MER Comment
Israeli supporters tried to disrupt an anti-war meeting in Berlin on Thursday evening to stop Yvonne Ridley from making a speech, which included support for Palestine and Muslims. The meeting which attracted 500 Berliners at the university in the capital's Unter den Linden was the final stop in a controversial 14-day tour of the country. Some organisers of the peace tour had asked Ridley to either dilute her views on Palestine or make no mention of the situation. She refused to do both and threatened to cancel her tour. The tour went ahead and was well received by the thousands she addressed across the country. By the time she reached Berlin, Zionists tried to disrupt the meeting and Ridley refused to speak until a pro-Israeli banner was removed. An attempt by Zionists to pelt her with eggs during her speech was also thwarted although one tried to physically attack her. The so-called controversial anti-war speech follows:

"Controversial" anti-War Speech
By Yvonne Ridley
Freelance journalist, peace campaigner and member of the Stop The War Coalition


For the first time in history we are going to war because a foreign leader will not tell us where to find his country's weapons - how crazy is that?
The whole world knows this is a joke which is why millions have marched against the war already and millions more will follow on March 15 - uniting protestors across the globe.
People power can stop this war - it is our only chance. We can succeed where our politicians have failed.

You donít have to look too far back in history to see examples of unarmed revolutions.

In America it took six years for the anti-Vietnam war movement to have a major impact - we do not have that luxury of time. But history has shown that the protesters in the US stopped America from dropping a nuclear bomb on Vietnam.
In Britain the anti-Vietnam war movement became so powerful the Prime Minister of the time told the US this was their war and not to involve Britain.

Mercifully America did not nuke Vietnam, but it was not a humanitarian decision. The CIA warned President Nixon there would be rioting in the streets of America if the US nuked Vietnam.
Revolutions started by unarmed people have brought down governments. The sheer might of numbers saw the end of the Shah of Iran's reign, and in Romania, Ceaucescu underestimated the will of his people right to the end.

All of these movements, and many more, started off with a small gathering like the ones we have seen across Germany. As Mao Tse Tung said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step.
Today the Attac movement across Germany has already taken a few steps, just as the Stop The War movement did in Britain several years ago.

Of course the peace activists were ridiculed and ignored by the politicians, with the exception of a few who gave their unstinting support from the beginning.

Well the politicians have stopped laughing now. We even have some who beg to be on our platforms. They want to be seen supporting the people instead of standing shoulder to shoulder with George W Bush and his pet poodle Tony Blair.
They are genuinely afraid that the people who put them in to power could just as easily vote them out.

The anti war movement in the UK is now bigger than any political party and it has a big voice. We are the masters and the politicians must learn that they are our servants.

Gerhardt Shroeder could not have been elected without his anti war platform and it is up to you all to remind him that he stays on course. Offering German soldiers to protect US air bases in Germany is against that platform. He needs reminding!

The Stop The War Coalition in Britain is admired around the world because of its success - on September 28 last year around 450,000 gathered in London to protest.

It has a joint platform. 'Donít attack Iraq' and 'Justice for Palestine'. Remember, human rights are for everyone and if you have a problem with that you should not be in a peace movement.
People often ask why the movement gives an equal platform to Palestine and Iraq.

The answer is very simple.

If it were not for the heroic resistance of the Palestinian people, Iraq would have been invaded by America a long time ago.

I know this is a hot issue in Germany, but read on before you make a judgement.
The Israeli State was once granted immunity from criticism because people were terrified of being called anti-Semitic. Well the cultivated image of courageous little Israel has long gone.

The state is guilty of war crimes and in Belgium there is a move to have Sharon charged and tried in absentia as a war criminal - although he would be made very welcome if he turned up to enter a plea.
I visited Jenin last year as they were still pulling bodies out of the rubble. I saw with my own eyes atrocities that made me ashamed to be a human being.

All the men aged 15 upwards had been rounded up and had serial numbers written on their arms. Others had been used as human shields while bulldozers demolished and flattened more than 300 homes.
The stench of death was unmistakable. There was an international outcry and a demand was made to send in UN inspectors to investigate allegations of war crimes.
Sharon told the United Nations to go away - and they did! Can you imagine what would happen if Saddam Hussein told Hans Blix to go away?

America has warned Iraq that if there is just one material breach of UN regulations, the country can expect to be bombed.

Doesn't this smell of hypocrisy? Why can one country flout the law and another one can't.

In fact why donít we compare Iraq and Israel's international records? Iraq has violated or ignored 16 UN resolutions and has invaded two countries: Iran and Kuwait.

Israel has ignored or violated 72 UN resolutions and has attacked and/or invaded Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Tunisia. It has occupied Egypt, Syria and Lebanon for years and it is still illegally occupying Syrian territory.

