Skip to content or view screen version

Rose Gentle Calls for Blair to Be Sacked - Report Back from 'Dear Mrs Blair'

Solidarity | 21.12.2004 00:09 | Anti-militarism | Education

Camcorder Guerillas screened UK premiere of 'Dear Mrs Blair' a film and message to the wife of the warmonger in charge of the country from a mother grieving the loss of her son in a war for capitalism

First off, report back from the showing of FTA (Fuck The Army) at Mono by the Camcorder Guerillas 2 weeks ago. It went down a storm. A 'Guerilla' informed that the event was attended by
80-100 people and that the reaction of The audience was one of 'total
astonishment'. He went on to say,'People couldn't believe how much of a
movement there had been and just how involved Jane Fonda was'. He said
people left feeling 'really encouraged and motivated'. It was a hit.

Last night The Camcorder Guerillas premiered a 15 minute film titled
'Dear Mrs Blair'

The film is a message from Rose Gentle to the wife of
the man who sent her son to his death in a war for capitalism. Rose is
backed up by her community and family, and addresses Cherie Blair,
mother to another, asking her for a response to her grief, pain and
rage. At one point in the film Rose says, 'Would you want your son
coming home in a coffin covered in the Union Jack, I don't think so'.

The film shows Gordon as a child, in a school play, Gordon in training,
Gordon in his stepping out parade, photographs, Gordon's friends, lads
like him, alive and kicking a ball around the estate streets of Pollock,
and the film also shows Rose recalling her last words to him, she
remembers him calling her and telling her, 'This place is crazy, we
nearly got shot the other night, bullets were passing past our heads'.
And she recalls watching the news and hearing that a patrol had been
attacked and a soldier killed, seeing a burned out military vehicle and
a dead soldier lying on the ground beside it. And then four hours later,
army reps came to her door and informed her that Gordon had been killed.
And she realised the boy shed seen on television, lying dead on the
ground, had been her son.

The film honours Gordon, pays testament to his character. He was a star
athlete, did voluntary work when he couldn't get a job, had a 'heart of
gold'. Rose explains that her campaign is exactly what Gordon would have
wanted her to do and that if the same had happened to any of his
friends, he would have done the same.

Tens of friends and relatives of the the Gentle family came to the
screening and crying could be heard in the audience when the film was
screened. Afterwards, Rose took the mike and made it clear that Blair
and co might think that the campaign was ending with this video, but
in fact, it was only just beginning and that she hoped other families
would be joining her too because, 'I won't shut up, I'll never shut up,
I'm gonna keep going until I get justice for my son and all those boys
out there'. She also called for Blair to be removed, saying he had to
come out and we had to get him out. She received a standing ovation. She
has a new firmness and confidence, the film has helped consolidate the
campaign and honour Gordon, send his memory throughout the whole country
and further. Rose Gentle, her campaign, her family, her community, are

One of the speakers who followed, writer AL Kennedy re-affirmed the
relentless pursuit of those who must have justice for their dead loved
ones. She said, for every person who is killed in this war, every
person, they are never forgotten. Their friends, their families, can
never forget and they carry that memory and the pain of that loss and
that this propels them to take action. A.L Kennedy also calculated just
how much blood for oil had been shed, according the volume of blood a
human body carries and how much of it must be shed before someone dies.
She calculated the bloodshed at 'a minimum Total Blood Spilled of 92,811
pints - or a touch over 11,600 gallons of human blood on Blair's hands,
the hands of the man who still runs our country'. Full article here:,3604,1038831,00.html Enough to
fill the Glasgow Film Theatre we were sitting in over and over and over.

Scholar and Scientist Mahmood Al-Savvagh also spoke searingly, about the
ongoing torture and abuse of inmates in prison camps all over Iraq,
noting that Abu Ghraib was just the tip of the iceberg. He also
highlighted the fact of the Occupation still controlling the profits of
Iraq's oil sales, exporting the oil to re-fuel the occupation and to pay
for mercenaies and the continued killing of his people.

The Reverend John Mann also spoke. He has been serving Pollock's
Christian community since January and gave a profound eulogy at Gordon's
funeral. Featured in the film, he says he had just three words for Bush
and Blair, which he prayed would be etched into their hearts for
evermore: 'Shame On You'. Rev Mann re-iterated his own sense of shame
for the actions of his government, and also condemned Hollywood plans to
make a blockbuster of the Battle of Fallujah. He said: 'Gordon didn't
get up and
dust himself off after he was blown up', stressing, the war isn't a
movie and its carnage and terror cannot be belittled or glossed over.

Ewa Jasiewicz, a human rights activist and journalist who had spend over
eight months in Occupied Iraq told the story of a Major she had met in
Basra who had lost his humanity. Major Clements was the face of the
British Occupation's civil division. He was the face so to speak of the
Occupation, the man you would go and visit if you had a problem, if one
of your loved ones was killed or injured by an occupation soldier. When
asked if there would be compensation for the families of those shot dead
in a riot a few days ago, he said that 'If youre in a riot, your
comiting a criminal act, so there wont be any compensation. Basically
condoning and approving of extra judicial killing. He also outlined an
incident outside the Occupation HQ when a demonstrator had clambered
onto the bonnet of a car and had been poised to smash a brick through
the windshield. He said, 'One of our lads shot him in the legs,
personally I would have shot him dead'. He declared this openly,
remorselessly. Ewa said that Campaigns like Rose's were essential in
encouraging soldiers to disaffect and refuse their orders as they
appealed to and promoted the humanity of soldiers having doubts about
the war. In order for refusals to start taking place in earnest, there
had to be a visible and vocal movement that would show disafffecting
soldiers that they would be returning to congratulation and consolation
and not condemnation. Ewa also said that the next time theres a demo in
Pollock (Gordon's hometown) then there shouldnt be 500 protestors, there
should be 5000, 50,000, people should come up from London to Pollock and
see the poverty there. Everybody should be coming out to Pollock more

Free copies of FTA were available and were snapped up within minutes.
Rose said she thought the film was great, nodding and smiling with
approval when it was announced. Free copies of anti-war Country album
'Touch a Name on the Wall' by Annie and the Vets also went rapidly

The audience were all incouraged to send ready-to-go postcards to Cherie
Blair asking her to 'listen to Mrs Rose Gentle's plea, mother to mother,
and to help her bring British soldiers back home from Iraq'. People were
also asked to lobby Members of Scottish Parliament, the Defence
Secretary and given info on how to join and support CND (Campaign for
Nuclear Disarmament, Coalition Against the War, and Glasgow Campaign to
Welcome Refugees. Every attendee also receievd a copy of Maxine Gentle's
(Gordon's sister) letter to Tony Blair

Local and national TV also covered the film's release.

All in all, it was an incredibly successful event and fuelled the fire
of Rose's Campaign and the ever-increasing anti-war anti-military
resistance in Scotland, where the Blackwatch are recruited, from some of
the poorest communites in the UK, and where army recruitment officers
are allowed to prey on young people in schools (something Rose agreed
she'd be fighting against). Also, Rose said she'd be taking the campaign
into the realms of the anti G8 resistance which is building up for the
yearly world-carve-up shindig to be held this June in Gleneagles,