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Open letter from BC Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
February 3, 2005

We call on democratic and anti-imperialist people to demand the withdraw of Walden Bello from Stopwar.ca's speaker list. The important question is, who is a terrorist? Walden Bello concurs with the declaration by the US, Holland, the European Union, the Philippines and (more strangely) that communist organizations and leaders such as Jose Maria Sison and the Communist Party of the Philippines are terrorists. And he is supporting the demand that Sison be deported from Holland, where he has been living in forced exile since 1986, back to the Philippines to face punishment.

BCCHRP is not organizing armed insurrection but we understand that extreme deprivation, state terror, and foreign interference cause armed struggles in places like Iraq, Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Africa, Nepal and the Philippines. Governments caring nothing about human rights and the health and wellbeing of their people refuse to find social and political solutions, instead resorting to state terror, often with the blessing and direct aid of the US. We stand with broad movements who oppose state terror and militarization, call for meaningful social justice, independence, democracy, and economic security.

Mass organizations are driven by deeply concerned and hardworking activists, many being socialists and communists. Here in the Lower Mainland such dedicated people are present in Stopwar.ca, VDLC, Cityfest, Solidarity Notes Choir, May Day committees,anti-poverty and community development groups, Coop Radio, etc. Does this make them communist fronts? We like to think that Stopwar is a broad mass movement with a progressive, meaningful agenda. We agree with its speakers at the February 2 event, "the War at Home". Terry Engler said that anti-terrorism is another brand of anti-communism, which as motivate many violations of human rights, particularly against labour and political activistsin Canada. Harsha Awualia said the Canada was formed byimperialist plunder and war, and it is still waging terror against indigenous people while escalating its programme of racial profiling and attacking coloured people, particularly Muslims, and activists. Naomi Klein exposed the sham elections in Iraq and called for support of the armed resistance and the movement for genuine democracy there.All these positions are inconsistent with the cruel hearted and sinister agenda of Focus on the Glogal South and other such yellow organizations set up and supported by imperialist and elitist interests.

We appeal to the thinking and concerned members of Stopwar to oppose anti-communism and the imperialist globalization of the South, Canada and all corners of the world, and defend genuine peace and democracy. We call on them to have Walden Bello removed from the speakers list.

IN SOLIDARITY!
Barbara Waldern
Chair, BC Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines

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