There are no sanctions against Israel, but there are in Iraq. These UN sanctions serve to make Saddam stronger but they are also the real weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. UN sanctions are directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of babies every month.
America is now threatening North Korea with UN sanctions now that it has kicked out weapons inspectors from its country. However North Korea has said it will regard such restrictions as an act of war.

I have no doubt it will hold Israel up as an example of a country, which continually flouts international laws and gets away with it.

Israel has the 4th largest army in the world to protect a population barely the size of London. It uses its weapons against civilians.

Britain supplies spare parts for the F16 fighter jets and Germany supplies night sights so soldiers can see in the dark - although they still manage to shoot and kill babies and children. Your chancellor, Gerhardt Shroeder must be very proud of that export.

My prime Minister is a vain, self-serving hypocrite. The 51st governor of the United States and if you allow it to happen, your chancellor will become another vessel of America.

Europe already has one poodle and the British people have been humiliated enough. Donít let Shroeder become another poodle.

100 years ago England was the only global superpower and the sun never set on its global empire. Now it is part of an offshore island, a reluctant part of Europe.

We no longer have an empire, yet Blair says we are an equal partner with America - standing side by side in defence of the free world. Blair cannot have all his cups in the cupboard!

He is suffering from historical amnesia when he says we should support America as they supported us during The Blitz. Far from supporting us, the US only joined in the war in December 1941 after Pearl Harbour and Hitler declared war on the US - not the other way round.

Yet Blair happily acts as Bush's front man, putting the case for war against a dangerous Saddam because the US President is incapable of stringing more than two words together without sounding like the Sheriff of Dodge City.

The reality is that the most dangerous man in the world today is not Saddam Hussein - it is George Bush, the un-elected president of the United States.

Maybe we should demand a UN inspection team go in at the next presidential elections to ensure those people get the democracy they expect before another Bush junta seizes power.

Only Tony Blair is intoxicated by America's power and his arrogant behaviour means he would rather take orders at Camp David from Bush than debate war with Iraq in the British Parliament.

His arrogant behaviour alone has brought many people in to the Stop The War movement - he is our finest recruiting officer. Others have been mobilised by meetings in universities and the workplace, in corner shops, at bus stops and through groups like Attac.

One of the major boosts to our campaign was the giant effort of the Muslim community, which formed a coalition with Stop The War and CND.

Of Germany wants to be taken seriously as the home of a major peace movement, organisers must get the Muslims on board. They have a great voice and will make a great impact.

Their presence at our rallies is killing off Islamophobic attitudes and brining together a greater understanding between communities. They will be essential to your success and credibility as well as being a huge asset.

On September 28 last year, more than 250 buses arrived in London from Birmingham, mobilised by the Muslim community.

There is no place for racist attitudes in a peace movement. Nor can you exclude the plight of the Palestinian people who are inextricably linked to the Iraq situation. Human rights are for everyone.
Get your children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters involved. This should be a family affair.

It might seem like an uphill struggle, but we all sat up and applauded in Britain when we heard about the rousing reception you gave George Bush when he arrived in Berlin last year.

We were so frustrated that he didn't come to Britain, but so elated when we saw what a fitting welcome you gave him.

I know it wasn't a one-off event. France might have it revolutionaries but Germany has a brilliant reputation for direct action.

A year ago I had the privilege of meeting the 16-year-old girl who lay down on the tracks to stop a train loaded with nuclear waste.

The whole world will put on a show on February 15 - make it happen in Germany too. This is a global movement and we need you to stand up and be counted.
Look upon February 15 as an alternative version of the Eurovision Song Contest. When it comes to voting Germany does not want zero points for turn out and performance.

More importantly the lives of millions of innocent men, women, and children are counting on you. You are their last hope. Please don't abandon them.

There is an affliction suffered by many politicians called political amnesia and it is up to you to find a cure. Using your research skills, investigate the backgrounds of your politicians and found out who has been dealing with Saddam's regime.

We discovered Donald Rumsfeld was a guest of Saddam Hussein in December 1983 and the hospitality was so good he returned the following year, just in time for the gassing and bombardment of German-made chemicals on the Iranians.

We even found a picture of a smiling Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam before doing a deal involving the sale of US helicopters and planes which were used some years later to gas the Kurdish people of Halabja.

Don't be afraid to challenge Shroeder and other politicians who want to become slaves to America. Remember they are only in power as long as you continue to vote for them, so remind them who is the master and the servant.

The great only appear great when they keep you on your knees. They must learn that without justice in the world there can never be peace.

You have a voice - use it and speak up for the innocents in Palestine and Iraq who are relying on you so much.

Finally, if I can leave you with some words from Mahatma Gandi: ĎĎwhen there is only one person, they may laugh at him. When their are five of you they will call you insane. When there is a crowd of you they will call you fanatics. When their are hundreds of you they will call you the opposition.''

From what I have seen the Opposition has arrived in Germany and when they say: 'Jump' Shroeder should ask: "how high".
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