Any Questions?

There was a serious turnout on the Emergency Demonstration in London yesterday, regardless of the usual media blackout and the complete under-estimate of the numbers by the Met.

Lots of issues are being thrown up by the current situation – and the march started to highlight the difficulties that we may face. But the sooner we ask awkward questions, the sooner we might get some progressive answers.

Three years ago, the biggest demonstration in British history had little impact on Tony Blair or indeed the Labour Party. His pre-arranged attack on Iraq and unquestioning attitude to the Bush Administration carried on apace, leading us merrily to where we are today: Afghanistan in turmoil, a civil war in Iraq and hatred of the US and Britain higher than ever.

It’s clear that the so-called ‘War On Terror’ is now set to dominate the world agenda for decades. It took a few years for a Cold war replacement to be put in place, but now we’re all set; a never-ending war between ‘us’ and ‘them’. That you’re either for or against. History is reset at September 2001. The enemy dehumanised. Anything justified in its name.

And consequently, debate and discussion is only framed within this context. No real understanding of Arab opinion or history. ‘Terrorist’ used as a catch-all for any dissenting voice or resistance movement.

It’s going to take some tough, pragmatic thinking to work out how we can truly reverse what’s going on in our name. And if we don’t want the world that Bush and Blair seem intent on enforcing, we’ve got to find the answers that actually achieve an alternative.