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Meeting point, & you might say 'war-free zone', for a March & Rally:
B'ham's Centenery Square. Although primarily about Iraq, Palestine has,
increasingly, been given more attention. With definite paralells, of
causes & effects, upon these two countries (I can hear some of you saying
Palestine isn't a country - well, it ought to be!). Iraq has suffered from
UN-imposed sanctions, as well as constant weekly US/UK bombings, allegedly
on military installlations, since the Gulf War. It's health & welfare,
transport, education & general infra-structure systems have all been
degraded. Palestinians, apart from being under military occupation, with
tanks, armed soldiers, bombings from the skies, & the infamous Caterpillar
bulldozers-for-demolitions on the streets, have also been prone to arbitrary
arrests without trial, torture, or shootings. Agricultural land, factories &
homes have been either stolen or destroyed. Both countries have, to their
peoples, in various ways, become as large prisons. Palestine by, constantly,
being attacked by Israeli military, Iraq - suffering under a repressive
regime - is, following some twelve years of destruction, in which Britain
has played a major role - also under relentless threat of imminent intense
warfare. If war does come to pass, against Iraq (or should one say if the
present war escalates?!) it could, judging by recent reports, be equivalent
to a Hiroshima/Nagasaki-style holocaust.

The afternoon events, as expected, aimed to draw attention to the present
severe crisis. Condemnation, on it's own, however, is insufficient. Whilst
vigorously opposing the war-mongering, we also have to find creative
solutions. - The City Council, & we do have some friends amongst them,
surrendered it's original claim, for extra policing & security etc., of
8000. It was waived entirely, hopefully
because Councillors considered the Anti-War Rally to be in the public
interest. Which, if so, we would, wholeheartedly, agree with. - Down Broad
Street we went, continuing, in a wide circle, along the Peace Gardens, then
back to Centenery Square for passionately motivating speeches, by MPs &
Community leaders.

The March/Rally, despite mixed weather, went well. It recieved same-day
coverage, in the 'Birmingham Evening Mail', with huge front-page
headlines proclaiming "BRUM ON THE MARCH". 'The Mail' estimated a crowd
total of 1000, but other estimates were considerably higher. Be that as it
may, it was a day where we - although other friends joined in happily, too -
could be proud to call ourselves 'Brummies'. People's power at it's best -
and this was only a beginning. Mr. Blair, with associates (including an
ex-Governor from Texas) had better take note:
We don't want your moral crusades!

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