In 600 cities around the world, in 50 countries, millions of people gave up their free time this Saturday to turn out in demonstrations for peace. In question is not the character of Saddam Hussein, but rather the notion that war cannot be waged without a valid pretext.
Governments and organisers will refute the exact figures but today, Saturday 15th February 2003, something special happened. The citizens of the world, whatever their colour or creed, came together in Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, North and South America to show to those who wish to wage war against Iraq that they are isolated and wrong.
The citizens of the world came together today to lay the foundations of a new world order, based on a multi-lateralist, democratic approach. The citizens of the world today claimed their stake in the way major events are managed, because today it was proved that every individual counts.
Every man, woman and child who took part in today’s demonstrations for peace proved that the collective will and determination of ordinary people, whatever their walk of life, can make a difference. The intelligence services of the USA and UK will today be examining the raw facts. These raw facts are crystal clear.
London had its biggest ever peacetime protest, up to 2,000,000 people marking their presence against the policy followed until now by Prime Minister Tony Blair on Iraq. The people do not want a war, they want the UNO to be given a chance to perform its functions, namely to check whether Weapons of Mass Destruction exist and if so, to destroy them.
London was no exception. In Spain, one and a half million people marched for peace in Barcelona, over two million in Madrid. In Italy, over two million people marched in Rome and this preoccupation by ordinary citizens to make their voice heard was repeated around the world, proportionally.
From Tokyo to Moscow, from Seoul to Asuncion, from Lisbon to Brussels, hundreds of thousands of people marched for peace. The notion that world politics can be dictated by cliques, or lobbies, or gangs, which support governments, has today been given a red card by the people who elect their governments.
The oligarchy which desired a war against Iraq has been defeated. It remains to be seen whether popular demand goes further, to insist on the resignation of those who followed the path of belligerence, the path of evil.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru