The anti-war march was a real eye-opener. The media may be unable to put a figure on the number of people marching, but I can tell you first-hand - it was huge. I've been on a few demos in my time (and before you ask, yes, I firmly and rationally believed in what I was marching for and no, I did not wear a mask, cause any damage, throw anything at anyone, get drunk or shout abuse at the police - I'm a nice middle-class girl who always puts her litter in the bin), and none was as big as this, not Mayday, not Reclaim the Streets, not the Criminal Justice Bill protests, nothing.
Demos are always uplifting - being part of a huge crowd of people that are committed to making a stand for what they believe in is exhilarating - but this was special because of the number and variety of people that were there. Lots of Muslims (the majority of whom, may I say, were women - so let's just stop and think before we use Iraq's appalling treatment of women as an excuse to bomb them) but also lots of Christians, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists etc., all united in the belief that terrorism is bad, but war is worse.
I'm no expert on the Middle East situation but I am deeply ashamed that the Prime Minister of my country - whom I generally held to be an intelligent, morally-upright individual - is prepared simply to throw away our entire moral code in one fell swoop by following that dangerous idiot G.W Bush into an unjustified war. So as well as making my point by joining the march, I also used the excellent service provided by Faxyourmp.com to make a direct appeal to Frank "Dobbo" Dobson to stop Tony committing an act of moral bankruptcy. Here's the text:
To: Rt Hon Frank Dobson
MP for Holborn and St. Pancras
House Of Commons
Sunday 29 September 2002
Dear Rt Hon Frank Dobson,
I am writing to tell you that I took part in the very large demonstration in London yesterday to protest against the mooted pre-emptive strike on Iraq, and to appeal to you directly to help the UK avoid any such course of action.
The notion of a pre-emptive strike, whatever the perceived justification, is morally wrong. We cannot launch an attack on a country in which innocent civilians will certainly be killed, merely on the suspicion that one day, that nation may do the same to us.
As we in the West generally position ourselves as the moral guardians of the world, to do so would send a signal that it is morally OK, in our book, for any nation to attack another nation whom it suspects of harbouring a grudge against it.
This precedent could lead to utter moral bankruptcy the world over. I am both frightened and deeply ashamed that the Prime Minister of my country - whom I have supported vigorously in the past - is so willing to throw away the moral code that the vast majority of people in this country live by.
Frank, as our local representative in government, please help our great country avoid this shameful act of aggression.
Who knows whether Frank will listen to my plea, but if you're reading this and you feel strongly too, fax your MP now! We live in a supposed democracy, so exercise your democratic rights while you still can!
Stand back because Lone's in a Crush Mood
16 hours ago