Shouldn’t it be up to Kurdish leftists to decide who should be invited to speak at their events? (The AWL can invite or not invite anybody it wants to speak at it’s own “pro-Kurdish” events.)
By the way, I was in Germany in 1993 when the PKK was banned there. I remember that pro-Israel pseudo-left Germans, especially the self-described “anti-Germans”, refused to defend the PKK against German state repression because of the PKK’s support for the Palestinians against Israel! The same “anti-Germans” sometimes physically attacked supporters of U.S. Black political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal because of the latter’s pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist stand.
“Rees supports the Kurds, supports them getting weapons – but not from the Americans, only from Venezuela and Hamas. US bombing only makes more recruits for ISIS, says Rees”
Are Venezuela or Hamas currently in the process of sending weapons to aid the Kurds? No. So objectively Rees is saying, don’t arm the Kurds, and don’t do anything to stop ISIS taking Kobane and slaughtering thousands. To satisfy John Rees’ warped notion of ideological purity.
Counterfire and STWC have been shown repeatedly to be morally putrid. There is no value to any decent cause in allowing them to share a platform.
Great to see so much support for the Kurds in Nottingham and many other places, however.
While Rees’ short talk in the video certainly was incoherent on some points, he didn’t say anything against the Kurds receiving weapons from anybody. He gave three examples of countries and groups that he rhetorically called on to provide arms to the Kurds, the third being South Africa. The suggestion that Hamas do so is ridiculous for the reason that, even if it were a political priority for them, doing so would be even harder than it is for them to get arms into Gaza to defend against the Zionist state. (Incidentally, it would be much more likely, practically and politically, for Hezbollah to help the Kurds of Kobane, but their decision to do so would not depend on encouragement from Western leftists any more than would such a decision by the U.S..)
It would, in any case, be difficult for anybody to get arms (or fighters) to Kobane without at least the passive cooperation of Turkey. Rees was right to foreground the demand that Turkey allow the PKK to cross the border to Kobane. He was wrong, however, to make it indirectly as a demand on the British state to force Turkey to do so, rather than as a call for international protests and direct action against the Turkish state.
While it seems that, for now, the Turkish regime has decided to allow aid to pass through Turkey to Kobane, I suspect that they will try to control the flow so as to weaken the PKK/PYD in favor of the consistently pro-Western KRG, and of the so-called “Free Syrian Army”.
As for leftist attitudes toward the bombing of, in particular, IS forces attacking Kobane, the question is more complex than either StWC/Counterfire or the AWL want to admit. Rees is right about the general effects of such bombing on support for IS, but, perhaps for lack of time, he ignored the sectarian anti-Sunni aspect of such bombings, and of aid to the Shia militias and pro-Western, ethnic-cleansing, KRG.
Rees wants Hamas, an Islamic terrorist organisation to arm the Kurds who are fighting against IS, another Islamic terrorist organisation who are sympathetic to Hamas.
You couldn’t make this stuff up, he would rather these people who are already putting themselves in serious danger to put themselves in further danger just to please his own political agenda.
It clarifies nothing to use the epithet “terrorist” in your brief argument, since both the Kurds under attack in Kobane and the Shia Islamist resistance organization, Hezbollah (a potential, if not actual, ally of the Kurds against IS), have been labelled “terrorist” by the same Western and Zionist language-overseers as have the IS and Hamas.
Just spotted this so I thought I ought to set the record straight. I was perfectly happy to have the Kurdistan solidarity demo announced, and encouraged the AWL member who arrived at the anti-austerity meeting to do so. He then announced that he was busy with another event and asked if the chair would announce it. I said the only announcements the chair would make would be directly related to the topic of the meeting (i.e. anti-austerity) and suggested he, like all of the other groups who attended, left leaflets on the chairs. When he said he only had 10 leaflets I offered to find a photo-copier to make more.
After informing him that the venue had no copier, and that as the very large meeting was about to begin (which I had been largely responsible for organising) I said I didn’t have time to talk to him any more and that if he couldn’t announce the demo himself he should find someone else in the audience to do so. He then began an argument about the Kurds, during which I stated that I wasn’t sure I agreed with the AWL at which point he announced ‘that’s all I wanted to hear’ then promptly left the meeting. And then this article appears.
Do you people have nothing better to do?
So to set the record straight I have always supported the right of the Kurdish people to a homeland and that they should assert that right in arms if they so wish. I support their struggle against ISIS and hope they win. What I don’t support is the AWL.