Past in Perspective

2018-05-05T00:20:10+05:00

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

– Elie Wiesel

 

The Vietnam War was a hugely unpopular war that America fought. Dissent against the American intervention was not confined within American borders. Soon the anti-war protests against American aggression in Vietnam spread all over Europe. The anti-war movement’s legitimacy grew with resistance Muhammad Ali had shown. In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. openly condemned the US war in Vietnam and labelled America the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.

In Europe, too, intellectuals and students organised demonstrations outside American embassies. The most extraordinary development of the protests was commissioning of 'The Russell Tribunal on War Crimes in Vietnam'. It was constituted on November 13th, 1966 at a meeting in London. Jean-Paul Sartre joined Russell there. Famous Pakistani born public intellectual Tariq Ali, too, was part of the fact-finding mission that went to Vietnam to collect evidence of America’s usage of chemical weapons. The anti-war movement that had spread beyond the United States forced the US administration to end its war in Vietnam.

The anti-war movement of today, known as ‘Stop the War Coalition’, is fighting America’s aggression through the power of argumentation. The militant tendency –the speciality of the 60s' anti-war demonstrations– is absent from today’s anti-war movement. The anti-war campaign of today is trying hard to break the dominant stories propagated in the mainstream media that pave the way for the US and its allies to go into war against a country at will. The movement is not a success, though, yet it has played a vital role in exposing the lies of the American administration.

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