Vol. 7, No. 3
ETAN to Kissinger
ETAN to Kissinger:
|San Francisco picket. Photo by David Hanks/Global Exchange.|
Even before Christopher Hitchens’ well-researched book The Trial
of Henry Kissinger, which details the crimes against humanity
committed by the former U.S. Secretary of State, ETAN members knew of
Kissinger’s bloody past. Just one day before the Indonesian military
invasion of East Timor in 1975, Kissinger and Gerald Ford gave
then-Indonesian president Suharto the green light to go ahead with his
brutal plans. So what better way to welcome Henry the K to your town than
with some good old-fashioned ruckus-raising? And what better way to
educate people about one of the more sordid episodes of U.S. foreign
That’s exactly what ETAN activists in Philadelphia and San Francisco did. On June 28, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia hosted America’s most notorious war criminal. With only three days notice, ETAN/Philadelphia created several large banners with messages such as “Kissinger’s Monstrous Crimes Cannot Be Whitewashed Here!” Some people stood outside with the banners while others handed out fliers at the event entrances. The fliers were designed to look like a welcome on one side, but on the reverse they asked, “Why does Dr. Kissinger still express no remorse for sanctioning Indonesia’s genocidal policy in East Timor? Can we stomach such slaughters as ‘collateral damage,’ an inevitable sacrifice others must pay for the sake of U.S. financial interests abroad?”
On July 19, Kissinger traveled to that bastion of realpolitik, San Francisco, at the invitation of the Commonwealth Club. A 100-strong crowd welcomed him with a rally co-organized by ETAN/San Francisco that focused on the East Timorese and Chilean blood on his hands. Demonstrators distributed leaflets with suggested questions for Henry, which many attending the event read. Some protestors entered the event. One Chilean activist unfurled a banner reading “Arrest Henry Kissinger for Crimes Against Humanity” and yelled “Remember Chile!” before leaving the talk of his own accord. Others were able to submit written questions about Kissinger’s various murderous escapades. After seeing several such pointed queries, the moderator asked Henry, “How do you respond to recent articles and charges that you should be tried for crimes against humanity?” Kissinger responded by calling the discourse on his bloody past “cheap political points” and cryptically claiming his critics are “undermining the very principle they’re interested in.”
|San Francisco. Photo by David Hanks/Global Exchange|
Betraying a predilection for the left coast, Kissinger came to Sacramento on September 21 at the invitation of the local chamber of commerce. ETAN/SF and other members of the ad hoc Committee to Greet Kissinger did just that, with signs and ETAN/Philadelphia’s banners. Reports indicate that support of the demonstration by passers-by was inversely proportional to the value of their automobiles.
In mid-August, New York’s Village Voice pondered whether it’s possible to place Henry under a citizen’s arrest. The article notes: “Activists from the East Timor Action Network have repeatedly sought to question Kissinger during his book tours, but he didn’t answer or disappeared.” Let’s keep the welcome wagon going!
For more information on Kissinger’s record and ETAN’s protests, see www.etan.org/news/kissinger/.
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