Socialist Worker

Abusing the Kurds again

Issue No. 1820

THE HYPOCRISY of Bush and Blair's propaganda against Saddam Hussein is striking in very many ways. But few can feel more nauseated by this hypocrisy than the Kurdish people of Iraq and Turkey. They, more directly than anyone else, know that Saddam is a ruthless and bloody dictator.

They vividly remember the Kurdish town of Halabja in northern Iraq where in March 1988 Saddam's troops killed and wounded thousands. The troops used armed force and mustard gas against a defenceless civilian population. Unlike Bush and Blair, however, the Kurds also remember that the US and Britain were backing Saddam to the hilt at the time.

They remember that it was the US and Britain which armed Saddam to the teeth. They remember that there was not a squeak of protest from the US and British governments against the atrocity in Halabja. Because they live as minorities in Iraq and Turkey, the Kurds can also see the difference in the West's attitude to the governments of these two countries. Turkey is a key US ally. It has waged a ruthless and genocidal war against its Kurdish minority for the past 15 years.

Official figures put the death toll at somewhere around 30,000. About 4,000 Kurdish villages have been burnt and razed to the ground in an attempt to depopulate the area. The Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan was caught, sentenced to death and remains a prisoner. He is held in isolation on a small prison island in the Marmara Sea.

Are Bush and Blair concerned about any of this? No. Why? Because Turkey is a staunch and reliable NATO ally. When Saddam was an ally of the West, a similar blind eye was turned on what he did to the Kurdish people. Now that he is no longer an ally and must be taught a lesson, Bush and Blair have suddenly discovered the Kurds!

As one Kurdish friend said last week, 'Yes, Saddam is a butcher. 'But he must be overthrown by the people of Iraq, not by the bastards who built him up in the first place.'
Ronnie Margulies, North London


Blair's dossier is the propaganda for a bloody war

TONY BLAIR'S long awaited 'dossier' on Iraq is nothing but a propaganda document released by Tony Blair for George W Bush, the champion of 'the civilised world'. It is an unashamed fabrication of unsubstantiated allegations deliberately aimed at swaying public opinion here and in the US for another devastating US-led attack on a small country.

Most of us can see that this is a scaremongering ploy for a bloody war to further the global ambitions of a superpower hungry for oil. The victims will be the innocent people of Iraq, but then Iraqi lives are not worth as much as white American or British lives.

It makes one cringe to see the euphoria, excitement and glee that the warmongers Bush and Blair project when they canvass for war and bully other nations into joining in.

If Britain and the US want to earn any respect, they should rein back the gross excesses of Israel, their client state in the Middle East. They should make it obey United Nations resolutions to the letter, starting with Resolution 242, which calls for Israel's withdrawal from the Occupied Territories.
M Shylaja, East London


Labour's double standards

ONCE AGAIN we see the dual standards of Blairism. Poor Euan Blair has not got into Oxford, so he has to go to Bristol instead. I bet the young Blair won't have to get a job to support himself at university. My son in law has to work to pay for college.

The members of this government got grants to go to university and now they want to stop working class people getting an education. Let everyone have the chance of education.
Paul Barker, Wakefield


Poland says no to attack

HUNDREDS OF people, Poles and Arabs, protested in Warsaw against Bush's war on Iraq on Tuesday of last week. Bush has named Poland's president as one of his four closest European allies. The demonstration started outside the US embassy and went on to where NATO defence ministers were meeting. Only a global anti-war movement can stop Bush's global terror.
Pracownicza Demokracja (Workers Democracy), Poland


BT is ringing in cuts

BRITISH Telecom (BT) is planning to axe 30,000 call boxes throughout the country. This will hit the less well off in our society such as pensioners who may have to travel too far in an emergency to find a phone box. BT isn't interested in providing a service for these people. It is a privatised company and puts profits before people.

If the government can hand out £410 million to British Energy, surely they can afford to pay the ridiculously high phone rental charges for all pensioners?
John Appleyard, West Yorkshire


Oil is a weapon

ECONOMIC warfare has the potential to heat up the Middle East. There is the tendency to boycott US goods throughout the region. The oil supply could be used as an economic weapon.

If a really serious crisis developed, petrol rationing might have to be introduced. The stock exchange is no longer stable enough to maintain capitalism's optimism.
Reader, Edinburgh


Cuba needs help, not criticism

SOCIALIST WORKER is an excellent paper and should be read by all. The article about Bacardi (Socialist Worker, 21 September) was good. But it was marred by Andy Nicoll's comments about Cuba being a massively unequal society. Cuba is the nearest thing to a socialist society on earth despite 30 years of US blockade.

Education and health is free in Cuba. Work is for all. Science is promoted. Cuba fought in Angola and the Congo - an international obligation. Cuba needs help from socialists, not bricks. It is fighting in the front line, not in the comfortable UK, like Andy and others who criticise.
A Chattin, Bolton


Is revolution really needed?

SOCIALIST Worker says power has to be taken by revolution. Why? Why not just get elected to power? If you cannot get elected then a revolution would not be the will of the people. You say that the system is rotten and corrupt but if you were in power you could sort this all out.

You say revolution would be powered by the workers, but why not just get them to vote for you? It is well known that voter turnouts are becoming lower, often due to people being disheartened and pessimistic about today's politics. This is a chance for a party to capture the nation.

Finally, the control of big business by the country is so embedded that revolution would be difficult, but they could never interfere with an election - other than bankrolling the parties.
Will Perry


Marching for privilege

HARDLY ANYONE will be surprised to learn that the vast majority of students here at Harrow School took part in the Countryside Alliance march on Sunday 22 September. Keen to do their bit to preserve the ancestral rights of their class to hunt and kill things, the boys of Harrow, one of the country's oldest and most expensive public schools, knew instinctively where their loyalties lay, as did Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.

Of course, there is no disputing that rural communities have real problems that need to be addressed without delay. Rural transport is often appalling, and the closure of local schools, health centres, banks and shops endangers the whole nature of country life. But I wonder how many of the 400,000 marchers vote Labour, and would they have been on the streets if the Tories had been in power?
Les Holley, West London


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Article information

Letters
Sat 5 Oct 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1820
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