There is a great misconception in our society concerning what the current government, like the past administration, is doing in the Middle East. The majority of Americans have been deceived into believing that our military campaigns overseas involve combating terrorism, but once the conduct of the operations and the details of the fighting are examined, it becomes clear that the war that we are prosecuting is the real terrorism. Indeed, U.S. foreign policy actually tends to perpetuate so-called terrorism in the countries that we audaciously invade and subsequently occupy.
The very phrase “War on Terror” is a euphemism used to conceal the fact that it is instead a war against the Muslim world. Escalating employment of “drones,” man-less aerial craft remotely controlled from hundreds or even thousands of miles away, has resulted in a substantial increase in “collateral damage” (another euphemism) as targeted air strikes against so-called “insurgents” (yet another) cause unacceptably numerous, innocent civilian deaths. With all of this in mind, current U.S. foreign policy seems more likely predicated on scaring the American people into submissive compliance to the state rather than on genuine “security” or “defense” in what can only be nakedly described as a blatant government power grab domestically and a further imperialist push for American hegemonic ambitions abroad. The effects of racial and cultural tensions fomented by the Federal propaganda machine are increasingly being felt here at home. Last week, Shaima Alwadi was murdered in what was undoubtedly a racially motivated hate crime, a victim of collective guilt unfairly attached to an innocent woman.
While the government’s imperialistic endeavors grow, the government manipulates the people at home under the guise of protecting our freedoms by encroaching on our civil liberties. More and more we are seeing the effects of these never-ending wars here at home. The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is feeling us up and taking nude pictures of us, our local police forces are investing in tanks, helicopters, heavy armor, and other war-like materials while at the same time it seems that more and more people are being arrested and/or brutality attacked by the police for such peaceful, nonviolent activities as filming them in public areas. The fact that those who are supposed to be serving and protecting us seem to be increasingly arresting and attacking us is an extremely unsettling one that we are now forced to live with.
Despite all of this, there is hope. A new organization called the Austin Alliance For Peace (AA4P) has been founded. We are a trans-partisan organization that seeks to promote peaceful solutions in an era where violence and threats are too often employed. By educating the public on the violations of peace, mobilizing them to bring peace wherever it is absent, pursuing the redress of grievances in alignment with the tradition of nonviolent resistance, and building a constituency whose main priority is to practice diplomacy and to strive to solve problems without the use of violence, AA4P hopes to create a more peaceful, loving world now and for future generations.
The first event that AA4P is putting on will be Saturday, April 14 at noon at the south steps of the Texas Capitol and is the first annual AA4P Peace Rally. There will be speakers discussing the various forms of violence in our society, including the multiple wars that our nation is engaged in and the growing militarization of our local police forces. Keynote talks will be delivered by Iraqi-American medical doctor turned full-time peace activist Dahlia Wasfi, and host of Antiwar Radio Scott Horton. Other speakers scheduled to appear include local Austin activists such as Iraq War veteran and victim of police abuse Antonio Buehler, and Texans for Accountable Government Executive Director Heather Fazio.
The rally is rapidly growing as more and more people are getting excited about attending and standing up for peace. Students from over ten universities from across the state have committed to attend, from such diverse groups as Libertarian Longhorns, the Israeli-Palestinian Alliance, and Amnesty International. In addition to the large amounts of students that are going to be in attendance, many people from throughout the state and from all different walks of life will also be there. Organizations from Code Pink to Texans for Accountable Government to Texans for Peace will also be in attendance, making this event as large as it is diverse.
Peace is a popular message that everyone can get behind. The Austin Alliance For Peace is the first truly trans-partisan peace organization in the state that is determined to build bridges and form a diverse alliance of people dedicated to bringing peace to a violent world and it begins in Austin on April 14! Please, stand in solidarity as we spread the message of peace and compassion for those who have suffered from violence.