The Warsaw demo against the Israeli aggression on Lebanon
Report from Poland
24 July 2006
On Saturday (22 July) at 3 p.m. a picket started before the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw. The picket was called by the Initiative “Stop the War” (a front organisation of the Workers Democracy, a Polish branch of the British SWP). The aim of the picket was to protest against the Israeli aggression on Lebanon but the support for the Palestinian cause and the protest against the Polish troops in Iraq were important too. The number of picket participants was about one hundred. Among them there were Warsaw leftists but also Polish refugees from Lebanon and Lebanese and Palestinian people.
From the beginning the Israeli aggression Polish public opinion paid attention to events in Lebanon not only because the atrocities committed by Israeli aircrafts but also because the fate of many Polish – Lebanese marriages (mainly consisted of Lebanese men studying in the past in Poland and Polish women). The Polish Embassy in Beirut organised the exodus of over 3 hundreds of Polish passports holders. But there were many family tragedies because many Polish women had to leave their husbands (with no Polish passport) to save the children and many did not want to do it. To counterbalance this picture of Zionist oppression the Polish TV (a private chanel - TVN) showed material on Polish Jews in the Nothern Israel (including the Kibbutz of Waraw Ghetto Fighters).
Among the leftists participating in the demo there were the New Left, the Workers Democracy, the Red Collective (the anarcho-syndicalists). Below are excerpts from the speeches:
A Polish mother, who escaped from Lebanon with her children, talked about the tragedy of civilians in Lebanon who are a main victims of this war. The majority of the dead and the injured had nothing in common with the Hezbollah. In her opinion the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw should take care of all refugees from Lebanon to Poland. She declared that those opposing the Israeli attacks should oppose antisemitism.
Piotr Ikonowicz said that before 1989 the US were committing mass crimes and supporting many dictatorships (e.g. in Latin America) justifying it by the threat of Communism. After the fall of the Soviet Union the US continued its imperialistic policy disguised as a crusade against the real and imagined terrorists. Ikonowicz recalled the sad fate of Guantanamo prisoners deprived of POWs rights. The ex-MP expressed a hope that Iran has an atom bomb because only in this case could Iran would avoid the US aggression. (Of course the wish of an atom bomb for any Islamic fundamentalists is euphemistically speaking a big exaggeration).
Omar Faris – a president of the Polish-Arabic Socio-Cultural Association, a Palestinian living for many years in Poland, earlier linked to the PLFP, described the human tragedy of Palestinians as the next Holocaust, which is under way watched by the silent and passive world. But he added that the State of Israel will never break the will of resistance of the Palestinian nation.
Andy Zebrowski, a chief of the Workers Democracy, said that there is a big disproportion of force between Israelis and the Palestinians plus the Lebanese, so two sides of the conflict can not be treated in the same way. Later he called Israel as worse than the South African apartheid because, as he said, unlike the Gaza Strip and Lebanon there were no bombings of civilians in the South Africa. The Palestinian cause was compared by him to the Polish cause in XIX th century when the struggle of Poles for their independence was supported by the progressive public opinion. He denied the terrorist character of Hezbollah calling it the national liberation movement and comparing it to the anti-Hitlerite Home Army operating under Nazis occupation in Poland. (Of course a much more correct comparison would be: the National Armed Forces – the extreme right underground organisation fighting both against Germans and the Communists and Jews, aiming to build the Greater Catholic Poland ).
The terrorist character of the Hezbollah was denied also by one of the Lebanese speakers. Another Lebanese regretted that among Israelis there are not 20 thousand of ‘Righteous’ against the war although during the WW2 there were 20 thousand Righteous Among the Nations saving Jewish people. (Among them the biggest ethnical group were Poles). One of Polish women speaking recalled the sentence from the Talmud: “Who is saving one life, is saving all the world. She called on Israeli public opinion to remember this sentence.
The next demo before the Israeli Embassy will take place in a few days.
Photos from the picket: