The Iraqi Solidarity Campaign in the Philippines organized a series of meetings between a representative of the Campaign and a wide range of political and social representatives in the Philippines. The meetings, held in the region of Manila at the beginning of December, were aimed at strengthening the awareness about the Zionist project of ghettoization in Palestine, the urgency to build up effective forms of boycott and to strengthen the ties between grassroots organizations in both countries.
The main event was a conference held under the title: âThe Last Colonization War: A Forum on The Palestinian â Israeli Conflict and the Philippines.â More than 60 students, activists, professors, workers and journalists attended the Forum. The introduction was given by the Campaign representative talking about the history of the Palestinian struggle, the current stage of the Zionist project, the role of US imperialism supporting the Occupation, the racist policies of Apartheid Israel not only towards Palestinians but as well migrant workers and, finally, about possibilities to launch effective boycott campaigns against the Occupation.
The Philippines ex-Ambassador to the UN, Nelson Lavira, followed giving an inner background and history of the negotiations in the UN halls. This intervention raised heated discussions as many in the hall questioned the meaning of negotiations given the current circumstances and post-Oslo history. Mr. Joel Rocambora, professor in Asian History, talked about the history of the region and the Occupation while, Ms. Ellen Toroeshilas, professor in Media, showed how international media agencies misrepresent the Occupation of Palestine. She proposed a variety of methods to build stronger relations with Palestine and the Palestinian people and how ensure there is a direct Palestinian source of information feeding the Philippines media. Concluding remarks from Mr. Padjo Valdenor from the workers union showed how crucial and important it is that the Philippinese workers unions, and unions in general, raise awareness on the Palestinian struggle and contact Palestinian worker and their organizations to discuss ways how to implement the Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
Strategy meetings with Philippinese activists were held. The Muslim community in the Philippines has been addressed as well as workers unions and academic unions. The meetings had been organized just weeks after the official launch of the boycott Israel campaign in the Philippines. Further meetings and initiatives are planned to let the awareness grow outside Manila, in the North and the South of the country.
Another important aspect of the solidarity initiatives in the Philippines was the clear understanding of the intrinsic relation between the Occupations in Palestine and Iraq and the two anti-colonial struggles. Organized and promoted jointly by the anti-war movements, the tour was the expression of an alliance that can take shape on a much wider level across the world.