This is a report from the progressive World People’s Resistance Movement (Britain) on the annual Al Quds Day demonstration in London. As you can see, it was a fairly secular affair, with little religious fundamentalism or anti-Semitism in evidence.
Lurid predictions of the march being dominated by overtly homophobic, anti-women and anti-Semitic groups like Hizb ut Tahir and Muslims Against the Crusades were proved false, as neither group had a visible presence. The Muslim Association of Britain, who were listed as one of the organizers, didn’t appear either, though even if they had, their presence (and even that of Hizb) would have proven little as both have been regular attenders at anti-war demos for years.
The demo was mainly (80%) Shia – not surprising as Khomeini initiated the idea 30 years ago. Hizbullah flags and Hamas flags were in evidence but – again contrary to the expectations of the demo’s critics, only two or three Iranian flags (there were actually more Lebanese flags). This is about the same as you would get at any anti-war demo.
There were a few people hawking pictures of Khomeini, and I saw a couple of people holding them but the chant “We are all Hezbollah” was eclipsed by the more secular “We are all Palestinians.” There was the occasional Allah Akbar, but most slogans were of the “Free free Palestine” variety.
As for the gender issue, I saw a number of Asian women not wearing any head covering (and plenty of white women too) and only two wearing the Niqab. I mention this only as a measure of fundamentalism or lack of. Men and women marched together, which is ironic given that I can remember being at various demos (gay rights, womens’ rights and anti-nuclear) in which there was a degree of segregation introduced by feminists.
One man leading the chanting with a megaphone was wearing a Rolling Stones tee-shirt – hardly Taliban material! And a woman who was wearing a headscarf wore a tee shirt with the slogan “Live to Love” on it; again probably not the sort of thing the moral police in Tehran would have liked!
As for anti-Semitism, there were more Jewish people on the Al Quds demo than on the pathetically small counter demonstration (about 30) which included fascists, Zionists and, sadly, the Iranian Green Movement.
18 thoughts on “Report on Al Quds Day Demo in London”
I can understand them going to protests and boycotting Israeli goods but why must white londoners attend Al Quds day and embrace Palestinian culture? Only jews celebrate Yom
Ha’atzmaut (Britain does not have an epidemic of Christian Zionism that US does). Ordinary Londoners do not care about Independence day or St Paddy’s day or Indian cultural festivals or holidays in African countries that they colonized. Ethnic Brits dont care about their own national holidays either. This is giving credence to Daniel Pipes’s claim that Britain and Sweden is losing its “Jane Austen character” and becoming Arabized.
BTW I’m glad that Iran Green was there even though they are alienating other potential supporters. This is their way of protesting their leaders, who are more concerned with “The liberation of Palestine” than with the welfare of the Iranian people. I feel the same way when Americans, who couldn’t care less about Arab culture attend Free Palestine events.
Most of the people there were Shia Muslims, not exactly White Britons. There were only a few White Britons. They were not celebrating Palestinian culture. Whats there to celebrate? The culture is shit. They were there to support the Palestinian people’s movement for liberation against Zionism. Which is a legitimate cause.
What makes you think this was some Pallie cultural festival? It was not. It was instead a political rally in favor of the Palestinian cause.
A lot of westerners who are opposed to Zionism and Islamophobia regularly attend Middle Eastern cultural events, Palestinian Film Festivals, and celebrate muslim holidays to show their solidarity. Wellesley Middle School recently took a field trip to the Roxbury mosque. I think this violates separation between church and state.
It does violate the separation of church and state, no doubt. Of course, a lot of things in the U.S do. Just look at the New York City school system, for example. Or even a dollar bill in your pocket.
As for “lefties” doing the whole solidarity bit with Muslims or Palestinians or whatever. I agree, they do get a little silly. Nothing wrong with attending a “Middle Eastern” cultural event or what not. Good food and all. Celebrating Muslims holidays and such? Now that is just funny.
Of course, our politicians do crap like that, all the time. George W. Bush in a yarmulke at the wailing wall, does comes to mind.
I hate that too. The Clintons attend high holiday services for political gain.
They all do it. Everything is politics on some level, and everyone a politician. I’m not singling anyone out.
Couldn’t agree with you more there, Robert.
Been around Palestinians…So I know what you mean. 🙂
Not my favorite bunch of folks.
I can’t even begin to follow what you are trying to say here. How does a pro-Palestinian event have anything to do with the U.K becoming “Arabized?” There aren’t even that many Arabs in the the U.K. People like Pipes are bigots, making a killing off of an industry selling hate. His fears have about as much basis on reality, as someone who reads the “Elders of Zion,” or something along those lines, and sees a Jewish fellow behind every corner.
