Monday, August 07, 2006

London Demonstrations for Lebanon
For those of you who dont know or live elsewhere, there was a demonstration in London of (what was said to be) approximatley 100'000 people on Saturday the 5th of August. The march started in Hyde Park and ended up with a rally at Parliament Square. Rather than write a lengthy narrative I figured I'd bullet point my thoughts.
As far as its People are concerned, the UK has a Conscience that must be Respected and Appreciated.
Seriously dude I love this aspect of Uk Society. They're so charged! They'll come out in huge numbers and from all over the country. Its not just Londoners. I walked with a contingent from Birmingham that bussed down just for the march. The whole nation tries its best to be an active party to its foreign policy, and not only when its own troops are involved. What's more is that they'll shout they're hearts and lungs out, they wont shy from signing pointless petitions, forget universities - high schools will mobilize. For the four years I've lived in London, whether the issue be Iraq, Darfur, the Tsunami, the Kashmir Quake or even the civil rights of individuals like Menzes, the people of the United Kingdom have not disappointed through apathy even once. They're seriously quite awesome.

The 'Other' Tony
Though I know absolutely nothing about the guy, a lot of people seem to think Tony Benn is iconic of this collective conscience. I get the vibe that he's an old school lefty. If anyone wants to build upon this in-depth character analysis, or suggest other iconic alternatives to Tony Benn, please feel free.
TheAttempted Megaphone Coup
Ok, I hate it when this happens. A group of protestors, led by any given individual, is chanting whatever, one particular slogan/thing. Then some ego tripping ass nugget pops out of nowhere and tries to usurp the chant by shouting a completely different slogan (often with the assistance of a megaphone). The resulting confusion results in a situation where no one knows whom to repeat after. Everyone end up quiet and fairly annoyed at the disruption while the needy and ineffective demagogue continues to linger around, pissing people off even more.
Demonstrators With Visas Can Never be as Cool
Not that being a rabble rouser isn't enormous fun. It is a rush to get charged up, shout like no other, electrify the crowd and have their thunderous collective chant follow your own. I rediscovered the power and volume of my own voice on Sunday when I led, looking like one of those furious Arab dudes.
For a while I actually thought I might be arrested for looking too scary. Initially that seemed somewhat cool, ill admit. But then I remembered what I learned in my Criminal Law lectures; mountains of ensuing paperwork and detention boredom will pretty much kill your criminal glamour buzz. Moreover, the Uk is home to the worlds most non-threatening looking Policemen. With their tall goofy hats, pant shirt attire and complete lack of cool weaponry they somewhat resemble genial middle aged employees at an office party, by whom no serious angry male would like to be arrested.
Finally my dad would react to my consequent deportation by greeting me at the Karachi airport with a friggin bat, possibly looking to recover some of the satisfaction he sacrificed to fund my education.
So yeah. I tried to kind of hush up after that, but by then the other demonstrators were pressuring me to continue. Fortunately though I lost my voice after about a half hour. It came back this afternoon.


Alien Panda said...


ayla said...

nice photos!

Alien Panda said...

Dude the protest sounds fun, though a little comical at the same time; I can just picture you going crazy at the protest. I still remember the anti-war protest, so long ago now, and what a blast that was. Have the memory of going their with my friends on a mini-bus with banners and being cheered by random people on the motorway, where our bus had decided to break down. Random people stopped to help us, and then a half-empty bus volunteered to take us to London. Also remember dancing to samba in the heart of London with random people. Now, that was cool.

Tony Benn is indeed a great politician. I think he was one of those politicians who have decided they want to to enstil certain values and principles in politics, and who always stand up for what they truly believe in, rather than seeking to lead the country. As it is one must question whether complete idealism is all that good a thing in a leader, its perhaps better to have it instead as part of the process. Nonetheless he really is a cool dude, I remember reading something about him and he commented that the reason why he left parliament after 50 years was because he wanted to spend more time with politics!