SRRT Persian Gulf Resolution

(This resolution was passed by the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table at the midwinter meeting in Chicago, January 12, 1991.)

WHEREAS nearly half a million U.S. troops, a disproportionate number of 
them working class and persons of color, are now deployed inthe Persian 
Gulf; and

WHEREAS veterans hospitals in the United States are preparing to handle at 
least 40,000 casualties; and

WHEREAS the enormous cost of this military adventure threatens to severely 
worsen the budget deficit and scuttle the long-overdue "Peaace Dividend"; 

WHEREAS the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, while a clear violation of 
international law, does not in any way justify the massive American 
mobilization and deployment of offensive forces; and

WHEREAS the internationally approved economic sanctions and regional 
peacemaking efforts by the Arab league have not been given a chance to work 
by the Bush Administration; and

WHEREAS the United States displays a "double standard" in condemning the 
Iraqi invasion Kuwait while remaining silent or actually supporting 
Israel's invasions and occupations of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, 
Golan Heights, and southern Lebanon; Syria's intervention in Lebanon; 
Turkey's invasion of of northern Cyprus; Morocco's occupation of the 
Western Sahara; the oppression and slaughter of Kurds by Turkey, Iran, and 
Iraq; and the Reagan/Bush invasions of Grenada and Panama, unprovoked 
bombing of Libya, and covert war against Nicaragua; and

WHEREAS the Kuwaiti regime the Bush Administration seeks to restore is an 
autocracy that confers full citizenship upon only 8.6% of its 3 million 
population (namely male descendents of men residing in Kuwait in 1920) and 
permits the widespread abuse and exploitation of some 500,000 foreign 
workers; and

WHEREAS the Saudi regime which the Bush Administration ostensibly "defends" 
is an absolute monarchy without elections of legislature that forbids labor 
unions and strikes, punishes conversion to another relgion by death and the 
public wearing of a Star of David or crucifix by whipping with sticks, bans 
the study of Freud and Western philosophy, prohibits women from travelling 
alone, driving cars, or riding bicycles, regards the testimony of one man 
as equal to that of two women, denies the rights to habeas corpus and legal 
counsel, and allows the king to remove newspaper editors; and

WHEREAS the Bush Administration and mainstream media have sought to 
demonize and vilify not only Saddam Hussein but also Iraqis and Arabs in 
general, thereby worsening anti-Arab bigotry in this country; and

WHEREAS there has not yet been a full and open debate concerning U.S. goals 
and aims in the Persian Gulf; and

WHEREAS the American library profession has mainly acquiesced in the 
censorship and mutilation of reading materials destined for Persian Gulf 
troops, thus violating its own basic canons of intellectual freedom;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of 
the American Library Association condemns the U.S. military response to the 
Kuwait invasion and calls for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign 
troops from the region, including Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait and the 
American forces from the Persian Gulf; 

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SRRT demands an embargo on arms shipments 
to all Middle East governments and urges the settlement of the Persian 
Gulf, Israeli-Palestinian, Kurdish, and other regional conflicts by 
peaceful, diplomatic means - such as economic sanctions and international 
conferences - that primarily involve the United Nations and Arab League; 

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED  that SRRT calls upon the President and Congress 
to initiate an energy policy emphasizing reduced oil use, conservation, 
recycling, and development of non-nuclear, renewable power sources, as well 
as redirecting the massive sums now being squandered in the Gulf to end 
poverty, homelessness, hunger, and illiteracy in the United States; 

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SRRT condemns the anti-Arab racism fomented 
by both politicians and media, calling upon them to treat Arab peoples with 
honesty, dignity, and respect, and urging libraries to stock and publicize 
material originating in the Arab community itself;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SRRT invites all American librarians to 
promote - through programs, displays, bibliographies, and materials 
selection - a genuine national debate on the Gulf crisis, interventionism, 
and energy policy, necessarily including "alternative" viewpoints and 
analyses from such sources ad the American Friends Service Committee, Women 
Against Military Madness, National Council of Churches of Christ, Military 
Families Support Network, War Resisters League, New Jewish Agenda, and 
Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee;

AMD BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that SRRT opposes the censorship and mutilation 
of books and magazines everywhre, including both the United States and 
Saudi Arabia.

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