REFUSING TO BE LIED TO

“I’ll tell you what it is actually. It’s a very fundamental thing, not just about compassion and solidarity or care or love about fellow human beings and their basic genuine human emotions, care and concern. But it’s actually another fundamental emotion: I refuse to be lied to.”
~ Mark Thomas.

Here’s a video for you.

Well, okay, it’s not really a video . . . it’s really an audio . . . of British comedian Mark Thomas on a rant about a visit he made to Turkish-occupied Kurdistan.

Mark Thomas has been the chairman of the Ilisu Dam Campaign, and spearheaded a campaign that finally got Balfour Beatty to pull out of the original Ilisu project. An old article from The Guardian talks about the campaign from 2001:

The word comedy doesn’t cover this material: Thomas concludes his set by recounting stories of rape and torture he heard while visiting the threatened town of Hasankeyf. He warns us at the outset that there are a lot of unfunny facts in store.

The audio is a recording of one of Mark Thomas’ presentations on Ilisu; at the end he makes reference to purchasing AMEC stock. The purchase of company stock by activists makes those activists shareholders and, thus, they have the right to attend the company’s annual shareholder meeting. This was the tactic used by Ilisu activists to get Balfour Beatty to withdraw from the Ilisu project:

“As the question of human rights in South-East Turkey was raised, 40 supporters stood up holding pictures of torture victims. One shareholder looked at a picture of Turkish soldiers holding severed human heads like trophies and said, “These are probably faked you know, it’s easy enough to mock up pictures like this.”
Mark Thomas (comedian and activist)

[ . . . ]

Mark Thomas told SchNEWS “Suddenly, angry campaigners were all over the room, standing on chairs, trying to get the Board to just look at the photos, others rushed towards the platform demanding the company account for their actions. Group 4 started to earn their wages. Lord Weir shouted that he was suspending the meeting and the Board fled the platform amidst catcalls. We suddenly realised, as Balfour Beatty still had items on it’s agenda for the meeting, we had just shut the AGM [annual general meeting] down!!!”

That was in 2000. The Ilisu Dam Campaign threatened to do the same to AMEC in 2002, prompting its withdrawal from the project. There’s more on all this in an interview with Mark Thomas. Although there is no date on the interview, it is in reference to the campaign. If you read the interview, you will get a frame of reference for the audio, and an idea of what life has been like for Kurds under Turkish occupation–the same thing that makes self-confessed pacifist, Mark Thomas, “enraged.”

I don’t suffer from the disease of pacifism, and the reality always enrages me. For Thomas to admit that he could have killed the “golfers” (his term for the Turkish security forces), then he was seriously affected by the reality of the people of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. Since the Ilisu Project is up and running again, it’s time to try these same tactics against the new partner in Turkish oppression–Austria.

Let’s not forget that the US has been a loyal backer of all of Turkey’s atrocities. You could even say that the US taught them everything they know.

Maybe we all need to buy stock in Lockheed Martin.

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