Conference War & Peace: all talk…?
Text and photos by Sharida Mohamedjoesoef for the
You are either with us or against us’. In these unequivocal terms
Only three weeks ago General Richard Dannett of the British forces sparked a row, saying that
The circular neo-classical hall was packed with some 150 people who had come to listen to a great number of speeches of, for instance, Hajo Meijer, Auschwitz survivor and secretary to A Different Jewish Voice, and Tariq Shadid, Dutch-Palestinian representative of the Palestinian Community
First-rate crowd-puller, however, was Dyab Abou Jahjah, the charismatic, articulate Lebanese-born president of the Arab European League (AEL). Jahjah is known for his fierce defence of Muslim migrant interests in both
‘Quite right,’ says Ben Hayes of Statewatch, a British organisation that has been documenting
‘Don’t expect the Dutch government to turn the tide,’ says senator Anja Meulenbelt with disappointment. She is one of the few politicians present and is not afraid of apportioning blame to all left-wing political parties, including her own Socialist Party. ‘We have failed to stand up against the victimisation of fellow Muslim citizens.’
‘What on earth can we do to bring about change?’, was a frequently heard question in the audience. Surprisingly enough, few, if any, clear-cut answers were given. Jahjah firmly stuck to his guns saying that grassroots activism should do the trick, while Hajo Meijer stressed the importance of exercising maximum pressure on ‘our American puppet government’.
Although their statements were sounding off to an overall sympathetic audience, some dissonant cords were heard: ‘all talk, no action’ and ‘no opposing views from the right-wing camp’. Whether this was due to an unwillingness on the part of the organisers to invite them or ‘typical ostrich behaviour on the Right,’ as some claimed, remained unclear.
Yet, while some speakers did not seem to mind the absence of the Right, others like Tariq Shadid did, Shadid even quoted legendary
‘We have to face the fact that all of use are going to die together,
or we are going to live together.
And if we are going to live together, we have to talk.’