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We are winning! Civic Protest Is Meaningful

21.9.2009 - Jana Glivicka
The administration of President Obama stated on September 17 that, after reviewing the missile defence system, it has decided to cancel the plan to build a stationary radar in the Czech Republic as a part of the system. True, the radar treaties have not yet been rejected by the Czech Chamber of Deputies and we should therefore remain vigilant, but nevertheless this is very good news.

“The fact that neither the Czech nor the Polish Parliament had ratified the missile defence treaties also played a role in the decision of the Obama administration,” according to American analyst quoted by the Czech media (1). What we can add is that the fact that the radar project has been constantly refused by an overwhelming majority of Czech citizens during the last three years, and that a strong civic movement emerged that actively opposed the plan, is one of principal reasons why the treaties have not been ratified in the Czech Republic.

The struggle against the radar has always been the struggle for democracy, for the right to decide on the principal orientation of the country in a referendum. Despite all difficulties and the arrogant and ignorant behavior of many politicians, it is clear that an important victory in our common struggle has been achieved. We should remember this, no matter how the situation develops in the future.

It has been meaningful to sign the anti-radar petition and demonstrate against the radar, it has been meaningful to pose questions to the members of the Parliament and put pressure on them. Civic protest is meaningful.

For the civic No Bases Initiative (Ne zakladnam), this is not the end of our activities. We will go on, enriched by this experience. Nor does it means the end of the U.S. anti-missile defence projects; discussion has already started about alternatives to the radar in the Czech Republic and to the missiles in Poland. But a the really good news remains ­ that we have been able to prove, within the broad anti-radar movement, and hand in hand with all those who took part in the most diverse anti-radar activities during these three years, that we have the power to change things to for the better.

No to radar, no to missiles, yes to referendum, yes to democracy.

No Bases Initiative, Czech Republic

(1) Daryl Kimball, Arms Control Association -

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