On 9 March 2011, I represented the Greens at the London Rally organised by UAF and One Society Many Cultures. The line up was as packed as the hall and I particularly enjoyed the slam poets. Please sign the UAF statement. Here's my speech:
Anybody here from the United Kingdom Independence Party? Thought not.
I'm from the Green Party of England and Wales. Also known as the Green Party for Peace and Justice on Planet Earth.
I want to talk briefly about solidarity and Failed State Fanaticism. I want to talk about how it is not “state multiculturalism” that fails us but leaders peddling racist stereotypes under the pretext of the politics of fear.
What exactly does Cameron know about “state multiculturalism”? In my own borough of Brent we enjoy the most ethnically diverse community in the country. I have neighbours from Poland, India, Italy, Russia, Lithuania, South Africa, Bulgaria, Somalia … the list goes on … and that’s just my street!
Across London some of the most hard working, yet disempowered workers, upon whom we rely for cleaning, catering, construction, transport, medical care, you name it, are not only struggling to make ends meet, but are having their life chances and those of their families squandered and diminished by the Coalition’s ill-conceived and aggressive cuts programme.
That’s what I call Failed State Fanaticism.
What does Islam mean? Well, literally S .. L .. M means Peace.
It is not Islam that is to be feared. It is fanaticism in all its forms. Whether based on a perverted interpretation of a religious text. Or racial hatred masquerading as interrogation of a religious text.
What does Failed State Fanaticism look like?
Geert Wilders should know. He and the far right do not wish to tolerate the veil. But WE do not tolerate the incarceration of 22 British citizens who received disproportionate sentences for public order offences during protests against the onslaught of Gaza.
Cameron should know. He would tolerate the draconian use of kettling by the police. But WE do not tolerate the Honouring of Cressida Dick for giving the order to shoot to kill an innocent Brazilian man on the London Underground simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Cameron would tolerate the EDL’s presence in Luton on the same day he lectures us on multiculturalism in Munich (ahem sorry Dave, but I think you mean München – don’t think you’ll be gaining admittance to my dinner table). But WE do not tolerate the rise in hate crimes experienced by the Muslim and Jewish communities of Europe when racism and xenophobia goes unchallenged.
Obama should know. He would tolerate the breaking of his own pledge to shut down Guantanamo within one year of coming to office. But WE do not tolerate the ongoing detention without trial or charge of over 170 men for over nine years. [Hold up 21 Feb 2011 stonewalling letter from FCO in reply to London Guantanamo Campaign for release of Shaker Aamer.]
Which ultimate Failed State Fanaticist said the following? “Sorry, but with these people, it doesn’t work. If you want to beat them, you need draconian powers that can be wielded administratively and with instant effect. Hence the antisocial behavior laws, DNA database, ‘proceeds of crime’ legislation, anti-terror laws and so on. Now you may decide that this is too high a price to pay, in terms of traditional liberties. Fine, but – and this is what I learned – it is the price. If you don’t pay it, you don’t get the result.”
[Hold up Blair's A Journey]
But this is the man who would tolerate the shaking of Gadaffi’s hand, not to mastermind peace, but to secure arms deals in an already unstable region.
WE are with Rosa Parks of 1955 Alabama and her refusal to give in to the racist request of a fellow passenger.
WE are with the peace-loving Muslims and will confront the Failed State Fanatacists of the wider world.
WE are for truth, justice, and social INCLUSION.
Photos by C Kiss and S Ali