On September 1st, the Committees Free Iraq Italy, Italian base of the international coalition organizing the international conference “Leave Iraq in Peace – Support the Legitimate Resistance of the Iraqi People” have initiated a hunger strike with a permanent protest rally in front of the Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome. The hunger strikers are all activists of the Free Iraq movement including Leonardo Mazzei, its secretary.
Their demand is simple: grant visas for the six exponents of the Iraqi civil society invited for the international conference scheduled for 1-2 October: Sheikh Jawad al KHALESI, leader of the Iraqi National Foundation Congress; Ayatollah Sheikh Ahmed al BAGHDADI; Salah al MUKHTAR, former Iraqi ambassador to India and Vietnam; Sheikh Hassan al ZANGANI, international spokesman of the movement of Muqtada al Sadr and former editor of the paper “Hawza” closed by the occupation authorities; Mohamad FARIS, Iraqi Patriotic Communist; Ibrahim al KUBAYSI, brother of the kidnapped secretary of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA).
By refusing visas to the Foreign Minister Fini followed the order by 44 US congressmen who demanded to impede the conference, the Italian hunger strikers says that this is not only an appalling violation of national sovereignty but is also trampling the democratic rights to free political expression with feet.
Foreign Minister Fini says, that it is an issue of national security.
Hunger strikers insist: peace is only possible by recognizing the right to self-determination and by talking to the real representatives of the Iraqi people, namely those opposing the occupation. The international conference serves this aim.
The seven hunger strikers on September 3, the forth day of the protest, in front of the banner: “We awant to see the visa”
Their press statement:
Knock if you can hear us!
Seven of us are already in our sixth day of a hunger strike so that the Foreign Affairs Minister of Italy, Gianfranco Fini consents to the concession of visas to the exponents of the popular Iraqi opposition to attend the conference in Chianciano “For a just peace, with the Iraqi resistance”.
The ample and sincere solidarity that has come to them from every sector reinforces their morale and gives strength to their struggle.
But to win the arrogance of Fini and of the “American Party” THERE HAS TO BE MORE. What has to be done? That other persons contribute in some way to the hunger strike.
We are addressing specifically the various organisms who, although not being part of “Free Iraq” are together with us in preparing the Conference. Invite even one of your people to support us!
We invite everyone who is concerned about our struggle and comprehends its political importance, not only to sign the petition “We want to see the visas” (to sign it, send email to: email@example.com), but to make a gesture of courage and generosity, to come join the seven at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
To us, this seems the clearest way to help the hunger strikers, so that they are not alone, so that it is not they alone who are defeated, but a Minister that, for an excess of zeal, does not hesitate to bow down at the commands of Emporer Bush.
To those listening, who would like to come to the aid of the seven who are in front of the Ministry, contact them at 0039 347/781 5904 (Leonardo).
- Leonardo Mazzei, 49, employed by ENEL (national electric company), spokesman for the Italian “Free Iraq” Committee
- Anika Persiani, 31, active in the “Free Iraq” Committee
- Lara Wintzer, 21, active in the “Free Iraq” Committee in Germany
- Ilia Montani, 20, philosophy student, activist in the Umbria Student Movement
- Jörg Ulrich, 38, student, former PKK militant, of the “Free Iraq” Committee in Germany
- Roberto Gabriele, 66, of the international Foundation “Nino Pasti” of Rome. Well known figure in the anti-imperialist movement
- Emanuele Fanesi, student-worker in Perugia, active in the “Anti-Imperialist Camp”