Against the Iraq war, new film We Are Many


This video says about itself:

Do Demonstrations Matter? Amir Amirani and Phyllis Bennis | #GRITtv

13 January 2015

On February 15, 2003, millions of people in over 800 cities on seven continents marched against the impending invasion of Iraq. It was the largest mobilization of people in human history and yet it remains a little-known story. As we approach Martin Luther King Day and think about his legacy of civic resistance, this episode looks at the recent history of the global antiwar movement, and its relevance to today.

A new documentary by this week’s guest, Amir Amirani, tells the story of the mass protests against the Iraq war. From Iraq to Egypt to Syria to today’s protests, the film looks at the legacy of that protest movement and asks, what do mass mobilizations accomplish? Amir Amirani a long time filmmaker for the BBC, tells about his process making the film.

We are also joined by one of the organizers of those historic protests, Phyllis Bennis, an activist, author, and fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in New York, to talk about the story behind the movement.

This episode also features a profile of the activists behind one of the biggest recent US environmental victories, the struggle that helped lead to New York state’s ban on fracking. And in a commentary, Laura discusses the need for movement unity.

By Ian Sinclair in Britain:

March of the majority

Tuesday 19th May 2015

IAN SINCLAIR recommends We Are Many, Amir Amiani’s documentary on the many millions who demonstrated worldwide against the Iraq war in 2003

We Are Many
Directed by Amir Amirani
4/5

FEBRUARY 15 2003 “was the single largest mobilisation of people in the history of humanity — bar none,” notes US analyst Phyllis Bennis in We Are Many, Amir Amirani’s brilliant new documentary about the global anti-war movement against the Iraq war.

Beginning with the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Amirani uses stirring archive news footage and original interviews with key figures like Tony Benn, Clare Short, Jesse Jackson and Noam Chomsky to tell the story of that momentous day.

Around 30 million people marched in 789 major cities in over 72 countries across the world. A small rally even took place at the McMurdo research station in Antarctica. Over 1,000,000 people marched through London in the biggest protest in British history.

The story will be familiar to many Morning Star readers but the film does include many important and interesting snippets of information and analysis, such as US air force veteran Tim Goodrich blowing apart the fiction that war was a last resort. The US bombing of Iraq increased by over 500 per cent in autumn 2002 “with the purpose of trying to goad Saddam Hussein into retaliating to give us a reason to go to war,” he says.

Elsewhere Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector from 2000 until 2003, amusingly explains that the US and UK “were 100 per cent sure that there were weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq though “they had zero per cent knowledge of where they were.”

And who knew that Virgin boss Richard Branson had made an unsuccessful attempt to stop the war by flying Nelson Mandela to Baghdad on the eve of the invasion?

The film ends by exploring the long-lasting impact of February 15 2003, including its role in shifting British public opinion so much that it made it impossible for the coalition government to go to war against Syria a decade later.

Amirani also tells the unknown story of how the global movement against the Iraq war inspired Egyptians to start protesting against President Hosni Mubarak. “That’s exactly when I was thinking, and others, that if we were triple that number, or four times that number, we could take down Mubarak,” notes one Egyptian activist about the March 2003 protest in Tahrir Square against the war.

Writing in the New York Times, journalist Patrick Tyler commented that the global demonstrations were “reminders that there may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion.”

Taking its name from the last line of Shelley’s 1819 poem Mask of Anarchy, We Are Many is itself a moving and timely reminder of the power of activism and protest — the perfect antidote to the despair created by the new Tory majority government.

Ian Sinclair’s book The March That Shook Blair: An Oral History of 15 February 2003 is available from the Morning Star shop for £10 + £2.50P&P.

New film about anti-Iraq war peace movement


This video from Britain says about itself:

WE ARE MANY – OFFICIAL TRAILER – MAY 21 NATIONWIDE SCREENINGS WITH Q&A, IN CINEMAS MAY 22

24 April 2015

To find out where the film is playing visit: www.wearemany.com/cinemas.

We Are Many tells for the first time the remarkable story of the biggest protest in history, and how it changed the world.

Eight years in the making, filmed in seven countries, and including interviews with John Le Carré, Damon Albarn, Brian Eno, Danny Glover, Mark Rylance, Richard Branson, Hans Blix and Ken Loach amongst others, it charts the birth and rise of the people power movements that are now sweeping the world, all through the prism of one extraordinary day.

On February 15th 2003, over 15 million people marched through the streets of 800 cities on every continent to voice their opposition to the proposed war in Iraq. This unprecedented global march was organised, against all odds, by a patchwork of peace campaigners in many countries, who reveal how they pulled off the historic demonstration, and whose legacy is only now unfolding.

On May 21 we will hold an exclusive live by satellite event (broadcast from Curzon Mayfair, London), after the film there will be a post screening discussion.

Journalist and broadcaster Jon Snow will host the discussion with guests including the film’s director Amir Amirani, executive producer and comedian Omid Djalili, convenor of the Stop The War Coalition Lindsey German and professor of international law at UCL Philippe Sands.

For more information about the film please visit:

www.wearemany.com
www.facebook.com/WeAreManyMovie
www.twitter.com/WeAreManyMovie

From daily The Guardian in Britain today:

We Are Many: the legacy of the global anti-war protests in 2003 – video trailer world exclusive

We Are Many, directed by Amir Amirani, explores the legacy of the global anti-war demonstrations of 15 February 2003, an event that saw an estimated million people march against the Iraq war in London alone.

