Text: Maria Worton
This is a farewell kiss, you dog! This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.
Here in Montreal, on December 20th, Block the Empire, a local collective working against occupation and exploitation, rallied local people, independent media and activists, to hurl shoes in support of Muntadar al-Zeidi’s right not to tolerate the intolerable: the one million Iraqis, many of whom children, killed; the millions still suffering the illnesses, displacement, and violence caused by Western weapons and war; the daily plunder of Iraq’s resources. They threw too in protest at Canada’s part in all of this.
At the doors of the US Consulate and the Canadian Forces Recruitment Centre, shoes of all sizes, were thrown with two collective aims: to take apart a war criminal and to directly highlight the Harper government’s complicity in the war.
Current Western military operations in Afghanistan are part of the same war launched with Operation Enduring Freedom in the aftermath of September 11. Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan, under NATO and US command, must share some responsibility for the 11,000 Afghanis killed and the many maimed and made refugees in their own land. The highly destructive nature of search and kill missions continue to drive villagers into the ranks of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, while Canada’s participation in the occupation of Afghanistan has made more US troops available for the war in Iraq. Now that the Obama administration plans to escalate the military occupation of Afghanistan, the situation for Afghanis hardly appears set to improve.
The war in Afghanistan is the same war in Iraq to secure and plunder resources. Afghanistan is mineral rich and Canada is a miner in search of rich pickings. Canada now ranks 6th among NATO’s member states for military spending and is a major military power, ready and able to throw its weight around. In 2008 Canada’s war spending in Afghanistan amounts to $1.915 billion; only a minute fraction of which has gone to the reconstruction that the Canadian government has promised.
The shoe action of December 20th stood and threw in opposition to the terrible US occupation of Iraq and also to Canada’s participation in waging terror upon local folk in Afghanistan.
Here are photos by Darren Ell of Montreal’s Shoe Action:
All images: © Darren Ell 2008