Speech by Sahra Wagenknecht ahead of Syria Vote in German Parliament, Dec 4, 2014
Translated from German by Tom Winter December 5, 2015
Mister President, Ladies and gentlemen, Chancellor! At the moving funeral service a week ago in Paris to commemorate the victims of the terrorist attacks, the song ‘Quand on n’a que l’amour’ of the great songwriter and pacifist Jacques Brel was sung. It stood in stark contrast to the bellicose rhetoric of the French president.
Quand on n’a que l’amour
Pour parler aux canons …
When all you love is to talk about cannons — The whole song is a tribute to love, and peace, and a clear rejection of violence and war. The ceremony was also shown here in Germany. I wished that all of you, who want to vote yes today had heard that song, and understood its message.
In Paris exactly three weeks ago 130 victims fell to a barbaric act of terrorism. The perpetrators were almost exclusively French and Belgian citizens, and grew up in the overgrown suburbs of Brussels and Paris. And now you stand here and say that we are going to weaken and fight back at ISIS by bombing and killing innocent people, women and children in Rakka and other Syrian cities. What is this madness? I ask you: What century are we living in?
When you stand here and say this was no easy decision, but a carefully considered one, and that we who say no don’t have a plan for anything else to do, then I say: Yes, there is a different plan. There is only one other plan. War just makes everything worse. This is not the way to fight ISIS. With this adventure you will only strengthen it.
Rakka is a city with 200 000 inhabitants. In the recent bombing hospitals and schools have been destroyed. There are no official figures on the victims, but one can safely assume that the bombing in the intervening last three weeks has killed more civilians in Syria than the barbaric attacks in Paris. And the mothers of Rakka weep for their children. Bombing, too, is terrorism.
Do the warring countries really enter want to get into a killing ocntest with ISIS? To see who is betteer at killing? Who does this has already lost.
Macron, the French Economics Minister, has said after the attacks, the French businesses were responsible for “a breeding ground,” on which terror can flourish.
(Marcus Held (SPD): “Now this is going too far”!)
Against the “promise of equality” – still quoting Macron – the French Republic works on a daily basis. “We have put a stop to the opportunities for social advancement,” he said. – You insist that you want to be in solidarity with France. I ask you: Which France? The France of the political class, which has been responsible for the worst wars in recent times – I need only recall the in Algeria – or with the France of the French population, that before all else wants to live in peace and security?
(Applause from the Left – acclamation from Marieluise Beck (Bremen) (Alliance ’90 / The Greens).)
I tell you: If you want genuine friendship and genuine solidarity with France, then you should, for example, stop imposing austerity measures on the country via Brussels, that ever more and more are depriving young people of their future. That would be genuine solidarity. Because you could do go a step in the direction of progress.
(Applause from the Left – Marcus Hero (SPD): Unbelievable!)
Therefore, once again: It’s a simple lie that this war will weaken ISIS. That is also the difference with the struggle of the Kurdish associations on the ground.
Perhaps after these 14 years you could still believe that a bombing war will solve the problem of terrorism, but not any more today, not in the face of all experience. In 2001 you decided to send the Bundeswehr to Afghanistan. For 14 years, a war’s been going on there, and thousands of civilians and also over 50 Bundeswehr soldiers have fallen victim. With what is the result? Today, the Taliban in Afghanistan have more popular support than ever before. This whole war was one big bust. You could even quietly admit it yourself
(Applause from the Left – Volker Kauder (CDU / CSU): “What BS”!)
In 2003 Bush, with his “coalition of the willing,” invaded Iraq. Saddam Hussein was overthrown. Six months later they formed the “Islamic State”, and today it dominates half of Iraq. In 2011 Libya was bombed. Gaddafi was overthrown. Since then, we’ve got chaos there, and the “Islamic state” is also established now in Libya. And the same thing in Syria. And yet, the Pentagon itself has recently avowed that various Islamist terrorist groups and initially even the IS were supported by the US to weaken Assad. That’s the sad truth: It was the West, and it was mainly the United States, who have created the monster,
that has now put us all in fear and terror. That’s the truth; you do not want to hear. But it is the product of our wars, the Western wars in this world.
President Dr. Norbert Lammert: Will you allow a question from Mr Janecek?
Dr. Sahra Wagenknecht (DIE LINKE): Of course.
Dieter Janecek (Alliance ’90 / The Greens):
Thank you, Mrs Wagenknecht, for allowing this question. – Also, I will, like you, vote against this expedition. But I wonder very much if you do not act one-sidedly in some of your argument.
(Applause from Alliance 90 / The Greens, the CDU / CSU and the SPD)
You complain, rightly, about the civilian casualties in the air strikes in Rakka. But what about the air strikes on the part of the Russians, for example in the region of Homs? I know a Syrian refugee, whose family is in precisely this region and complains that Russian bombers have been flying massive raids with many victims since mid-September. Not a word from you on that,
nor from Mr Bartsch in the debate last Wednesday.
(Dr. Dietmar Bartsch (DIE LINKE):! Okay. Not a problem!)
Are you blind in one eye, that you blame the West for everything, but do not put the devastating operations of the Russians in this context?
Dr. Sahra Wagenknecht (DIE LINKE): I find it really significant that you all applaud when someone calls up the civilian casualties of the Russian bombs.
