Monday 15 February 2010

After Eight Years, This Is Still What Democracy Looks Like

Eight years ago today, on a grey freezing February morning, almost everyone I know headed into central London for the largest ever political demonstration in the UK, in protest against the impending war in Iraq. Not just the hardened activists and those with a vaguely liberal worldview - everyone.

The numbers were overwhelming. Luckily the friends I was with managed to arrive early enough to avoid the gridlock at Embankment, where marchers still patiently waited when we had already arrived at Hyde Park to hear Jesse Jackson speak. Ultimately we may have been unable to stop Blair's crazed adventurism, but as Euan Fergusaon said in the Observer the following day,

Will yesterday, astonishing yesterday, change anything? The facts are undeniable. Perception is all.

Blair has discovered the truth of this during the course of the Iraq Inquiry. His premiership will forever be defined by the catastrophe of the invasion and its aftermath, not least because he took the country into a war knowing that most people in the country were against it. The proof was there on the streets - and for everyone that took part, it was a proud moment - the most important stand in support of humanitarianism following the horror of the 11 September attacks on New York.

Help build the 'We Are Many' archive of stories and pictures that show how all the small events built up to the largest protest march ever - see and follow @15Feb2003 on Twitter.


fabelhaftewelt said...

Unfortunately the video is not available in Germany (youtube protecting music copyright...)
Thanks for the post anyway.

Kevin said...


YouTube's music copyright rules confuse the hell out of me at the best of times, but blocking access to this video from German users seems, frankly, perverse!

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