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Swindon vigil for Fallujah

Simon | 08.11.2004 20:19 | Anti-militarism

Allawi gave the nod today for the occupation forces to start their ground invasion of Fallujah. In Swindon this evening, a candlelit vigil was held at the cenotaph, with a poetry reading, some songs and a minute's silence.

Candlelit vigil
Candlelit vigil

Candlelit vigil
Candlelit vigil

... like bombing Swindon to get Ronald McDonald
... like bombing Swindon to get Ronald McDonald

(Apologies for poor quality of photos - my camera doesn't handle the dark too well).

Around 15 people attended a low-key vigil at the war memorial in Swindon town centre between 6 and 6:30 this evening, to draw attention to the ground assault on Fallujah which began today. Candles were set out on the ground. The unstoppable Tony Hillier read a poem recounting the day last year when Iraq was invaded, and anti-war protestors occupied Swindon Borough Council's debating chamber in response to the council's failure to oppose the war.

There was no direct action today though - no occupation of buildings or blocking of roads, just placards and candles, poetry and songs.

One placard brought the message home to passing Swindonians by putting it in a local context. Fallujah is a similar-sized town to Swindon, probably a bit bigger, and this placard said "Bombing Fallujah to get Al-Zarqawi is like bombing Swindon to get Ronald McDonald". One of the Coalition of the Killing's stated aims in attacking Fallujah is to eliminate one of the anti-occupation forces' leaders, Al-Zarqawi, even though the city authorities in Fallujah deny that he is in the city, and he is suspected to be a far more minor figure in a far more diverse resistance movement than the US/UK military spokesmen claim.

Now imagine if Ronald McDonald were the target of the attack, having beem implicated in vast crimes against the environment, animal welfare, and people in both the developing world and the over-developed world. The Coalition of the Killing could point to a building on Canal Walk, and say "We have identified a building used by persons with clear links to the international terrorist network known as McDonalds" (the big red & yellow sign outside is a bit of a giveaway). A 'precision strike' on this building would likely reduce most of the Brunel shopping centre to rubble with hundreds of indiscriminate casualties, and a full-scale invasion of the town would be far more devastating (but a very profitable opportunity for Halliburton I'm sure). And yet it would do nothing to stop the ongoing pillage of the planet carried out by the greedy corporate entity which hides behind the mythical persona of Ronald McDonald the clown.

We wouldn't want that sort of thing to happen in Swindon, and we don't want it happening in Fallujah either. Every Iraqi killed during this invasion is just as tragic as the death of someone in the UK, but you can bet that the corporate media will give far more coverage per head to anyone in the UK who meets an untimely end than to the thousands of Iraqis who will be killed by invading foreigners.

At 6:30pm, a minute's silence was held, and then the vigil ended and the participants dispersed as peacefully as they came.

See IMC feature for background and other protest plans / reports:

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  1. I have been to Swindon — Lisa Marcus