It’s just stupid.
This appears to be a political rally event. Simply put, people who felt strongly about the Palestinian plight showed up. Nothing more interesting than that.
As for “Iran Green” being present…I am not the least bit surprised. Pissed perhaps, but not surprised at all. The Iranian “Green Movement” wants credence in Iran as a real political force and party. To do so, they still have to part the IRI’s basic and current philosophy and policy, at least to some degree. It gives them street cred back home. Plus, many of their supporters sincerely do believe in the whole “Free Palestine” bit, and many are rather religious. Many still believe in the “Khomeinist” agenda, and in fact the Green the leadership does.
Their argument is that they are “restoring” the revolution from it’s current corruption, more than anything else. It certainly makes them harder to suppress, from the current IRI leadership’s standpoint.
Of course, I agree with you. Why the hell would Iranians give a shit about the Palestinians? Hell, Arafat sent his people to fight on the side of Saddam during the Iran-Iraq War, while Khomeini was handing out wades of cash to the Palestinians at the very same time. That is a fact, and a reality so absurd, that it makes me want to vomit.
Persians and Arabs hate each other. Even more ironic, this was a “Shia” event. Palestinians are Sunni Muslim and Christian(Catholic). Some used to be Jewish, but now they are called Israeli. Why a Shia Arab, or any Shia, would give a damn about Sunnis, is beyond me.
Unless you see this event in the foreign policy agenda of the Iranian Government. Then it makes sense. This event literally is a “Khomeinist” event, as Robert put it. Similar to how Stalinsts or Tea-Partiers or Zionists or might throw an event, for whatever reason.
A better comparison for you though, would not be Iranians caring about Palestinians to Americans caring about Arabs. That makes no sense, since the U.S government does not put the interests of the Arabs before it’s own people.
A better comparison is why Americans would care about Israel. A country they know nothing about, and are bankrupting themselves supporting in the process. That is exactly the same situation the Iranian people are in, in regard to their government, and it’s support of the Palestinians.
Oh, and this last post was in response to “Gay State Girl,” and not Roberts article. Just so you know.
Hi Cyrus, you misunderstand the article. If you can believe it, the Iranian Green Movement was there, not in support of Palestinian rights, but with the Zionists, etc. at the contra Palestinian rights demo right next to the Al Quds celebration. Yep, you heard me right. The morons in the Iranian Green Movement were demonstrating with the Zionists against Palestinian rights.
Incredible as it sounds. How dumb can you get?
Yah man! I had to re-read that last part! It misinterpreted, because it just caught me so off guard.
Those “Greens” are just lacking in basic political common sense. What the hell are they trying to accomplish? The eradication of their movement back home by the Revolutionary Guard?
Freaking stupid move.
Oh wait. My bad! I just re-read that!
The Iranian Greens were on the side of the Zionists and Fascists in the counter-demo???
They just shot themselves in the foot, back home.
Yeah. How dumb can you get? My God.
Seriously. That is why I read it wrong the first time. They are just going against basic logic.
Sort of like communists showing support for Rand Paul at a tea-party turnout…WTF??? 😀
Robert hit the nail on the head with the “Khomeini” ideology angle. After all, he was the Shia Lenin or Che Guevara. Anywhere you see Shia having an event, you’ll see his mug on something.
It really can’t be helped.
I did compare Iranian support of the Palestinians to American support of Israel.
I dont like Daniel Pipes either and I never said the UK was becoming “arabized.” Just that this supposed support for the Palestinians goes far beyond that. They now see the Palestinians through the same lens that Westerners supposedly saw the holocaust survivors. As victims they can do no wrong and their culture should be elevated to a different status and beyond criticism. Anything critical we might say about Islam or the arab world is dismissed as “zionist propoganda.”
Sorry if I sound too harsh. I am kind of reactionary. I play devils advocate and argue with everyone.
Don’t worry. You ain’t sounding too harsh. I probably bash Islam and Arabs here more than anyone. I see the point you are making, and it makes sense.
Personally, I am sick and tired of hearing about the Israeli-Palestinian ordeal. Just tired of it. I want it over already. What ever the hell the Israelis are planning to do, they should just do it now, so we don’t have to hear about this anymore! The fact the whole world must constantly partake in this endless tribal dispute over a small piece of useless land is mind numbing, and that is all it is. One tribe against the other…Literally.
Okay, I am done with my rant.