We are posting two articles. The first is from The Canary and describes the imaginative Extinction Rebellion shoe protest in Trafalgar Square. The second by Mike Small first posted by bella caledonia looks at the right wing media offensive to demonise the massive, and overwhelmingly peaceful Palestinian demo in London and equate it with the violent Far Right demo at the Cenotaph, before adding a Scottish perspective.
1. XR PLACE HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN’S SHOES IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE AND THE CALL FOR AN IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE IN GAZA
In a ceremony in London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday 11 November, parents from Extinction Rebellion (XR) placed hundreds of empty children’s shoes at the world-famous landmark to represent all the young Israeli and Palestinian lives lost in the ongoing fighting:
XR: calling for a ceasefire and remembering the children
At 10am, a series of activists from XR Families read out the names of all 4,100 Palestinian children killed by Israeli attacks on Gaza and of the 26 Israeli children killed by Hamas attacks on Israel. Other parents placed sheets of paper listing the names of the dead next to the rows of empty shoes:
and to mourn all innocent children killed in armed conflicts:
Julie, a mother from XR Families said:
We are calling for an immediate ceasefire. As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said: ‘Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children.’ As parents with children of our own, we say that the violence must stop now. The empty shoes are a symbol of the absence of the thousands of children who have been the innocent victims of this war, representing all the young lives that have been cut short, unfulfilled.
Jilly, a grandmother who took part in the action, said:
I look at my healthy, happy children and grandchildren and feel such anguish for the families whose children have been killed in Gaza and Israel.
Alexia, mother of two added:
Looking at those empty shoes and reading the names of the thousands of children that have been killed in Gaza, makes my heart bleed – it could be my children. Our politicians are once again showing their lack of humanity.
It is unbelievable that neither Conservative nor Labour leaders have asked for a ceasefire when the level of killing has been so indiscriminate – It is deeply hypocritical to commemorate Remembrance Day whilst we are allowing a genocide to happen In Gaza.
Climate chaos fuelling conflict
XR Families has previously highlighted the link between climate breakdown and wars, in a vicious circle of destruction that harms people and the planet.
Countries at war are less able to cope with the effects of climate change because their ability to adapt is undermined by internal divisions or ongoing violence. Climate change can also inflame existing tensions over access to diminishing necessities.
According to the INFORM Risk index published by the European Commission, the Palestinian Territories are among the 25 regions most vulnerable to climate change. In January 2022, intense floods in Gaza damaged hundreds of buildings and put entire drainage systems out of commission, forcing people out of their homes.
If an extreme weather event hit the area now, when access to basic needs is impossibly restricted, its local population would not have the means to cope.
The long-lasting occupation and blockade mean people in Gaza have more limited means than in other environments, and are being denied the right to manage their land and resources, making them more vulnerable to climate-related events.
Britain: complicit in Israel’s occupation of Gaza and Palestine
In a statement on the Palestine/ Israel war, Extinction Rebellion UK said:
The future we are fighting for is one free from violent systems of oppression that deem certain lives as expendable or less worthy of protection.
If we believe in climate and ecological justice, we must seek justice in all forms. The climate and ecological emergency has roots in centuries of colonial violence, exploitation and oppression – for which the UK bears a disproportionate share of responsibility.
Britain has historically been instrumental in the ruthless suppression of Palestinian human rights and continues to offer unwavering support for the military onslaught we’re seeing now.
2. ON THE MARCH
A few notes on what just happened.
Having been gaslit all week by the Tories and their press we are continuing to be gaslit about the events of the last 48 hours.
We are being told that – somehow – the largely peaceful protest of between 800,000 and one million people marching to demand peace is equivalent to a few thousand English fascists threatening and assaulting people and attacking the police.
It is not. There is no equivalence.
We must reject this complete misrepresentation.
Political violence in Britain is overwhelmingly a problem of the right and the far-right.
Far from being ‘soft’ on English fascists, the police were rarely in riot gear and allowed the EDL and others to take over key sites.
This is the bunch of far-right thugs incited by Braverman, near the Cenotaph, just shortly before 11am. This is how they “pay their respects.” The generation who fought fascism would be appalled. pic.twitter.com/KmnFVYhK0I
— Jonathon Shafi (@Jonathon_Shafi) November 11, 2023
They were also allowed to intimidate and assault people throughout the day.
Peace activists from XR laid out the names of the 4100 Palestinian children killed in Gaza & the 26 Israeli children killed. They placed 100s of children’s shoes on the steps & held a silence for armistice & children. Then the thugs arrived. My Mum is one of those attacked. pic.twitter.com/2D3amX5GNm
— Aydin Dikerdem (@AydinDikerdem) November 12, 2023
Having summonsed her hate mob Braverman and her allies are now attempting to pretend that the protest was a violent one and will attempt to shut down future marches and repress public opinion. This narrative must be exposed.
The main thing that the Conservatives are terrified of is this man here and what he represents (the majority of public opinion).
Rev. Tim Daplyn: “It’s been termed a pro-Palestinian demonstration, but I think it’s a pro-peace demonstration… old soldiers, on Armistice Day, calling for Armistice..” pic.twitter.com/4QqiGL1UAD
Secondly we need to talk about the problem of English fascism, and how it is connected to the more ‘mainstream’ parliamentary right without either overplaying this and giving them more agency than they deserve, or smearing wider English society. But we do need to talk about this.
But the main takeaway from what’s happening is the need to defend the right to protest which are under significant threat.
Finally – we must be pushing for the Scottish Parliament to take an independent stand and demand a ceasefire and denounce war atrocities, supporting those MSPs and MPs of all parties who are calling for a ceasefire and defying their leadership (in the case of the Labour Party).
In such times its easy to feel cowed and threatened. They tried to ban the march. They failed. They tried to frame the march as violent, they must fail at this too.