“He’s a bastard...” ~ a passerby after receiving a flyer
Henry Kissinger ...is he a humanitarian or war criminal?
That was the question of the hour, blogspot readers, during a recent protest against him giving the keynote speech at the annual Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Humanitarian Awards ceremony. Held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Chicago, several groups social and political actions groups including Veterans For Peace organization peacefully demonstrated near the hotel not against the ideals of Illinois Holocaust Museum but against the idea of they would welcome a war criminal at this prestigious event. According to the dictionary, the word “humanitarian” is defined as “...a person who seeks to promote human welfare ie philanthropist ...benefactor, patron, social reformer, do-gooder...”
Yet speaker after speaker laid claim of the direct opposite about Henry Kissinger with convincing evidence of the many war crimes committed by him over a period of time ...which ultimately shaped and/or reshaped US foreign policy around the world. For example, he was the key promoter of the 1973 coup that overthrew Chile’s government that in the end killed its democratically elected president. He’s quoted saying the following “...I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people...”
In 1975, he and former president Gerald Ford gave the green light for the Indonesian dictatorship to invade the newly independent East Timor resulting in the deaths of approximately 200,000 people. Other war crimes committed by Henry Kissinger include promoting “Operation Candor” as well as supporting the assassinations of the heads of governments in Congo, Cuba, Cyprus, South Vietnam and possibly other countries. “...the US should demand accountability for its own war criminals ...let him speak but not about peace and humanitarian issues ...what can we learn from a war criminal? He should speak at a tribunal...” according of the protest speakers because “...the US has no moral authority to criticize human rights abuse...” anywhere in the world. “...Henry Kissinger is not a humanitarian...” said another, “...not a speaker of peace ...[he] should be on trial for his criminality...” And according to the representative from Veterans For Peace “...[Henry Kissinger] promised peace in Vietnam...” under the Nixon regime however instead there was “...five more years of death and blood...”
The following statement from Rabbi Brant Rosen (Rabbi of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation [JRC] and co-founder of Ta’anit Tzedek – Jewish Fast for Gaza. He serves as the Chairperson of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council as well as blogs regularly at Shalom Rav (http://www.rabbibrant.com) was read aloud during the protest:
"As a rabbi, a Jew and a person of conscience I was profoundly dismayed to learn that Henry Kissinger was chosen by the Illinois Holocaust Museum to be the keynote speaker at its 'Humanitarian Awards Dinner.' This choice is most certainly at odds with the mission and good work of this important institution. I cannot understand how a man who was the architect of our nation's war crimes in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, who was instrumental in the brutal coup in Chile and other acts of illegal international intervention around the world could possibly be considered an appropriate speaker at a gathering that celebrates humanitarianism. The mission of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is to 'Remember the Past, Transform the Future' and 'to preserve the legacy of the Holocaust by teaching universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice and indifference.' Given this mission, I urge the Museum to think seriously about the messages it sends when it associates itself with figures such as Henry Kissinger.”
After the speeches, there was peacefully demonstrating at the corner of Wacker and Columbus where chants such as “Never again means never again” and “Henry Kissinger ...war criminal” could be heard above the whipping breeze off the lakefront ...to be heard loud and clear from the inside of Hyatt Regency. The protest rally ended shortly with another planned at Columbia College.
The question, blogspot readers, still remains ...is Henry Kissinger a humanitarian or war criminal? Only you can answer that...
Until next time, support your local scene,