PRESS RELEASE 17 March 2005
ORP should not help the US occupy my country¹ visiting Iraqi oil worker
MANILA (March 17) – A visiting Iraqi oil worker from Iraq today called on the Philippine and other governments not to help the US occupy his country. Farouk Sadik Isma¹al, representative from the Basra-based General Union of Oil Employees said that while while he does not personally agree with the tactics of those who kidnapped Filipino worker Roberto Tarongoy, he also believes that no government should help the United States-led occupation of Iraq.
³If you want to help us rebuild our country, help us end the occupation of our country by the United States and its allies,² Isma¹al said in a press briefing in Quezon City.
In a public forum at the University of the Philippines earlier, Farouk said that while the help of foreign governments are welcome and needed, they should be at the invitation of a truly independent Iraqi government and at terms set by Iraqis. Peacekeeping forces in Iraq should be under the command of the Iraqis, not of the United States, says Isma¹al.
Commenting on Tarongoy, Isma¹al said that a lot of new groups have sprung up in Iraq since the US invasion and that they are doing whatever they believe they can do to end the occupation. He said he does not personally agree with some of these groups¹ tactics but he said they should be understood in the context of Iraq being under a military occupation. The Iraqis have the legitimate right to resist the occupation, Farouk stressed.
As for the supposed civil war breaking out, Isma¹al recalled that they had previously no problems among the different sects and religions in Iraq. ³We suspect that is the United States who is fomenting tension among different groups as part of the classic strategy of divide-and-rule,² Isma¹al said.
A guest of the Iraq Solidarity Campaign, a local anti-war coalition, Isma¹al called on Filipinos to put political pressure on the United States to withdraw its troops from Iraq and to expose its atrocities. In a meeting with Filipino trade unionists, Isma¹al called on his fellow workers to march on the streets, speak out against the occupation, and be part of a global movement against war.
The Iraq Solidarity Campaign (ISC) is currently organizing events as part of a Global Week of Action against the War, coordinated with many anti-war movements around the globe. Last Friday, the ISC launched the ³100+ Filipinos against the War² campaign to show that the opposition to the US occupation of Iraq is now mainstream. Among the signatories were Catholic bishops, Muslim leaders, parliamentarians, a Magsaysay awardee, a retired Ambassador, TV personalities, professors, artists, representatives from labor, farmers¹, women¹s and other organizations.
³If we want to save our fellow Filipino Roberto Tarongoy and shield our workers from unnecessary danger in Iraq, then we should call for an end to the US-led occupation because that is the root of violence in that country,² said Milette Morante of the Iraq Solidarity Campaign.
This Friday, Ism¹al will join over 1,000 people from ISC-member organizations in a march to the US embassy to call on the United States to leave Iraq. The mass demonstration is part of simultaneous globally-coordinated mass actions against the war in over 40 countries and hundreds of cities around the world.#
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on April 8th 2005