12) SURREY RALLY URGES
article is from the January 1-31, 2009, issue of People's Voice,
leading communist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the
source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $25/year, or $12 low
income rate; for U.S. readers - $25 US per year; other overseas readers
- $25 US or $35 CDN per year. Send to: People's Voice, c/o PV Business
Manager, 133 Herkimer St., Unit 502, Hamilton, ON, L8P 2H3.)
Shahzad Nazir Khan
After the Mumbai terror attacks, the
escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan risks war between the
two nuclear states. In response, the Indo-Pak community of Greater
Vancouver decided to hold a peace rally on New Year's Day.
of the Jan. 1 rally
was to show solidarity between the south Asian communities, and to
oppose war hysteria which could devastate a great number of innocent
people and their livelihood. The initiative was taken by Gurpreet Singh
of Radio India, Dr. Saif, Dr. Sadhu Singh and Shahzad Nazir Khan, south
Asian peace activists.
members of the south
Asian communities, including women and children, braved the harsh
weather for the cause of peace, gathering in front of the Punjabi
Market on Scott Road in Surrey. Holding placards highlighting their
commitment against war and terrorism, the participants marched along
the main road and chanted slogans in favour of peace.
Saif addressed the
gathering and expressed the determination of the participants to
prevail upon the governments of India and Pakistan to de-escalate
tensions and resolve their mutual issues through talks.
Begum, a renowned caller
to local radio talk shows, made a passionate appeal to recognize the
conspiracy of the big powers to promote tensions in south Asia just to
grind their own axe.
of the Fraser Valley
Peace Council stressed the need to join together the causes of peace in
all corners of the world.
Suleman Mehtab, president
of the Canada Urdu Association, recited a poem depicting his sentiments
against hatred among different communities, and appealed to the
participants to stand for peace and harmony. He also narrated his
experience of visiting India and Pakistan recently as an envoy of peace
between the two countries.
Sharma of SANSAD (South
Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy) condemned the forces of
hatred that are bent on promoting terrorism and war hysteria.
writer Fauzia Rafiq
criticized the trends of terrorism, whether among Muslims, Sikhs,
Hindus or Christians, as acting against humanity.
Binning, a retired UBC
teacher, reiterated that the south Asian communities are together in
defeating the trends of hatred and war-mongering.
Warraich of the
Pakistani-Canadian Cultural Association condemned all acts of terrorism
and assured the participants that the Pakistani community will stand
together with their counterparts from other countries in addressing
Pirzada of The Miracle
newspaper stressed the need for the media to play a positive role
rather than promoting hatred and hysteria.
Surrey-Newton) assured the crowd of his endeavours to promote peace and
harmony at all levels among different communities. Rachid Arab, NDP
candidate in Surrey North in the recent federal election, called for
peace and solidarity among different cultural groups. He also condemned
atrocities being committed by Israel in Gaza as state-sponsored
speakers included Avtar Gill of the Tarksheel Society and Darshan
Sekhon of the Security Professionals Association.
At the end,
Shahzad Nazir Khan
referred to the inscription at the Peace Arch between Canada and the
US, that the people living on both sides of a border should be treated
like "children of the same mother." The participants joined in with
chants of "Long live peace", "Down with war hysteria", and "Down with