The Guardian February 12, 2003


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."

Back to index page