Meeting in the capital of Europe from 14 to 17 April, the BRussells Tribunal brought together intellectuals and activists from Europe, the US and the Arab world to hear testimony on the role of the Project for the New American Century think-tank in promoting aggressive war as a means of reasserting US hegemony in a changing and unstable world (see Al-Ahram Weekly
, 686, 15-21 April, Focus on the BRussels Tribunal
). Below, we print the full text of the commission's conclusions, followed by extracts from the public debate which followed the final session, and personal statements by Egyptian commission members Samir Amin and Nawal El-Saadawi
In her statement to Tribunal, leading feminist and novelist Nawal El-Saadawi underlines the need for "a new peoples' justice"
This is not the first time I participate in an international tribunal. The first time was in New York in the International People's Tribunal which tried George Bush the father, then president of the United States, as a war criminal, after a coalition of more than 30 countries led by the United States had attacked Iraq, killed over a quarter of a million people, and left the country in ruins.
The second time was almost ten years later in 2002 during the first World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre. An international popular Tribunal listened to witnesses from 13 countries exposing the disasters caused by foreign debt, and by structural adjustment and free trade policies imposed on the so-called South, by the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO and other capitalist institutions.
But today policies followed by neo-imperialist, neo- colonial and neo-liberal capitalism since the 1980s, and in which the successive rulers of the United States have played a leading role, face us with far bigger dangers than we have ever faced before. The neo-conservative fundamentalists (with their think-tank, PNAC) now in power in the United States seek to enforce an economic military domination of the world, an American empire built on war, on the decimation of vast populations, on fear, terror and media deceptions and lies. Under the pretext of freedom, liberation, democracy, human rights (and women rights), they accelerated killing and exploitation of people in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Palestine, and are planning to kill and exploit the people in Syria, Iran, Korea, and all others in the so-called axis of evil.
This is what they call the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
As a writer I believe that writers should be part of the active resistance against this danger. We should not separate between thinking and acting. We have a responsibility, not only in our writing, but also in action. We need to demystify such words as democracy, the so-called American democracy, American civilisation, morality, etc.... Intellectuals, writers, philosophers, should play an active role in unveiling the mind, including their own minds. We need clear ideas, not ambiguous philosophies that confuse people.
As a woman I refuse the pretext of women's liberation as an excuse to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, and to dominate the Arab people, whereas oil, water, money and political domination are the real reason. We know that women are the first victims of military and economic exploitation, of social injustices, of poverty and disease. Women's rights are human rights, they are universal rights and should not be sacrificed under any reason.
As a citizen of Egypt, I come from what is called the Middle East (Middle with respect to who?). We are named by our colonisers! I come from what is now described as a "theatre for major wars"; for the war in Iraq and its military occupation by the United States and the United Kingdom; for armed aggression against the Palestinians by a technologically advanced Israeli military machine. I come from an area which George W Bush, in connivance with Ariel Sharon and others, plans to deconstruct and restructure as a part of the United States Empire, as the part which he has named a "Greater Middle East", and which he wishes to transform into a vast United States settlement and military stronghold.
This Tribunal will contribute to exposing the dangers facing people all over the world. It is another step on the way to establishing a peoples' justice, a new international legal and moral system which can accuse and try the war criminals protected by the systems and institutions of world power (including the UN which is a tool used by colonial and neo- colonial powers).
This Tribunal is a platform which wishes to declare that war criminals should be brought to justice, should not be rewarded, the oil of Iraq is for the Iraqi people and not for American and Israeli companies.
This Tribunal is a platform to declare that men and women all over the world will continue to resist actively until they defeat the policies of accelerated exploitation, of militarisation, of state terrorism. Who are the real terrorists? They are not the victims of war and aggression, they are not the people in Iraq, in Palestine (or other places) who are resisting state terrorism. The real danger facing the world now is state terrorism.