Oct 272016
 

bulletsWith thanks to Jonathan Russell, Chair of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Izhar Khan a local hospital consultant, lecturer, and activist will be talking on the History behind the Middle East Conflicts. He gave this talk to great aclaim last year. The talk will be followed by a discussion.

The Public Meeting which is also supported by Aberdeen Student Left will take place at 7pm at the MacRobert Lecture Theatre in the MacRobert Building at the University of Aberdeen.

The MacRobert building is just off King Street before the roundabout at Seaton. There is parking and cycle racks and the building is wheelchair friendly.

There will be a further meeting on the Kurds in the Middle East on November 10th (venue to be announced) and subsequent meetings on Syria and the Yemen/

If you want to find out more about the Middle East please come along and share this article with your friends.

Dec 032015
 
Christian speaking at the Aberdeen Trades Union Council St Andrew's Day parade

Christian Allard MSP speaking at the Aberdeen Trades Union Council St. Andrew’s Day March.

With thanks to Gavin Mowat, Constituency Assistant to Christian Allard MSP.

Christian Allard MSP has spoken of his thanks to the people of Aberdeen for showing solidarity with the people of France and the people of Syria at a St. Andrew’s Day march in Aberdeen.
Aberdeen Trades Union Council organised this year’s march which was themed “Refugees Welcome Here – No Racism”.

The French born MSP spoke of his wish to see more refugees coming to Scotland and suggested ways we can make newly arrived refugees feel welcome.

Speaking at the event, Mr Allard said:

“Here at the Castlegate, the French community living here with many our Scottish friends showed our solidarity with the people of Paris, the people of France. As an Immigrant from France, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came and send us messages of solidarity, Merci.

“And here today again, we are assembled at the Castlegate to show our solidarity to the people of Syria.

“I would have been much happier if we were celebrating today the arrival of 10,000 of Syrian refugees to Scotland.

“To put this welcome in context, last year, Sweden, a country of 10 million people, took 80,000 refugees – the highest number per head of population in the European Union, and second only in number to Germany.

The SNP MSP added that he could think of two simple ways to make refugees welcome:

“First, watch our language – word choice matters. You may have heard and read from many of our media, particularly the BBC, calling refugees names, calling them migrants. Let’s be clear, from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “the two terms have distinct and different meanings, and confusing them leads to problems for both populations”. Refugees are persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution.

“The second easy way to welcome refugees is to smile, just simply smile. We greet guests coming in our own house with a smile, let’s welcome refugees with the same smile in our streets, when Christmas shopping and in our communities.

“Let’s remember where we all come from because, in Scotland’s Story, we are all worth the same.”

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Aug 302013
 

Ahead of the demonstration against involvement in Syria taking place this Saturday at 12 noon to 1pm outside Marks and Spencers being organised by Don’t Attack Syria Coalition (Aberdeen), chair of Aberdeen and District CND, Jonathan Russell writes about the background to the Syrian conflict, as well the current situation and warns of the dangers of armed intervention.

Syrian flag2According to the UN, the two-year old conflict in Syria has led to 100000 deaths with a further 1.7m Syrians forced to seek shelter in neighbouring countries. Aberdeen and District CND firmly believes that any military intervention by Western powers is certain to exacerbate the situation and bring even worse consequences for the Syrian people and their neighbours.

That US, UK and French governments are now preparing to attack the Syrian regime without having tabled any compelling proof that the chemical attacks were carried out by the Assad government is of overwhelming concern to us.

Furthermore, without the agreement of the UN Security Council, any attack would be in breach of International Law.

The Syrian conflict is primarily between Sunni, many of whom support the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and Shia Muslims together with the Alawites and Christians who primarily support the Assad government. The FSA consists of different entities with the largest fighting group aligned with Al Qaeda.

The principal supporters of the Syrian government are Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon, whereas the FSA is backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. There is every possibility that western missile attacks on Assad will widen the conflict and, as with Iraq and Afghanistan, lead to long-standing civil strife of a horrendous nature, possibly even worse than we have witnessed before.

Who was responsible for the reported chemical attacks is not clear. On one hand, Israel, the UK and the US claim to have information to demonstrate that the Assad regime is responsible, whilst Russia and Iran believe that responsibility lies with the FSA.

More telling perhaps, is that the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Nava Pillay, have laid the responsibility at the FSA’s door. Moreover, since the US had stated that the use of chemical weapons would be the red line on intervention, the Assad government would have nothing to gain from such an attack.

Whoever was responsible has to be held to account, but the facts need to be made public. Unlawful military action will only internationalise the conflict further.

Aberdeen CND calls upon the UK government to allow a UN inspection of the chemical attacks so that the evidence can be properly evaluated. Aberdeen CND regrets the decision by the US to withdraw from negotiations and calls for diplomatic resources to be made available to facilitate negotiations between the warring parties.

The view of Aberdeen CND is that any intervention should be in the form of humanitarian aid for people displaced, made homeless or hospitalised by the conflict. Once these initial steps are taken, conditions may then favour the deployment of a UN peace-keeping mission. Aberdeen CND also supports cessation of arms sales to the countries of the Middle Eastern region.

For further information contact Jonathan Russell on 0758-245-6233 or Mike Martin on 0797-476-3082

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