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GABRIELA NETWORK STATEMENT ON THE 4TH ANNIV. OF THE INVASION OF IRAQ

by GABRIELA Network Sunday, Mar. 18, 2007 at 11:33 PM
losangeles@gabnet.org PO Box 3032; Cerritos, CA 90703-3032

GABRIELA NETWORK STATEMENT ON THE 4TH ANNIV. OF THE INVASION OF IRAQ. 19 March 2007.

GABRIELA NETWORK STATEMENT ON THE 4TH ANNIV. OF THE INVASION OF IRAQ. 19 March 2007.

Reference: Dorotea Mendoza, Secretary General, GABRIELA Network

Tel.: 1 212 592 3507; Email: secgen@gabnet.org

March 19, 2007, marks the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Five years ago the Philippines became the 2nd front

on the “war on terror.” Four months before that Afghanistan was attacked. The US-led so-called “war on terror” is

closing in on its sixth year. The countless devastating events during these years have confirmed what GABRIELA

Network and others in the anti-war movement have been saying all along. It is clear that George W. Bush and

company are not looking to import democracy; they intend to mold the entire world into one that fits their

political and socio-economic interests.

The “war on terror” has given rise to intense militarization, not democracy. For countries like Afghanistan, the

Philippines and Iraq this has meant tens of thousands of non-combatant men and women killed, hundreds of thousands

displaced. For women and girls this militarization has meant ruthless violence and exploitation. In Iraq Abeer Hamza, a

14-year old girl, was raped, killed and burned by US soldiers. Also in Iraq three members of the Iraqi police force are

accused of raping 20 year-old Sabrine al-Janabi. In the Philippines, a US GI was found guilty of raping 22 year-old

Nicole. Around the bases in Iraq, brothels disguised as massage parlors and beauty salons offer Filipinas and other East

Asian women for the military’s rest and recreation.

Cheapened life, not democracy, is sure to be a legacy of the “war on terror.” An entire generation is learning that

human life is worthless. Children in the Philippines have witnessed their parents and siblings killed, their villages ravaged

by the US-backed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Nearly a quarter of a million Filipino children have been

affected by human rights violations. Twelve-year old Adelisa Albarillo witnessed her mother and father being dragged

from a bedroom, then shot to death. For 6 months Adelisa refused to touch her hair. The mother used to comb Adelisa’s

hair every morning. Nine-year old Alrico Barbas, Jr. saw his father and oldest brother gunned down. Almost every day

for 10 months Alrico, his mother and 5 remaining siblings, moved from one house to another, from one village to another,

fearing for their lives. They had to leave their home province, and the mother has been forced to put the children in

separate orphanages. For children survivors, the “war on terror” has meant loss of home and family, trauma, depression,

anxiety, fear, hostility. The Philippine government calls the children victims “unavoidable collateral damage.”

It is not lack of strategy or incompetent planning that has allowed such mad violence. The real cruelty in this USled

“war on terror” is that, in Bush and company’s grand plan, such cheapening of life and such brute military

aggression are par for the course. They aim to build a world that reflects their beliefs and ideology—a world ran as one

consolidated corporation, complete with executive officers on top and cheap or enslaved labor at the bottom; a world that

institutionalizes the fundamentalist belief that a woman’s right to choose is a crime; a world that needs cheap human lives

to ensure continuous supply of cheap labor for maximum profit; a world that commercializes everything and anything,

from healthcare to education to marriage to women’s bodies.

And in such a world, there is no room for dissent, no room for empowered women, no room for genuine

democracy. It is not surprising then that in the Philippines 838 (84 women) political activists, church leaders and

community organizers have been murdered; vocal progressive Congress representatives of marginalized sectors, Crispin

Beltran and Satur Ocampo, have been arrested based on trumped up charges; women’s representative Liza Maza

continues to face the risk of suffering the same fate; Siche Bustamante-Gandinao, a human rights activist and peasant

rights advocate, was assassinated on March 10, 2007, after testifying in front of a UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial,

Summary and Arbitrary Executions about the killing of her father-in-law, who was also an activist and a political leader.

Bush, his cohorts and allies are willing to do anything to see their plan through, to “stay the course.” We must top their

resolve. Stand up, be counted, demand: US Out of Iraq! US Out of the Philippines! US Stop Funding Murderous

Armed Forces of the Philippines!

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