On Thursday, September 2nd, Sulong and other progressive Filipino organizations joined our friends in the Campaign to Defend the Struggles of the Iranian People — Vancouver, as they hosted a rally to defend the struggles of the Afghan people against the Taliban and foreign imperialists. We gathered to defend Afghan women from patriarchal violence fuelled by imperialist, militarist intervention in Afghanistan.
Watch the full rally and read our statement (starting at 15:52) below:
Warm greetings to the people of Afghanistan from all progressive Filipino forces as we gather to defend your struggle for liberation and democracy. We have learned about your struggle from all quarters — from the conservative mainstream media which paints Afghan people as helpless victims or as terrorists, to academics theorizing about the situation in Afghanistan, to the Afghan people themselves speaking about their lives. We have learned from you that the United States and Canadian armed forces have contributed to the violence in Afghanistan by bombing your cities, funding the Taliban, and propping up a puppet government which lines the pockets of foreign elites. We have learned that your people resisted imperialist forces during the long 20-year military occupation which Canadians euphemistically called the “Afghan mission”, but which we know to have been a project of wealth extraction and violent counterinsurgency.
The Philippines, like Afghanistan, is characterized by a puppet regime propped up by the military aid of foreign imperialists. The Canadian government sends money and fighter jets to the Philippine military, which bombs Indigenous schools which they claim falsely are hotbeds for terrorist organizing. Meanwhile, the Canadian military expended billions of dollars to maintain its presence in Afghanistan during the occupation, relying on the same rationale. Canadian resource extraction companies like Oceana-Gold use Philippine police to bulldoze over Indigenous lands to build their mines. In Afghanistan, Canadian investor Kilo Goldmines was awarded an iron mining concession in Hajigak, the largest iron oxide deposit in Afghanistan. Philippine utilities are run by private companies for the profit of foreign imperialists, just as in Afghanistan, construction, telecommunications, and energy contracts are awarded to US, British, and Canadian companies.
Our country was formally occupied for many centuries by colonizing forces, and to this day it is dotted with US military bases. US-backed militarization and the semi-feudal and semi-colonial system in the Philippines have contributed to a patriarchal culture, where violence against women and LGBTQ people runs rampant, similar to the situation in Afghanistan. But while here North America elites wring their hands over the patriarchal violence in Afghanistan and use it as an excuse to justify imperialist incursions in sovereign Afghan territory, we the Filipino women and LGBTQ people know that US imperialism is as much your enemy as it is ours.
We stand firm with the Afghan people in struggling against both the oppressive Taliban regime and against foreign imperialists who wish to exploit your lands and your people for profit. We reject the popular narrative which sets a US-backed neoliberal regime as the only alternative to the Taliban forces — instead, we support the Afghan people themselves in uniting for liberation and a genuine people’s democracy.
From Afghanistan to the Philippines, Stop the US War Machine!
Long Live International Solidarity!