15 March 2008

Stop the War March

I was in London today for the Stop the War March that was help on the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. This started with a rally at Trafalgar Square at midday so I took advantage of this to pay a quick visit to the National Gallery (which is on the north side of the square) and also to enjoy the square itself.

The square has four plinths but one of them was left unadorned and unloved until recently when they started holding competitions to pick a work of art to sit there for a period. The current incumbent is the colourful and lovely Thomas Schütte's Model for a Hotel 2007.

After the short cultural hit it was on to the main business of the day, standing up and being counted as part of the opposition to wars and occupations Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, Congo, Tibet, etc. etc. (sadly it is a long list).

As always with these events, I have the mixed emotions of the joy of being with so many with people who share the same passion for fairness and justice and the frustration that we need to hold marches like this to remind people how much of these things we have given up.

The event kicked off with a number of speakers from all aspects of the "peace movement" and there was lots of cheering, whistling and clapping to unite us even closer and to raise our spirits.

On this up-beat note we set of on our march. The route was rather circuitous taking us to Parliament Square, over Westminster Bridge, south past Lambeth Palace, back over the river at Lambeth Bridge then north to Parliament Square again where we collected for a final short rally.

I was near the head of the march and we arrived back at Parliament Square just as the tail of the march left, some 4 Km behind us.

I am not really expecting much to change as a result of our march but there are times when you need to stand up and be counted and I am very glad that I did so today.

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