Quebec City, PQ, March 24, 2005
Statement in remembrance of the first day of NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia, March 24, 1999
by David Orchard
To all gathered in Toronto today in memory of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia which began six years ago, March 24, 1999.
Please accept my congratulations for organizing this important commemorative event and my condolences to all of you who have suffered under this brutal and unjust invasion. I am sorry that I am unable to be with you today, but I am writing from Quebec City and relaying this through my brother.
The bombing of Yugoslavia represented a significant and shocking turn of international affairs. It was an overwhelming and unprovoked attack on a largely helpless nation struggling to hold itself together in the face of international threats, pressure, and sanctions.
But it was more than that. Although a blatant breach of international law and NATO's own charter, the bombardment was justified by a novel and Orwellian concept: "humanitarian intervention."
This doctrine is now being used by the powerful to justify attacks on smaller nations. It is promoted by many governments including our own.
Since the bombing of Yugoslavia several other countries have experienced and are continuing to suffer the agony of, "humanitarian intervention." The list includes Afghanistan, Iraq, and Haiti with more on the horizon.
The NATO countries used a particularly horrifying weapon in 1999 -- depleted uranium munitions. In the last 4 years the U.S. has used 3,000 tons of depleted uranium in Afghanistan and Iraq -- a terror that will cause untold suffering for all eternity.
It is important that you have organized this memorial event today and that we never forget what was done in 1999. In 2005 it is crucial that all who care about the right of citizens and nations to live in peace speak out against the ongoing slaughter in Iraq. We must also speak out against Prime Minister Martin's ongoing push on the international stage to legitimize so-called humanitarian intervention, and our voices must be raised against our country's role in overthrowing the democratically elected president of Haiti and our ongoing occupation of that country.
Our own battle for Canada's sovereignty must be strengthened if we are to return to our proud tradition of peacekeeping rather than increasingly becoming an accomplice -- silent or otherwise -- in the ongoing destruction of international law.
Please accept my personal greetings to all of you on this day of pain but also of hope, a hope based on the sure knowledge that we can, and do, by our actions make a difference in this world.
With my very best wishes,
March 24, 2005, Québec City, PQ
David Orchard is the author of The Fight for Canada - Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism, and ran for the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative Party in 1998 and 2003. He farms at Borden, SK and can be reached at tel (306) 652-7095, E-mail: email@example.com