Thursday, January 22, 2004

War, Lies & Videotape

It's nearly a year now since the world bore witness to one of the most remarkable shows of public unity in history. As the UN debated the fate of Iraq, even many governments found themselves bowing to the will of the people.

Of course, despite the calls of Hans Blix and Dr ElBaradi for more time to inspect Iraq, we went to war. The weapons inspectors were convinced that, given another few months they could achieve the aims of the UN. They were never given that chance.

And so, what have we achieved?

George W Bush in his state of the union address claims that the world is now a safer place following the war on Iraq. I'm sure the people in Instanbul feel much safer. What about the people of Iraq?

Do we think the families of 16,000 Iraqi dead are over-joyed? What about the 40% of Iraqis who have no access to water, when they did a year ago? What about the people of Israel and Palestine? Are they safer with a Berlin-esque wall going up?

What about our troops? Over 500 American dead, plus over 100 from other nations. Do our troops feel safe?

Thing is, nobody seems to care anymore. And is it any wonder? On the day of the tragic bomb attack in Instanbul what do you think was dominating the news networks in the US? It was a story which in the grand scheme of things is neither here nor there. Michael Jackson's arrest. Isn't it just a little worrying that so little foreign news filters through to the American psyche?

And that's the thing. Not only are these stories not interesting enough for headline news anymore, but people have stopped talking about it too.

A year on from the global anti-war movement that shook governments to their core, and most people in the western world seem happy to carry on with their lives without a thought for the monumental events of the last 12 months. I get people constantly saying to me, "well what's done is done, let's just move on... I'm so bored about hearing about this war"

Well? Tough.

The people of this world cannot move on. We have been lied to by our governments. I for one will not apologise the next time a friend complains about me harping on about the war or George Bush or Tony Blair. These events effect the very fabric of our lives. The people who ignore it are hiding from reality. Whether it's through watching too much Big Brother or paying too much attention to the shit spewed out by the national press. The anti-war movement has stagnated. It needs to move again. Those who are guilty of war crimes must be punished, be they Iraqi, British or American. Those who have removed our democratic rights must be removed from office. It is not a time to move on. It's a time to fight. To fight for the democracy we hold dear or lose it forever.

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