trip. He is a former AFSC and Peace Action staff person who provided constant briefings to peace activists throughut the war as well as working with Congressman Delahunt’s office to develop opposition to the war in Congress.  He collected his and his family's blog posts into The Iraq War Blog, An Iraqi Family's Inside View of the First Year of the Occupation, published in 2008.   Read Raed's blog posts.

Terry RockefellerTerry Rockefeller is a member of Families for Peaceful Tomorrows whose sister was killed in the attacks of September 11 and a tireless worker for peace and reconciliation. Terry recently attended the Third Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI), an international conference in Erbil, northern Iraq. Under the theme “Another Iraq is Possible with Peace and Human Rights,” ICSSI was attended by about 150 Iraqi and 100 representatives of international civil society (i.e., nonprofit) organizations.

At the meeting participants discussed the challenges that Iraqi people are facing, the issues on which Iraqi civil society is now working, and the kinds of solidarity needed among Iraqi NGOs and international organizations to bring about democratic change, social justice, human rights, freedom, and dignity for all Iraqis. The specific issues addressed include a search for how to address pollution and the grave health affects due to war damages; discussions of privatization of oil resources; ongoing obstacles to having a free civil society; and Iraqis' thoughts on withdrawal of U.S. troops and the need to monitor practices of private security contractors

Listen to Terry Rockefeller’s interview with Callie Crossley on WGBH, September 7, 2011 and read the Declaration of the Erbil conference.

For over 8 years Iraq has been right at the center of peace movement activities. We have carried out untold numbers of demonstrations, congressional actions, educational events and acts of civil disobedience in our relentless campaign to end the war. United for Justice with Peace (UJP) has been at the forefront of that campaign in the Greater Boston area. On the day of the invasion in 2003 UJP carried out a significant civil disobedience action at the JFK building. Often led by Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Veterans for Peace, the peace movement’s protest of the Iraq war was critical in making the Iraq war THE national issue from 2005 until the financial meltdown in 2008. And the Iraq issue was clearly the deciding factor that gave the Democratic Party nomination to Obama over Clinton.

And now, at the very time when one of the key events of the whole Iraq war is taking place, the peace movement seems to be confused about what is happening. Some say the war is over. Others say the war continues because there are 16,000 State Department personnel -- including 8,000 armed mercenaries -- still in iraq. Some say the U.S. still has huge bases throughout Iraq. Others say the bases have been closed down. Some call the present troop withdrawal a fake. Others claim it is a victory for the peace movement. There is confusion about who controls Iraq’s oil, one of the main points of contention throughout the entire war. And then, of course, there is the issue of what will happen now in Iraq and what are the most pressing problems the country must deal with.

All those interested in Iraq, whether members of UJP groups or not, are welcome to participate. 

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