The February 15, 2003 anti-war protest was a coordinated day of protests across the world against the imminent invasion of Iraq. Millions of people protested in approximately 800 cities around the world.
According to BBC News, between six and ten million people took part in protests in up to sixty countries over the weekend of the 15th and 16th; other estimates range from eight million to thirty million.
The biggest protests took place in Europe. The protest in Rome involved around 3 million people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest anti-war rally in history.
First of all, please take the time to read what I wrote four years ago.
I can’t believe I’ve been protesting the Iraq invasion for five years. Five years.
Half-a-decade of marching and shouting and reading article after article detailing the horror of what we’ve done to Iraq. 1,826 days of nightmare for the Iraqi people to add to the terror they experienced living under the heel of US-supported puppet Saddam Hussein.
I’ve written 354 antiwar articles, each one of which has depressed and upset me as I’ve had to wade through the gore of our illegal invasion and occupation: the torture, the murders, the pics of US soldiers mocking the corpses of Iraqi civilians.
9/11 was a tipping point. Practically every average person in the Western world swung to support America following the savagery of the WTC attacks. We were all shocked, horrified, traumatised.
But the last five years has seen America turn that concern and support into suspicion, fear and outright hostility. Most of the Western world now fears America and it’s warmongering more than we fear North Korea or China.
America (with the support of Europe and specifically Blair in the UK) has carried out a series of war crimes. It carried out a pre-emptive attack on a non-aggressor country: a war crime. It has kidnapped innocent civilians (some of them children of 13) through a network of secret flights and then tortured them in its camp at Guantanamo: a war crime. It has used chemical weapons: a war crime.
And yet… the US government is defiant and belligerent. Might is right.
The fascist turn that America has taken, the drift into lebensraum and imperial oil-grabs is something that the whole of the free world should be concerned with. But, instead, we’ve been made accomplices to these crimes by our political leaders.
Now Tony Blair is a peace envoy. Yes. History will judge the actinic irony of that appointment.
Our mass media has consistently ignored, belittled and otherwise marginalised the biggest mass-movement in world political history. In the UK, millions upon millions of us have marched in the last five years. But we don’t appear in the papers, we don’t get on the news.
How can marches of 50, 100, 500,000, 1 million+ ordinary Britons be un-important whereas some people running about warrants hours of television coverage? Oh… politics is boring, no-one wants to see that on the news. Besides, all that Iraq stuff – who cares?
Well, we do. The millions of ordinary people all around the world who are peaceable. Who, unlike Bin Laden and Bush and Blair and Brown, don’t think that human life is cheap.
This isn’t Islam vs. the West, it isn’t Bin Laden vs. Bush, it isn’t terrorism vs. democracy. This is simply good versus evil.
If you believe torture is justified: you’re evil. If you think bombing London buses is a holy thing to do: you’re evil. If you believe invading a country and murdering a million of its civilians in order to steal its oil is noble: you’re evil. If you believe that the lives of some humans are worth less than others: you’re evil.
It’s very easy to get depressed and beaten-down. Iraq is a horror, despite the actions of the worldwide antiwar movement. But we can’t lose heart. And we have to remember – the majority of ordinary people in this world are not torturers, murderers, religious maniacs or cold-eyed warmongers.
We want to live in peace with our neighbours. We want our loved-ones to be safe from bombs, whether they’re delivered by terrorists or “liberators”. We want to be free.
Here’s how you can do your best to preserve that freedom:
Click here for details.
I’ll see you there! 😀