Five years ago today, my family and I, together with 2m other people took part in the largest anti-war march Britain has ever seen. We were marching with one intent: to try all we could, even at a very late hour, to avert the Iraq war. Of course, we failed in our objective: the decision to illegally invade Iraq had long been taken. But to my dying day, I am proud that I took part on that march: I'm sure others who took part feel the same way too. We may not have stopped the Iraq war, but we highlighted the sham 'democracy' that operates in our country- a 'democracy' where a tiny band of greedy war profiteers - and not the masses of ordinary people- set the agenda. It's interesting to look back at the flak that the anti-war protestors received five years ago from the warmongers.
Here's the Blair hagiographerDavid Aaronovitch writing in the Guardian:
"what are you going to do when you are told - as one day you will be - that while you were demonstrating against an allied invasion, and being applauded by friends and Iraqi officials, many of the people of Iraq were hoping, hope against hope, that no one was listening to you?
You could still be right and I could be mistaken. A war could be far bloodier than I imagine, the consequences far worse than I believe they will be. It is just possible that a new Iraqi government, instead of moving towards democracy, might be a corrupt oligarchy. All I can say is that the signs look relatively promising in both Kosovo and Afghanistan.
On the other hand, what if you are wrong?
Well, we weren't wrong David. You were. Most emphatically. And what was your punishment for being wrong? Answer: Being awarded an even better paid column in The Times.(Incidentally, I wonder if you still think 'the signs look relatively promising in both Kosovo and Afghanistan'?)
Barbara Amiel, the wife of convicted neocon fraudster Conrad Black, didn't much like the anti-war march either:
"The most revealing aspect of the anti-war march in London was what you did not see. You did not see any messages to Saddam Hussein or criticism of Iraqi policy.
These earnest seekers of peace, with so many signs denouncing George W Bush and Tony Blair, had nothing to say to Saddam Hussein; no request to please co-operate with the UN inspectors. Not one small poster asking Saddam to disarm or destroy his weapons of mass destruction. "
Ah, those weapons of mass destruction? I wonder what happened to them? Could it not be that the reason there was 'not one small poster asking Saddam to disarm or destroy his weapons of mass destruction' on the march was that there were some people who, despite all the deceitful pro-war propaganda, didn't fall for one of the most outrageous conspiracy theories of all time?
But perhaps the nastiest of all the neocon attacks on the anti-war marchers was made by Mark Steyn in the Daily Telegraph. In an article entitled 'Marching for Terror', Steyn wrote:
"Today's demo is good for Saddam, but bad for the Iraqi people, and the Palestinian people, and the British people. One day, not long from now, when Iraq is free, they will despise those who marched to keep them in hell."
Really, Mark? I think the Iraq people will despise, for generations to come, those who for the basest of motives, illegally invaded their country, destroyed its infrastructure and started a conflict which to date has claimed the lives of hundreds and thousands of people. Iraq today is hell, and the fault for that lies not with the anti-war marchers, but those who opposed them.