Of course, these victims are just as tragic as the victims of the bombing of the French, like the victims of the bombs the Americans, as victims of any other bombs. This bombing war is the wrong means. Bombs do not create peace, no matter if they are thrown from France, from Russia, or from the United States,.
We have said that everywhere. I spoke yesterday at a demonstration here in front of the Reichstag, that we were invited to attend. There I said exactly the same thing.
But It is dishonest: to applaud and say that these victims are wrong – as also showed up in the press –
– but today you agree to a military operation, which will bring a whole new bunch of victims with it.
That is simply false. If you are against bombs and if you condemn the Russian bombs, then don’t raise you hand to send in the Tornadoes that will dump more bombs and kill more civilians. That would be consistent, that would be the logical consequence.
Then I would have respect for you.
(Volker Kauder (CDU / CSU): We do not want any respect from you!)
Of course, I know very well that Assad is a dictator who brutally suppressed his country. But I know just as well that never in Washington was it a matter of democracy and human rights when it was decided in autocratic arrogance which dictators in the world should be supported and upgraded, and which dictators whould be undermined and overthrown. It was never yet in all these wars been about anything other than gas, oil, and spheres of influence. Now for goals like that 1.3 million people have paid with their.
(Henning Otte (CDU / CSU): All cliches!)
– Clichés? The lives of 1.3 million people, and you talk about cliches? This interjection surely can not be serious! I think it’s really outrageous.
(Applause from the Left – Matthias Ilgen (SPD): You are outrageous!)
It was these wars that have transformed the Near East and Middle East into a fire, a fire from which millions of people are fleeing for their bare survival’s sake. It is a big failure of European policy to have reached out our hand to the United States for so long and to have let them have their way.
2001 when the so-called war on terror began, there were some 100 international dangerous terrorists worldwide. Today, after 14 years of the so-called war on terror, there are hundreds of thousands. Do you want there to be millions? Then you need to go the same way and keep right on driving the spiral of war and violence.
In 2000, worldwide, 3000 people died in terrorist attacks. Last year there were already 30,000. You know perfectly well that you naturally increase the terrorist attacks in Germany with today’s decision. No, I tell you: Whoever really wants to weaken the IS must cut off its inflow of weapons, finances, and supply of new fighters.
That is, he must have the courage to finally put a stop to the terrorist godfathers among your putative allies, ie Turkey and the Saudis.
It’s outrageous that the smuggling across the Turkish border has not stopped to this day, and every night 100 new jihadists – currently even more – cross this border to constitute the supply of IS. I think, rather than bomb Syria to bomb, you’d do better to bring Erdogan around to finally end his foul play. Incidentally, it is this Erdogan, who is bombing the Kurdish groups that are really fighting there, not least with German weapons! That is the scandal. That’s the whole hypocrisy of this policy.
Stop supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia and Qatar! Today we propose a resolution for an immediate halt to arms exports to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the war region. Who refuses to vote for this resolution, should never again say that he wants to weaken the Islamist terror.
(Opposition from the CDU / CSU and the SPD)
That is namely really pure hypocrisy.
But who votes in favor today, is leading Germany into a war with totally unpredictable risk of escalation
(Volker Kauder (CDU / CSU): Enough now – Gegenruf of Abg Katja Kipping (DIE LINKE): No, it is not nearly enough – Wolfgang Gehrcke (DIE LINKE):.! You’ve got to hear it, Mr. Kauder !)
in a war, for which there is no UN mandate, which is contrary to international law, and clearly contradicts the basic law, because neither France nor Germany are being defended there in Raqqa and Aleppo. Those in favor today, would be sending our soldiers into a war, where there are already 14 other states fighting side by side, with each other/against each other, with no common goal, and no common strategy, not even within the NATO countries, let alone beyond.
The Vienna peace talks – a week ago we had the feeling that Mr Steinmeier really and honestly was working for their success –
(Matthias Ilgen (SPD): He is – Ulli Nissen (SPD): What’s going on What’ that supposed to mean?)
— become much more difficult by the escalation of the war, rather than easier. All this is just irresponsible!
(Matthias Ilgen (SPD): You are irresponsible!)
Well at last be aware of what the so-called war on terror has actually brought on. War is Terror, that generates new terror.
(Applause from the Left – Volker Kauder (CDU / CSU): Aren’t your ten minutes up yet?)
I’ll tell you: It’s as if you wanted to Pope Julius III. confirm what he said in the 16th century – –
(Volker Kauder (CDU / CSU): That’s already more than ten minutes!)
– I’m right at the end.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and the SPD – Shouts from the CDU / CSU: Bravo – Finally!)
– You don’t want that to hear it, but you’re going to hear it more often, because this war is going to last – It is, as I said, as if you wanted to confirm what Pope Julius III said in the 16th century:
If you only knew with what little effort of understanding the world is governed, You’d be amazed.
But a world with nuclear weapons, can not afford to be governed without understanding; because that’s simply too dangerous. Therefore, the Left will vote today against this war adventure.
(Applause from the Left – Matthias Ilgen (SPD): You just don’t get it – Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Alliance ’90 / The Greens): That was a disaster! Really shameful!)