Sanna Hafez, a founder member of the Hands of Syria group in Britain, spoke to Socialist Worker
We’ve come together to alert people to the possibility of an attack on Syria and to try to do something about it.
It is four years since the invasion of Afghanistan, two years since the invasion of Iraq, and the situation in those countries has got worse.
It will be the same in Syria if the US gets away with it.
It’s so clear that everything they do is for their own benefit. The talk about spreading democracy is just hypocrisy.
We have set up the campaign in order to expose that hypocrisy and challenge the kind of lies they told to justify invading Iraq.
It is very important for people in Britain to have contact with ordinary people from Syria.
So I welcome the opportunity of today’s conference to make those links.
Over the coming months we want to get the message out around Britain.
We are working with the Stop the War Coalition and we are aiming to bring Syrians who live in Britain into the anti-war movement.
Elaheh Kooalee was an MP for the reform movement in Iran for four years. She spoke at the conference about how Western threats against Iran undermine the democracy movement there. She later spoke to Socialist Worker
It is a critical time for the reform movement in Iran. Over the last eight years we have seen the growth of the movement. But the wider security situation in the Middle East is making it very difficult for us.
The conservatives in Iran have spread the idea that the reform movement has failed. They have an interest in creating disappointment among the public. There is a symmetry with the neo-conservatives in the US, who also want to pretend the reform movement does not really exist.
There are underlying changes in Iranian society. They are the source of real democracy, which has to come from within.
It is not just the threat of attack that undermines that space.
The use of NGOs by the US to promote its vision of regime change and so called ‘democratic revolution’ as in Lebanon means that genuine civil society groups in Iran get associated with being pro-US.