The World Against War conference in London last month united activists from around the world. Ibraham Mousawi, editor of Hezbollah's Alintiqad weekly newspaper, spoke to Patrick Ward about media myths and uniting against imperialism.
During the war last year the media portrayed the resistance as "terrorist", and Hezbollah a "terrorist organisation". What do you think about that?
When you talk about injustice, aggression, occupation and oppression, it’s not only about physical and military intervention, and harassment and incursions; there are other faces for this. I believe they are brainwashing the people with propaganda, misinformation and misconceptions that are being widespread by a very hegemonic and imperialist machine because they own the media outlets and the satellites. They have armies of journalists all over.
As for the resistance – one man’s freedom fighter is America’s terrorist. The resistance in Lebanon has not started an attack against anyone, it’s fighting for its land and to liberate Lebanese occupied territories. They have targeted the Israeli forces inside Lebanon’s occupied territories for 99.99 percent of their operations. How could they be depicted as terrorists? They are fighting the Israeli occupying forces on our land to liberate it, and to free the hostages. So according to US terminology – and we should find our own terminology – they are terrorists. Who believes the US is right? The US is right if we believe that might is right. But this is not the case, I believe what is right is right. They have the right to fight occupation, in complete compliance with international law, the human rights doctrine, the Geneva Convention, and with the natural law that you have to defend yourself.
We are true and genuine seekers of peace, we want real peace together, but we have to address the root cause of the problem. When you fight against occupation what does the occupation do? It comes, kills people, and occupies land. When you attack those who are killing people you are saying that life means a lot to you, so to sacrifice your life to preserve the lives of others. This means the resistance itself has a very civilised attitude, because it is resisting an occupation that is killing a mass of people, and is occupying your land. You are preserving the genuine peace, telling them you can not make aggressions and escape unpunished.
This is the kind of thing I could say about the resistance: the resistance has never breached any law, they are exercising the law. The US says they are terrorists, but even Europe does not say they are terrorists – they were not able to convince others. Everyone who stands facing the Israeli occupation is a terrorist to the US.
Another allegation put by the media is that you are fighting Israel because it is a Jewish state.
Absolutely not. We are Muslims, and when I say I am a Muslim it means partly that I am a Jew, I am a Christian. We believe Islam is the end of a series of religions. This is a deep conviction, a religious conviction, and a rational conviction – it’s unshakable. We recognise Judaism as a true religion of God, we recognise Jesus and Christianity as messenger and message of God, and Moses as a messenger of God. We are all people of the book. For example, I was the first one to bring five rabbis from outside Lebanon into the country; three of them came from New York, and two from Manchester. They visited Beirut in 2005. I have many Jewish friends around the world, such as Stanley Cohen and Seymour Hersh. We have nothing against Jews or any other human being because of religion, race, colour or affiliation. I could have been a Jew, a Buddhist or a Christian – what’s wrong with that? The most important thing is to have love, tolerance and kindness, and to care for any other human being as if he was my brother. This is one of the things they keep saying – anti-Semitic, anti Jew. I can’t be anti Semitic, I am Semite myself. All of the people in the area are Semites.
How do you feel about the global resistance to imperialism?
I believe we have to work hard to bridge all of the gaps, and be able to ring a bell one day, perhaps in London because maybe you will be in danger, and hundreds of thousands will march in Beirut to support you, and hundreds of thousands will march in India to support you, and hundreds of thousands in Scandinavia and East Asia, everywhere. We are all human beings; we are all one family, regardless of our religious or political affiliations, race or colour. We should care for each other as if we are one family.
This kind of conference brings people together. We should forget our differences, and do something about the crisis that we are engulfed in all over the world. We pretend to be a global village, what happens in one part will necessarily affect the other parts, so we have to do something about it. We as the grassroots, we as the NGOs, we as the anti imperialists, the anti occupation, the anti war movements, we should coordinate and be able to do something.
In Britain you were able to bring down a government because of its support for Israel and the 33 day war, when you have this capability and this means you are doing the right thing, and you should keep doing it.
The 15 March international day of protest against the wars is a great opportunity to show our unity and solidarity, to say that we are all one people living on the same earth, sharing the same principles, aspiring to the same dreams. We all have one common goal, which is to preserve the dignity, freedom, liberation, independence and peace of all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity and colour. We are all one family.
We have to unite against the imperialist front and hegemony, and the warmongers and criminals leading it. We have to criminalise them to show they can not wage wars in the name of their people and escape unpunished - that they cannot start huge wars and sieges, killing millions on false assumptions and misleading information.
So, a strong message of solidarity and unity against the imperialists should be sent, and it should resonate all over the world. A simple message: these wars are not in our names, but in our names you will pay the price for your crimes and you will be brought to justice!