Greek Australians rally against the war
Over 500 people of Greek Australian background, each wearing purple ribbons for peace, denounced plans for a US-led war on Iraq and called on the Australian Government to withdraw from active support of US war plans and bring home the Australian troops and military personnel. The packed meeting at the Cyprus Community Club in Sydney last Sunday night was organised by the Greek Australian Peace Committee. Speakers included Dr Carmen Lawrence, former ALP frontbencher, Greens Senator Kerry Nettle, Democrats Senator Aden Ridgeway, Dr Hannah Middleton of the Walk Against the War Coalition and President of the Communist Party of Australia, trade union leader Angelo Gavrielatos and representatives of the Greek Orthodox Community and the Cypriot Community. Each speaker emphasised that there is no sound justification for an attack on Iraq and that the Australian Government should respond to the wishes of the Australian people rather than respond to the call of the US Administration. Senator Nettle criticised Prime Minister Howard for not consulting the Australian parliament and the Australian people before committing troops to war. Dr Lawrence referred to the weaknesses of Secretary Powell's arguments placed before the UN Security Council last week and the disinformation being spread by US authorities. She stressed that the US has no right to invade Iraq and change the regime. Introducing his speech in an Aboriginal language, Senator Ridgeway applauded Dr Lawrence for resigning from Shadow Cabinet on the basis of principles. Dr Middleton expressed optimism that the voice of the people in Australia and around the world will have a significant impact in stopping the war. She said that the US has helped to proliferate weapons of mass destruction, including in Iraq, and now turns the issue around to justify its ambitions of controlling Iraqi oil. "The peace movement does not support a US war or a UN war on Iraq!", she said. Penny Thliveris-Costa from the Greek Orthodox Community pointed out that Greek Australians have a century-long history of activity for the causes of peace, democracy and human rights. The Greek Orthodox Community fully supports the movement against war on Iraq. Michael Christodoulou of the Cyprus Community commended the initiative in organising actions in the name of world peace and referred to the ongoing struggle in Cyprus for independence and freedom from foreign invasion. The meeting called on all Greek Australians in Sydney to participate in the Walk Against the War on Sunday February 16 and contribute further to the success of the people's movement in stopping the war. The following resolution, addressed to the Prime Minister, was adopted unanimously by the meeting: "This mass meeting of over 500 Greek Australians in Sydney on 9th February 2003 expresses strong opposition to the planned US military attack on Iraq and the support of the Australian Government for such an attack. We believe that the threat posed by the Iraqi regime has been taken out of proportion by the US Administration and does not warrant a military bombardment and invasion, which would breach Iraqi sovereignty and lead to the loss of many lives. "We believe that the US has its own agenda for Iraq, which is not motivated by the principles of peaceful international relations. "A military attack on Iraq will not solve problems, but will lead to more problems in many parts of the world. Peace will not be enhanced; there will inevitably be an escalation of violence including terrorism. "We ask you to take heed of the growing tide of public opinion in Australia and around the world against an attack on Iraq. There is a significant gap between the plans of the US leadership and the aspirations of the people of the world for peace and stability. "We believe that it is not in the interests of Australia to be part of a US-led military attack on Iraq and we call on the Australian Government to withdraw its support and bring home the Australian troops."