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Medea Benjamin speaks with anti-war leaders in Miami

By Cassia Laham

Medea Benjamin with members of POWIR

Miami, FL- Medea Benjamin, an anti-war activist and lead organizer with CODEPINK: Women For Peace, joined South Florida activists at a meeting, Feb. 18, to discuss the condition of the anti-war movement in the U.S. and internationally. The discussion at Florida International University was hosted by People's Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR) and included members from War vs. Human Needs, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

Medea Benjamin spoke about her travels to American-created war zones and areas being targeted by U.S. drones. She described tragic encounters with families of those murdered by American drones in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia – including the mother of three sons who were all targeted and killed by drone strikes.

“It is horrible that there are so many innocent casualties,” she said. “But even those actually targeted by drones and labeled as 'militants' are usually young people who join organizations like Al Qaeda because they don't have much and have run out of options. Hearing their families speak about them was like hearing about young people who decide to join gangs in the U.S.”

Such personal stories about this new form of war are described in her book, Drone Warfare: Killing By Remote Control, which she distributed to people at the meeting.

“The only ones benefiting from drones are the companies make them,” Benjamin said.

Aside from drone warfare, those in attendance also discussed the current state of the anti-war movement – its ups and downs since Obama took the U.S. presidency. They also discussed the importance of continuing to organize against U.S. wars and imperialism, mentioning the big 2012 anti-NATO protest in Chicago. Activists shared stories and asked questions regarding successes and failures of their various actions over the last year.

When Medea Benjamin asked about local actions, members of POWIR shared their experiences organizing against U.S. drone attacks, the U.S. torture prison at Guantanamo Bay, Obama’s failed attempt to start a new U.S. war in Syria, and spying by the NSA. They expressed the importance of rallying in solidarity with whistleblowers as well.

“It is inspiring to know that a new, young group like POWIR exists,” Benjamin said. “We are so impressed by your group and all the work you all have done.”

#MiamiFL #AntiwarMovement #POWIR #MedeaBenjamin