Friday, 15 February 2008

Five Years On From The Iraq Demo

It seems an awfully long time ago now, but five years ago today saw the largest demonstration ever in these Isles. Somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million people got together with the aim of stopping our nation following America into a misguided, ill thought out and illegal war.
Of course the collective will of a good proportion of the population failed to stop a Prime Minister who had already long since decided that Britain should join in, but what we did do was light a slow burning fuse under the chairs of the men who were directly responsible for the bloodbath that followed.
What i recall most about that day was the diverse range of people that the Stop the War coalition managed to pool together that day. As we all jammed into Hyde Park to listen to the speakers point out Blair’s folly, there was dreadlocked haired anarchists chatting to little old ladies wearing pearls, Communists standing beside suit wearing city types and we marvelled in the all-embracing diversity of it all.
What we know now with retrospect, is that every single one of us on the march was right. There were no weapons of mass destruction, Iraq did descend into a bloodbath, it didn't make us safer and our leaders span, lied and massaged the truth in an attempt to justify its actions.
Instead of standing in the dock at the Hague on charges of war crimes, Blair is being offered lucrative consultancy contracts and mulling over his chances of becoming European President, Bush is the most unpopular US President ever but five years on and a million Iraq's, 4,000 Americans and 200 Brits dead and buried, the fighting sadly still goes on.
Iraq is a basket case but as Iraq and Afghanistan are left to burn, the wrong kind of attention is being focused on Iran and this is where the fuse that we set alight half a decade ago suddenly comes into play.
After Iraq, the leader of the same two countries responsible for the last two debacles and just itching to export their brand of Democracy through cruise missiles and 500lb bombs, find it almost impossible to make their case for yet more unjustifiable death and destruction.
We may not have been able to stop the last war but what we set in motion back then has been a very effective brake in stopping this next one.


David G said...

I hope your optimism is not misplaced, Lucy. Countries like America never learn from experience no matter how many disasters they create.

If George wants to go out in a blaze of nukes, he will and what the people think is of no interest to him!


ruth said...

1.5million - that's a hell of a lot.

I supported the Iraq invasion at the time, going on the information we were given. I stopped supporting the ongoing occupation some time ago.

Stephen said...

I remember those days well. It was an incredible movement I was involved in - probably over 15 million people around the world. I met some soul mates and learned how to organize. And we were proven right.

Hopefully, those who supported the Iraq invasion will see the folly of their ways and refuse to be complicit in another of the neocon's military adventures.

libhom said...

Vietnam teaches us that stopping a war is a terribly difficult thing to do. I think we to keep working to stop the war, no matter how frustrated we are.

Lucy said...

Maybe the lesson we should take libhom with the knowledge we have about how difficult it is to stop war, is not be quite so gung-ho about starting them in the first place.