The great peace marches of February 15, 2003 will go down in history as a shining moment for humanity. Tens of millions of people poured into the streets of cities and towns on every continent. Two million in Rome. Another million in London. Hundreds of thousands in Berlin, Paris, New York, Montreal, Melbourne. Even in the smallest of towns people went out into the streets with their homemade signs urging peace not war. All in all, it was a thunderous message to the maniacs in Washington and London who are agitating for an illegal, immoral and unjustified war of conquest against Iraq.
No decent person could justify an unprovoked attack on a country that poses no conceivable threat to us in the West (or to anyone else for that matter.) Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar summed it up best: “We do not understand the concept of ‘preventive war.’ The only preventive war is called peace.”
The global marches were an unmistakable repudiation of the lies, fabrications, prevarications, tricks and scare tactics that the Washington and London maniacs have been bombarding us with for months — in a huge propaganda blitzkrieg ably abetted by the sycophantic corporate media, all of it designed to convince us that Iraq is some kind of threat that requires a “pre-emptive war.” (Another politically manufactured nonsense-phrase that is meant to hide the true meaning of what it stands for: unprovoked aggression.) Well, the people of the world have spoken and they are not buying that bologna any more. They have seen through the charade of Tony Blair’s “intelligence” dossier that was mostly cribbed from a college student’s term paper. They have heard chief weapons inspector Hans Blix dismiss out of hand Colin Powell’s “spy photos” as showing nothing more than “routine activity” by the Iraqis. The people of the world are now asking: “Why, Washington and London, if you have real evidence, do you need to fabricate such amateurish and plainly ridiculous deceptions?”
Quite simply, the liars have been unmasked. But is that going to stop them from plowing ahead? The will of the people be damned? That is the question of the century, because its answer will tell us whether our “democracy” exists only on old papers that are kept in glass cabinets. The early indications are not good. Already the shameless Tony Blair has responded to the protests by lecturing the British people about his “convictions” regarding the supposed “threat” of Iraq. Never mind that he hasn’t been able to show a shred of evidence on which to base those “convictions.” He just wants his people to take it on faith — the father of the people knows best, one supposes. Instead of being shamed by the exposing of his recent lies, he is more bold and patronizing than ever. Incredible. Of course the charlatan personality is hardly capable of shame — such a self-checking emotion has no use in his swindling schemes.
Washington, it appears, intends to studiously avoid the entire issue of the protests, in the hope that all the hoopla will just die down and go away in a few days, and then it’ll be back to business as usual. They have good reason to think so, since the corporate media has not exactly been tripping over themselves to press home the question of the people’s will, as expressed through the massive protests all over America. The only administration face to appear in public the entire weekend to address the issue of the protests was Condoleeza Rice, who appeared on Meet The Press, looking decidedly irritated and imperious — with gusts to arrogant. What did she think of the protests? “You can have protests and different opinions on what to do about Iraq, but don’t forget who is in poweréin Baghdad.” I was sure for a second that she was going to say Washington, but I guess she caught herself at the last minute. Very scary. And the warmonger-in-chief? He released a statement. It was full of nice bromides about democracy and the right of people to congregate peacefully. That’s nice. I wonder if it’s too much to hope for a brave member of the presidential press corps to ask Bush at his next briefing what he thinks about the many protesters who carried signs comparing him to Hitler.
And what are we to make of Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi? Despite the fact that 70 percent of the Italian people are firmly against war, this mini-fascist continues to goose-step briskly to George Bush’s war drum. It’s a similar story in Spain and Australia. If this is democracy, I wonder if we could elect Saddam Hussein — just to see how things would be different in a dictatorship. Who knows, it might even be an improvement.
Mr. Gordon Arnaut is an independent journalist and documentary filmmaker in Canada. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN).