Press release from Ken Jones:
Event date/time: Monday, Jan. 25, 4:30 – 5:30 pm
Location: Bent Creek River Park, Rt. 191, 1610 Brevard Road
On this day, over 260 organizations from 17 countries are coming together for an International Day of Action, calling for an end to the genocidal war in Yemen. This is the largest anti-war co-ordination since the campaign against the Iraq war. This event in Asheville is part of that.
The United States supports the government of Saudi Arabia in this war with arms, surveillance, and operational assistance in perpetrating what the UN calls the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
Because of this war, there are now over 100,000 dead in Yemen, millions displaced, 80% of the population affected by cholera and starvation, and one of the very worst COVID death rates in the world. UNICEF reports that in Yemen today, 1.7 million children are acutely malnourished and require urgent care.
One of the driving forces behind the US support of this war is the huge profit being made by defense contractors, especially Raytheon Technologies.
Raytheon’s fully owned subsidiary, Pratt & Whitney, is now building a new plant in Asheville, on Biltmore Farms property, where it will manufacture engine parts for the F-35 Lightning fighter jet, likely to be sold to Saudi Arabia and the UAE and used in Yemen. At this time, forest land has been cleared and construction for a bridge across the French Broad River will soon begin.
This event will be a roadside vigil at the entrance to the clearing for the bridge, on Brevard Road (Rt 191), just across from the turn-off for the Blue Ridge Parkway and NC Arboretum.
Reject Raytheon AVL, a local coalition of activists opposing the Pratt & Whitney plant, is sponsoring this event.
Jenny Andry, a member of the coalition, said: “Our purpose in this demonstration is two-fold: we oppose the unspeakable harm of the military industrial complex in Yemen and elsewhere and we reject the notion that this harm will begin at a plant in the city we call home. There is harm in Asheville’s history against BIPOC communities that is in dire need of acknowledgement and repair. Instead of adding the harms of global imperialism as well, we should aim to improve our creative, naturally beautiful city with a focus on equity, justice, democracy, and an economy that’s strong because of green jobs, not blood red jobs.”