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Address to QUB Vigil for Fallujah



Brian Kelly • 18 November 2004

I want to say, first of all, that I am grateful to the students who organized this rally, and deeply honoured to express my solidarity with the people resisting US and British occupation in Fallujah and across Iraq. The value of any university in a democratic society is determined not by how much information it manages to cram into the heads of its graduates over the course of three yeas; nor by its success in contributing to the profit margins of local or multinational corporations; the worth of a university in a democratic society should be gauged by whether it succeeds in preparing informed women and men whose knowledge can be put to use in solving the massive problems facing humanity. We live in a world of deep and increasing inequality; a world gone mad on war, on endless war; and a world in which ordinary people feel excluded from any real say in the societies in which they live and powerless over their day-to-day lives. And you have today redeemed the reputation of this university—or at least offered it the chance of redemption. Because in the rubble and corpse-strewn streets of Fallujah today where, as we speak, dogs and cats are living off of the carcasses of our fellow human beings murdered by the American war machine, humanity faces one of its darkest hours. And by being here you have taken a stand on the side of light.

Humanity faces darkness today, as it did when the European powers descended on Africa to profit from the sale and exploitation of some 20 million human beings sold into slavery. And we should remember that they were bought and sold with the approval of the establishment of the day—the churchmen and the politicians, the brightest legal minds and the most prominent journalists of the day rationalized slavery, calling it a ‘school of civilization’ and a means of bringing Christianity to the heathen savages. Humanity stands today peering into the darkness, as it did when fascism rolled out its massive technological superiority and wrought its revenge on those Jews who chose to resist in the Warsaw Ghetto, pummeling them into dust while almost the entire ‘civilized’ world stood silent. Humanity faces the darkness today, as it did a generation ago, when American imperialism, confronted with the courage of the Vietnamese people, unleashed the dogs of war on an impoverished land, dropping seven million tons of bombs and millions of gallons of poisonous chemicals on an impoverished people. And they did so with impunity, and with the assent of ‘respectable’ public opinion, until the Vietnamese people and young people like yourselves in the antiwar movement forced them out.

I will agree with that pampered child of the American ruling class George Bush and that sniveling coward Tony Blair about one thing: the survival of democracy is at stake in Fallujah. And it is not only Iraqi democracy that is threatened: this war, this endless war that they promise us, threatens democracy here in Belfast, in Dublin, in London, and in every corner of our world. But the survival of democracy depends not on the triumph of the American and British war machine, but on the defeat of the Bush/Blair project in Iraq and across the Middle East. Democracy will not come to the Middle East at the hands of those who lied systematically and ignored the antiwar majorities in London and Dublin to bring on their war; who starved Iraq for more than a decade while life slowly, painfully faded for a half million of its most vulnerable people; democracy will not come at the hands of those who have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Israeli war criminal Ariel Sharon while the Palestinian people are slaughtered in their dozens and their hundreds and in their thousands; who have littered the Iraqi landscape with unspeakable war crimes; who derive humor and some perverse pleasure from their management of the torture cells in Afghanistan and Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib; who have for decades propped up a string of corrupt and vicious Arab dictatorships in order to maintain their hold over oil; who have criminalized Arab and Muslim communities across the world; and who, finally, have engineered a media blackout so that the world will not know the horrible crimes they are committing today—at this very hour, at this very minute—in Fallujah and across Iraq.

Democracy will have a chance in the Middle East, real democracy will have a chance in the west—only if we succeed in defeating Bush and Blair’s plans for the region. The test of this generation lies in Iraq—just as the test of another generation was in the streets of Selma and Prague and Paris and Hanoi—we will be judged on whether we, together with the Iraqi people, can build a resistance capable of putting some manners into those who would extinguish human freedom in the name of profit. The Argentinean revolutionary Che Guevara, in a speech before the UN General Assembly against an earlier episode of western war crimes in the Congo, said something entirely appropriate for the situation we now confront in Iraq:

“Our free eyes now look towards new horizons, and are able to see what our condition as…slaves kept us from seeing only yesterday: that ‘western civilization’ conceals under its lovely façade a gang of hyenas and jackals. That is the only possible name for those who have gone on a ‘humanitarian mission’ to the Congo. Carnivorous animals, feeding on defenseless peoples: that is what distinguishes the imperial “white”…All the free men in the world must stand ready to avenge the crime of the Congo.”

The jackals and hyenas of our own day today reside in the White House and in Downing Street, and their paid mercenaries, depleted of whatever humanity they once possessed, roam the streets of Fallujah and Mosul, with our brothers and sisters in their crosshairs. All the free women and men in the world must stand ready to avenge the crime of Fallujah.


Brian Kelly (personal capacity)
University Lecturers Against the Occupation of Iraq
(ULAOI: pronounced “You Lie”)
18 November 2004







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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

19 November 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Another Fine Mess
Mick Hall

Dr. John Coulter

Address to QUB Vigil for Fallujah
Brian Kelly

Hearts and Minds
Fred A Wilcox

Smell the Coffee, not the Latte
Kristi Kline

Arresting Vanunu While Burying Arafat
Mary La Rosa

Weary of those stubborn indigenous resistance stains? Pretend they're not there...
Toni Solo

The Village
Anthony McIntyre

15 November 2004

Scapegoats & Swastikas
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Death of a Leader
Anthony McIntyre

Ruairi O Bradaigh, RSF Ard-Fheis Address 2004
Ruairi O Bradaigh

Anyone But Kerry
James Davis

Rubber Boa Studies
Eoghan O’Suilleabhain

'8 years in The Belfast SWP - A fraternal parting', and Part 2 of 'The ARN, - A Movement'
Davy Carlin



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