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> I profoundly disagree with Alan Bates’ statement that “the primary responsibility > for the suffering of the Iraqi people lies with Saddam Hussein” This question came up during the 1991 protests against the gulf war. When some voices claimed that the biggest threat to the middle east was Bush and Major, this was taken to be some kind of rhetorical figure, not the literal truth. Leaving aside whether it's true or not, UK sanctions are killing Iraqis, and we in the UK are in a position to oppose our own government. CASI can do nothing at all about Saddam, and in any case focussing on the 'foreign foe' just takes our eye off the ball - the cynical 'British interest' of nice cuddly Clare Short, Jack Straw, and all those other former CND members. > Finally, please let me state my opposition to “direct action”/ individual acts of > heroism and sacrifice, a la Andrea Needham’s paint job in Whitehall. My > opposition is purely tactical. There are no short cuts. Such actions lead the > most self-sacrificing and militant defenders of the Iraqi people away from the > course of mobilising masses of people in peaceful and disciplined protest. You're right in a sense - there's nothing bloody marvellous about going to prison. But if Andrea et al were carrying out 'individual acts', then so are the pathetically few protesters who stand in Whitehall every monday. When you look at it this way, the issue doesn;t seen to be one of numbers, or even effectiveness, but what the public will think. We can't abandon people in our movement just because of what the public will think; the public has already forgotten them. Real campaigns have room for all-comers - impatient hot-heads who want everything NOW as well as sobre Tony Benn asking pertinent questions in the House. Criticise by all means, but give practical support to the prisoners, rather than pretend that we have nothing to do with them. The aguments about peaceful vs. violent will go on; if the stakes are high, then the most 'peaceful and disciplined' protest will be described as violent by the media, as any trade unionist knows. In England and Wales, 12 people standing on one spot can get a very long sentence for Riot. j vernon -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html