Socialist Worker

Kabul protests show the growing anger

Issue No. 2003

The Afghan capital Kabul was the one place US and Nato occupation forces and the government of president Hamid Karzai could claim control. But an uprising this week, after a US military truck crashed into rush hour traffic killing at least five people, was a major show of opposition to an occupation in which British forces are taking a leading role.

Afghan security forces opened fire as demonstrators marched on the US embassy and the offices of a British security company. They also tried to reach the parliament building.

The uprising in Kabul reflects mounting anger over civilian deaths caused by US bombing. Last week, president Karzai ordered an investigation into a US airstrike on a village near Kandahar, in the south, that killed at least 35 civilians. In Kunar province in the east, seven members of a family were killed during an airstrike.

In the previous two weeks US airstrikes have killed up to 350 people in the Helmand province where 3,500 British soldiers have been deployed.

Growing opposition to occupation is accompanied by anger over corruption. Few Afghans have seen the benefits of the $12 billion of aid granted to Karzai’s government. Half the population live on less than 54p a day. According to the United Nations seven million Afghans are chronically hungry while the majority of the population lack clean drinking water.

It all explains a spontaneous uprising against the occupation.

Academic boycott

A vote for freedom

The decision by the Natfhe lecturers’ union conference to support a call to boycott Israeli academics has brought accusations of opposing “academic freedom” and backing an “anti-Semitic policy” onto lecturers’ heads.

Israel’s supporters say it is the only democratic state in the Middle East and to single it out is unfair.

But Israel is no normal democracy. It is a colonial settler state backed up by US imperialism.

The “academic freedom” of Palestinian people is virtually non-existent, particularly in the Occupied Territories where lecturers and students are often not allowed through Israeli checkpoints to go to university.

Israeli academics, like the rest of Israeli society, rarely speak out against this state of affairs. Complicity with the state and its racist policies is much more the norm. The accusations of anti-Semitism are a crude attempt to stop criticism of Israel.

The Natfhe vote is a sign that the plight of the Palestinian people has not been forgotten, and millions still support them, despite the slanders of the pro-Israeli establishment.

Palme D’Or

Congratulations Ken

Socialist Worker is breaking ranks with the Daily Mail and The Sun in congratulating Ken Loach for winning the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his new film The Wind That Shakes The Barley.

The Daily Mail complain that he is loved in Europe where anti-British and anti-US sentiments stir.

The subject matter of the film – the British Empire, Ireland, colonial occupation and resistance – has sent the right potty.

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What We Think
Sat 3 Jun 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2003
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