The largest protest I’ve ever attended was on 15 February 2003. Between 1 and 2 million protestors, depending on who you believe, took over central London for the day and brought it to a standstill. The crowd of diverse people, stretching for hours and hours, had one objective in mind.
We did not want to see Britain support an invasion of Iraq.
Think of it, two million people. Half of New Zealand. But just one of that day’s protests in 800 cities around the world against a vengeful West killing innocent civilians because they could.
Tony Blair’s fronting up to the inquiry in the UK to explain his decision to invade Iraq is nothing if not in keeping with his usual ability to spin his actions as God fearin’, hell God ordained, righteousness.
“This isn’t about a lie, or a conspiracy, or a deceit, or a deception, this is a decision,” said Blair, who initially looked nervous but grew more confident as the hearing went on.
Blissful mendacity, prize-winning journalist Robert Fisk calls it. Composing and recomposing the historical record to prove himself right.
Adam Price MP got it right. “We’ll never get an apology from this man,” he said. We can’t, of course. Because Lord Blair was talking about judgement, about being “frank”, “absolutely and completely” honest and “absolutely clear”. We had “to stick in there and see it out”. So that’s what all the dead and the wounded and the bombs and the shredded bodies and the rape and Abu Ghraib torture was all about.
Is there anything more terrifying than someone who can justify anything they do, regardless of its horrific consequences?