Glasgow shows its solidarity

On April 27, around 1,500 demonstrators from all over Scotland gathered in George Square, Glasgow to protest against the atrocities being committed by the Israeli Defence Force in the West Bank and Gaza. A similar demonstration had been held in Aberdeen a week earlier, which may have accounted for the small turnout. As the march, organised by the Scottish Coalition for Justice Not War, progressed through the city centre, many people joined in and the citizens of Glasgow offered strong messages of support. The rally was addressed by a number of speakers who were all opposed to Bush and Blair's 'war on terrorism'. Another commonly used phrase was 'not in my name', a reference to the intention of Blair to drag Britain into a war against Iraq. Tommy Sheridan, Scottish Socialist Party convenor, drew the demonstrators' attention to the hypocrisy of Bush and Blair when they declared that Iraq had breached UN resolutions, yet no declaration of war had been made against Israel for ignoring the UN. Anti-racist campaigner Amar Anwar poured scorn on the reassurances from Blair et al that only terrorists and not innocent civilians would suffer in the quest to root out terrorist organisations. Not only had their 'smart' weaponry already failed to protect innocent civilians: it had also failed to find Osama bin Laden. He also pointed out that while it had been correct to show respect for the victims of September 11, there had been no such gesture called for in respect of the 1.2 million innocents in Iraq. However, he seemed to excuse the televised scenes of celebration in Ramallah, at the news of the September 11 attack. He also appeared to regard the despotic ruling parasites of Middle Eastern states as potential liberators, castigating them for refusing to assist the Palestinians and thereby indirectly supporting Israel's murderous attacks. Unnervingly he claimed that, when asked, as a socialist, how he responded to the terrorist attacks by Palestinian suicide bombers on innocent Israeli citizens, he said: "When you have nothing left to fight your enemy with, you fight with your life." True, but should not a "socialist" take a view on this tactic, not to mention the political programme that inspires it? George Galloway, Labour MP for Glasgow Kelvin - who has a very dubious pro-Saddam Hussein record - confined his remarks to comments about "Blair belly-dancing for Bush". He treated the assembled demonstration to a tedious rerun of the denouement of the film Spartacus and roared, "I am a Palestinian". Ronnie Mejka