[Reader-list] Further news from London

Bhrigu bhrigu at sarai.net
Wed Dec 5 00:39:09 IST 2001

On the 13th October and 18th November Anti-war protests were held in 
London. These demonstrations were bigger than any protest movement in a 
generation. Approx. 40,000 attended the first demo and a possible 100,000 
attended the second. Neither demonstration received any meaningful press 
coverage, as numbers were consistently played down by the police. The UK 
government is misrepresenting the scale of anti-war feeling in this 
country, and misinforming the British public that it is a leftist minority 
taking up a predictable stance of opposition. 
But; "If only the leftists had been here today people would have said we're 
all leftists. If only CND has been here they would have said it was the 
middle-class elite. If it was only the Muslims they would have called us 
extremists. If it was only Asians and Black people they would have said it 
was the ethnic minorities. Tony Blair, we are here united against this war. 
You cannot dismiss us all." 
Salma Yaqoob speaking at the Oct 13th Rally 
The reality is that both demonstrations were attended by a diverse range of 
people of all ages, all ethnicities, all religions, all classes. The most 
effective form of resistance is that groups that are usually segregated in 
society, come together on a common platform of opposition. On 18th Nov. 
100,000 people listened in silent respect to the Adhan (Muslim call to 
prayer) resonate over Trafalgar Square as the signal to break the fast. 
Many of the non-Muslims fasted as a show of support to the Muslims. 
This was a grass roots statement of resistance, not only against the 
incessant bombing of Afghanistan, but also against an official and 
institutionalised racism that is used to justify the killing of innocent 
people whose lives are not as valuable as western lives; because they are 
poor, because they are illiterate, because they have no commercial value, 
because they are black. 
Just Peace - Muslims for Justice and Peace - held a dinner on Friday night 
in London and asked people to feedback following their involvement in the 
Stop the War movement since October. 
The notes from the dinner and the introductory speech are attached to this 
email. Please take some time to look through them, and please send whatever 
thoughts you have. Do not expect others to always speak out for you; your 
people, your civil liberties, your identity is directly under threat. Every 
single voice counts. 
It is also critical that you circulate this mail to as many people as 
possible, we must establish our own information networks and each 
individual plays a part in that. 

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