Sunday, 29 September 2002

March for Peace

by John Pilger

A great many people believe that democracy has been lost in this country. Today, true democracy will demonstrate its resilience on the streets of London.

In the week that Parliament was manipulated by the Government and denied a proper vote on whether Britain should join the Bush gang in its assault on Iraq, many thousands of people will converge on London in what is expected to be the greatest demonstration against war for a generation.

Not since the days when American presidents were prepared to use nuclear weapons in Europe will there be such a demonstration of the popular will opposing violence as a means of resolving disputes between nations. A sea of people will cover much of central London and Hyde Park; and they will demand that a great crime is not committed in their name. As the opinion polls make clear, they represent the majority of the people of Britain.

What is at stake is not only an illegal and unwarranted attack on another sovereign state that offers us no threat, but the credibility of the British parliamentary system. If Tony Blair uses the royal prerogative, "the absolute power of kings", to join Bush's attack on Iraq, he acts in a manner no different, in principle and deed, from Germany's unprovoked attacks that ignited the Second World War.

Read Hitler's speech in September 1938, on the eve of the invasion of Czechoslovakia. "I know quite well," he ranted at the great Nuremberg rally, "that through forbearance one will never reconcile so irreconcilable an enemy as are the Czechs ... Herr Benes (the Czech leader) plays his tactical game; he makes speeches, he wishes to negotiate... But in the long run that is not good enough!"

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