“The US, UK, French governments, in their narrow attempt to push regime change, demonize and undermine those they deem as ‘unfriendly’ regimes and use brutal, armed extremists (like ISIS) who happen to share their opposition to those regimes. But that’s like having attack dogs you don’t exactly control.”
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Local and global activists converging in Manila have condemned the terrorist attacks in Paris that targeted and killed innocent civilians. But they warned the Aquino government against using the Paris attacks as “pretext” for further trampling on the democratic rights of the people gathering in the capital to protest the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings.
Already, the PNP officials have announced that they will heighten their security measures in the wake of the Paris incident. Teddy Casiño, spokesperson of #PHFightAPEC, said such “security measures,” already described as overkill, “should not lead to a ban on protests near or around the venue of the APEC Summit.”
“Preventing such atrocities should not be at the expense of the rights of people to assemble and air their legitimate grievances,” Casiño said.
The former Bayan Muna lawmaker said the Philippine National Police (PNP) has already set up a virtual blockade at the Baclaran Church, where hundreds of lumad from Mindanao are forced to set up camp after they were driven away from Liwasang Bonifacio.
The lumad are in Manila protesting the militarization and plunder of their communities, which they said resulted from APEC-related policies on liberalizing mining and planting of export crops in agricultural plantations.
A couple of days ago, the police also reportedly prevented a delegation from Southern Tagalog from reaching Manila to participate in various anti-APEC activities.
Casiño said the only threat these progressive groups pose to APEC leaders is the threat of embarrassment – he said these groups bring with them their life stories that exposed the true “disastrous impact of APEC’s imperialist globalization.”
Jerome Adonis, secretary general of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), called on the workers and peoples of the world to translate grief and solidarity into knowledge of the historical causes of the attacks.
It noted that the ISIS, the extremist group said to be behind the attack, was “a US creation to further its terrorist agenda.”
“Let us be critical and not be swayed by the propaganda of imperialists, who have used similar attacks in the past to try to justify terrorism on a greater scale. Let us be very clear: Our grief is not a call for imperialist wars of aggression,” said Adonis.
‘Terrorists are creations of the imperialists themselves’
Among the delegates of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS) who are now in Manila holding a conference, Kurdish Michelle Allison, a member of Kurdish National Congress, noted one of the unfortunate trends for the people – “the fact that imperialist governments are attacking the same people being attacked by ISIS,” for example.
A 41-year old architect, Allison has spent the past two years more on political engagement than designing buildings because of the many tremendous issues they have to face in their country. Reports said that based on the territorial and political gains being made there by ISIS, it seeks to severely curtail the rights of Kurdish people particularly women.
As of this writing, the French government has been making arrests and it has conducted air strikes on what it believed as ISIS sites in Syria, with the US government providing it “intelligence.”
Allison told reporters in Manila that historically, the ISIS followed other US military creations which the US had armed and used against regimes they deemed as unfriendly to them. But they later lost control of these armed extremists. Unfortunately, she said, to purportedly neutralize them, “when they lost control of ISIS, they attacked the Islam settlements.”
Asked why the US does not seem to learn the lesson about their brutal creations (such as ISIS) turning around and being uncontrollable, Allison said: “I think their gains are more than their losses.” Or, the US got hold or control of regimes they had wanted to control in the process.
Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, president of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, speaking at the sidelines of the ILPS conference, summarized the existence of these extremists: “The US, UK, France governments, in their narrow attempt to push regime change, demonize and undermine those they deem as ‘unfriendly’ regimes and use brutal, armed extremists who happen to share their opposition to those regimes. But that’s like having attack dogs you don’t exactly control.”
ISIS is one of those “attack dogs,” and the progressive groups condemn the attacks being prepared purportedly to guard against ISIS but hitting more the people and their democratic rights.
“The imperialist powers will surely use these terrorist attacks as a pretext to intensify wars of aggression outside of their countries and impose fascist measures on the workers and peoples of their countries,” Adonis of KMU said. He asked the people to be on guard and to speak up saying “these imperialist will surely use these attacks to further whip up terrorism scare, racism, xenophobia, anti-migrant prejudices and religious bigotry.”