Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hold the war criminals to account

There will be more demonstrations this Saturday in London and nationwide.

Watching the coverage of Obama's speech yesterday I was struck by a few things. Firstly, while the two million or whatever who lined the streets of Washington were testament to the historic nature of the occassion, I was reminded of the words of Tariq Ali last November:

'From day one of the Obama victory, which will unleash a wave of high expectations on the domestic and global fronts, activist pressure is crucial to achieve anything. I think antiwar activists should turn up in large numbers to the inauguration with banners reading, "Congrats Barack, now out of Kabul and Iraq!"'

Yet I couldn't see any banners remotely of this nature - only a sea of American flags. I have never been to the US, let alone to a presidential inauguration ceremony, but were there such people with such banners? Or do secret service types just confiscate them? Or did the American Left just not bother to turn up for the coronation of the new Emperor? Or maybe just the bourgeois media chose not to cover that section of the crowd?

But the most poignant thing about watching the coverage of the inauguration for me was when the BBC cut to the scenes of devastation in Gaza to talk to surviving Palestinians among the devastated ruins of what were once homes, schools and hospitals. They - alone among all the people the BBC chose to interview had no illusions whatsoever in Obama - as one of them put it, only 'God and resistance' offered hope to them and to their people. It is up to those of us in the West particularly to globalise the resistance of the Palestinian people in order to hold all those responsible for war crimes in Gaza to account. Just as you cannot create a desert and call it peace neither can you just declare a 'ceasefire' and hope that the flames you have ignited through firebombing will suddenly go out. Only with an end to the occupation and real justice for the Palestinians can one begin to hope for peace.

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