Press release – and wishing local peace activist Elsie Tu a happy 100th birthday

June 2, 2013

Second statement on Syria issued by the Humanist Association of Hong Kong

For Syria, there is a Swiss solution: “One Syria, federal, with local autonomy, even down to the village level, with Sunnis, Shias and Kurds having relations to their own across the borders. International peacekeeping, also for the protection of minorities. And non-aligned, which rules out foreign bases and flows of arms, but does not rule out compulsory arbitration for the Golan Heights (and June 1967 in general), with Israeli UN membership at stake…”

We also take recourse in what Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire stated to the media following her investigative trip into Syria and Lebanon 1 to 11 May 2013 as part of the “Mussalaha International Peace Delegation to Lebanon-Syria”:

“It is for the Syrian people to decide about their own problems, their own destiny, their own politics, their own leadership and form of government. No one has the right to interfere in their internal affairs and all foreign forces must withdraw and stay away. The flow of arms and armed fighters must be stopped, sanctions must be lifted, and if the arms embargo should remain in place, it ought to be all parties involved, not just the Syrian government that has a right to defend itself from foreign aggression…

“…I find it disgraceful that our Western governments, led by US-EU-Israel and their client states, be full and willing partners in such atrocities perpetrated in name of ‘human rights,” “democracy,” “rule of law,” “freedom,” “liberty,” and other such meaningless, trivialized euphemisms. The present political and economic structures, embedded in the machinery of predatory militarism and capitalism, present us with only one choice, the lesser evil; but that is an artificial construct. Gandhi, Mandela, Luther King, Lula [note: classically the HI would only go with Gandhi and Luther King] and many others are proof that changes and transformation are envisioned, are given form and arise from below, from the ranks of the oppressed and minorities, from a non co-opted periphery, and not from within the belly of an empire of banks and bases seeking unlimited profits and hegemonic powers-for their own sake. Policies must again be made to endeavor the wellbeing of human beings, of life, not the perpetuation of structures and cultures that by necessity have to go. At other times in history piracy, slavery and absolute monarchy, for instance, also represented the status quo, the law; but they are no more. Nonviolent resistance and actions throughout the cultural-structural apparatus are the means to turn this tide, which is taking our planet and all its life to the abyss. We must choose life and peace by peaceful means, resist we must; and we will!”

Our Association concurs and also speaks out strongly for peace in Syria demanding that the peoples of the world make common cause in opposition to what is taking place today. For this we need to make it known that we explicitly condemn military intervention by foreign countries not only because of the obvious wrong of such interference but also because, for workable political persuasion, it is essential to operate from and strengthen national sovereignty.

In accordance the proposed action is to immediately:

– Terminate any thought of military intervention by the United States of America and those European countries that comply with those interventions in the internal affairs of Syria.
– Constitute a cease-fire guaranteed by a permanent observer mission of those not committed to attacks on Syria.
– The establishment and open airing of a programme and timetable for the political and social reforms agreed among the people and their political parties working on behalf of the diverse groups in Syria.

These measures form the basis of the minimum conditions needed to overcome this violence fraught juncture where the violence of a minority is facing the violence of another minority, taking place within a complex of different ideological stances of the ethnic and religious groups.

Syria must be allowed to extricate itself from the weight of big power manipulations that have resulted in the country being used a site for a proxy war that has no sympathy for the Syrian peoples.

Finally, we reiterate that, if people are consulted about going to war, war would not exist! People love life and want peace.

The Humanist Association of Hong Kong proposes, as the Humanist International did 30 years ago, moving towards real direct and participatory democracy as the road to take to liberation and transformation, bringing the human being to the central values of a true human history.