Filmed over nine years, the film talks to key campaigners, including Damon Albarn, Ken Loach and the late Tony Benn, as well as those who made the decision to go to war. A special satellite screening of the film with a Q+A with Jon Snow takes place in London on 21 May, transmitted to select cinemas across the country, while the film is released on 22 May.

See it first on May 17th as part of Guardian Live at the Rio Cinema.

United States warplanes killing Iraqi civilians again


The identity document of Danya Laith Hazem, eight, killed in air strike on 4 April in the village of Fadhiliya. ‘The US-led coalition needs to be far more open about who it is killing,’ says one critic. Photograph: Courtesy of Family

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Slaughter of Iraqi family in suspected US-led air strike hints at cost of war

Five members of one family, including a pregnant woman and girl aged eight, died in one village. Other victims of the anti-Isis air campaign may go unrecorded

Fazel Hawramy in Irbil and Raya Jalabi in New York

Thursday 14 May 2015 20.01 BST

Mustafa was jolted awake by the thunderous sound of two large explosions. As the ground shook beneath him, he could hear a young woman screaming in the distance.

Bolting out his front door, he found several hundred men running through the dark towards an olive farm on the outskirts of the village of Fadhiliya, 10 miles north of Mosul. The farm, home to a family of seven, had been hit by an air strike some time after midnight, the local imam said.

Outside the ruins of the two-storey farm house – now a tangled mess of iron rods and concrete slabs – the men found 16-year-old Lina Laith Hazem in hysterics.

They sifted through the rubble for hours, looking for other survivors amid the surrounding chaos. They found only one, Shahd Hazem Abdulla, Lina’s 25-year-old aunt.

“We used our bare hands to pull the bodies out,” said Mustafa, a farmer in his late 40s.

By 9am on 4 April, five corpses had been pulled from the wreckage, including a pregnant woman and an eight-year-old child. All five were members of the same family: Hazem Abdulla Shahin, 69; his wife Nadya Nouri Dawoud, 60; their son Laith Hazem Abdulla, 43; his pregnant bride Hana Ali Abdulla, 43, and their eight-year-old daughter Danya Laith Hazem.

“We wrapped the dead in blankets and buried them the same day,” said Rahim, a relative of the family who helped uncover the bodies.

Since 8 August a US-led coalition including Canada, Britain, France, Jordan and other countries, has carried out several thousand air strikes, as part of its campaign against the Islamic State militant group, which last year declared it had established a caliphate across vast swaths of Iraq and Syria. …

Until last week, the US denied that any civilians had been killed in either Syria or Iraq during the nine-month campaign. Following reports that 52 civilians had been killed in an air strike in Syria, the Pentagon announced that it would launch an investigation.

But watchdog groups, like the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, warn that many more civilian casualties have gone uncounted. By SOHR’s count, at least 66 civilians have been killed by coalition air strikes in Syria alone since last September.

A local Iraqi member of parliament said he was in no doubt that the Abdulla Shahin family were killed by a coalition air strike.

“It was a mistake,” Mala Salim Juma Mohammad said. “The coalition needs to compensate the family adequately.” Juma said that although he had not known the family personally he had ascertained they had no connection to militants.

Chris Wood, the founder of Airwars.org, a not-for-profit transparency project aimed both at tracking and archiving the international air war against Islamic State estimates that at least 167 – and as many as 455 – people have been killed during more than 2,100 air strikes in Iraq.

“It’s very difficult to be precise about civilian casualties in the context of a fast-moving air war, in which those areas being bombed by the coalition are firmly under the control of Islamic State/Daesh,” said Wood.

“What is absolutely clear is that coalition claims of no confirmed civilian deaths are untenable. The US-led coalition needs to be far more open about who it is killing – and to swiftly admit its mistakes when strikes go wrong.” …

The deaths of the Abdulla Shahin family, was but the latest misfortune for Fadhiliya, which was overrun by Islamic State militants in August 2014.

Many of the village’s residents, including the five victims of the air strike, were members of the Shabak ethnic minority. Unlike other minorities such as Christians, Turkomans and Yazidis – who are considered devil worshippers by Isis militants – the 300,000 Shabaks are predominantly Sunni Muslims, and have largely escaped being targeted by Isis. But some Shabak are Shia, and have been targeted for abuse by the militants. Many Fadhiliya residents told the Guardian they did not initially flee the Isis advance because they had nowhere else to go and because they did not consider themselves a target. …

But the men, who still live in Fadhiliya, denied there were any Isis units stationed near or around Hazem Abdulla’s olive farm.

But all current and former residents who spoke with the Guardian agreed that Hazem Abdulla and his family had no links with the militant group.

A relative of Hazem – who asked not to be named because some of his relatives still live in the village – told the Guardian that his uncle had no relationship with the militants.

“[The coalition] are killing innocent people in the name of fighting terrorism,” he said.

But he said that after the air strike, the militants used the incident in their propaganda, telling residents of the village that the attack revealed the US-led coalition’s “true” intentions for the region.

“The incident has been hard on the village,” said Mustafa, the neighbour. “It was a shock to everyone. Hazem was a good man.

The day after the bodies were recovered, relatives of Hazem who had previously fled Fadhiliya, held a memorial service for their deceased in a village near Dohuk.

A sombre black banner hung in the village, the names of the dead written in yellow.

“They were martyred with the fire from a coalition strike in the village of Fadhiliya on 04/04/2015,” the banner read. “We come from Allah, and to Him we shall return.”