by Valentine Moghadam
Despite the rain, some 500 concerned citizens attended a rally at Park Street Station on Saturday Jan. 4th to denounce the Trump administration’s assassination of an Iranian general on Iraqi soil, which had taken place by drone attack in the early hours of Jan. 3. A wonton display of disregard for international law and national sovereignty, the assassination, which also took the life of Iraqi commander Abu-Mahdi Al Muhandis, has been met with anti-war protests in cities across the US.
Placards were plentiful, with messages such as “Impeach the Assassin!”, “Fight the Rich, not their Wars”, “Put $$$ into the Planet, NOT Endless Wars,” and “War is a Racket: The Few Profit and the Many Pay!” The Boston rally was co-sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition, Mass. Peace Action, Veterans Against the War, the National Iranian Advocacy Council, United Against War and Militarism, MIT Students Against War, and other groups.
Speakers from MAPA, ANSWER, and NIAC drew attention not only to the illegality of the murder of a senior military leader of a sovereign state, but to its connection to the history of US imperialism. In Iran, this began with the 1953 coup d’etat against Iran’s Premier Mossadegh and his democratic government, which had dared to nationalize its own oil resources. Decades of repression under the Shah and his CIA-backed SAVAK followed.
At the rally, Paul Shannon, chair of MAPA’s Middle East Working Group, pointed out that it is the US, and not Iran, that has been responsible for aggression, displacement, and destruction across the Middle East, and that the US has surrounded Iran with military bases and nuclear warheads.
Speakers drew attention to the harmful and financially costly consequences of war, and to the supine nature of Congress, which seems unable to stand up to the almost dictatorial powers of the presidency in matters of foreign policy, and seems unwilling to pass legislation that would limit those powers.
Ihssane Leckey, Moroccan-American Democratic candidate for Congress (4th District, MA) and a speaker at the rally, criticized “the cheerleaders of war who ignore the human cost” and who falsely “blame Iran for everything just to go to war.” She called for action on a War Powers Resolution.
After hearing speakers, participants marched through downtown Boston, down Tremont Street, and back up Washington Street, filling the air with chants as they went.
Our movements so far have not been able to stem the tide of US imperialist aggression abroad. We know that war is not the answer, we know that other countries deserve to control their own resources and to live in peace and prosperity. Will the American people be able to see through the Trump administration’s lies and demand an end to the endless wars?
—Valentine Moghadam is a Professor of International Affairs and Sociology at Northeastern University, and a member of the Board of Directors of both Mass. Peace Action and National Peace Action.
See video of rally talks by MAPA and CPDCS’s Paul Shannon, Brian Garvey, DSA’s Steve Powell, candidate Ihssane Leckey, Rev. Sofia Wolman. and the march down Tremont Street. More still photos: https://www.facebook.com/masspeaceaction/posts/10156537637205723