I had the profound privilege of standing shoulder to shoulder with impassioned demonstrators at the Free Palestine March in London on Saturday — a poignant and unyielding stance against the atrocities unfolding in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. It marked my inaugural foray into the realm of protests, and the experience was nothing short of eye-opening.
In the face of fervent attempts by the UK government to quash our voices, including the shameless suspension of tube services to hinder attendance, the march forged ahead seamlessly. As a first-timer, I wasn’t sure what to brace for, but contrary to expectations, it proceeded without a hitch, despite the relentless interference of right-wing agitators determined to disrupt our peaceful demonstration.
For those with even a modicum of intelligence, the brutal truth about Israel’s bombing campaign is undeniable. The Israeli government’s reprehensible actions have drawn widespread condemnation from those who can distinguish between right and wrong. Yet, shockingly, many Western countries, self-appointed champions of human rights, extend unwavering support to Israel, callously turning a blind eye to the egregious violations being perpetrated.
The US, cloaked in the guise of national interest, shamelessly endorses the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza. And, as expected, the UK, often perceived as the puppet dancing to the US tune, follows suit, forsaking its purported commitment to justice and human rights.
Nevertheless, amidst the disheartening political manoeuvres, the resilience of the UK public — regardless of faith, colour, language, or origin — is undeniably heartening. During the march, I encountered individuals from diverse backgrounds, all unified by a shared sense of outrage and empathy, particularly for the innocent children of Gaza.
The scene was nothing short of a people’s tsunami raging through central London, encompassing everyone from kids in strollers to elders in wheelchairs, and the disabled on crutches, all demanding an end to the war. The visceral emotions and genuine solidarity were palpable, reverberating through the impassioned chants and slogans that echoed through the city streets.
It’s a shameful moment that neighbouring Muslim nations appear to stand as impotent witnesses to the unfolding injustice in Palestine.
Amidst the throng, the placards held high by participants were a potent testament to the collective anger and condemnation. The comparisons drawn between the Israeli government’s actions and the dark echoes of Nazi brutality were sobering. Other signs labelled Israel as a racist and apartheid state, mirroring the stark realities witnessed during my visit to Jerusalem earlier this year.
The rallying cry of “Stop Genocide” took on an even grimmer significance, underscoring the deliberate killing of over 11,000 Palestinians, including innocent children, purportedly in the name of self-defence. A haunting placard captured the heartbreaking truth that children in Gaza are denied the chance to grow up, falling victim to Israeli aggression over decades.
Amidst the sea of protestors, some wore white clothes smeared with red paint — an unmistakable symbol of the bloodshed ravaging innocent lives. A particularly striking image was a girl cradling a wrapped cloth, a chilling representation of a life lost, a future stolen.
While the march may not wield immediate power to halt the bombings, it served as a resounding declaration that the public is awake, attuned to Gaza’s harrowing realities. It has stirred an unprecedented groundswell of support for a free Palestine.
Post-march, my children bombarded me with questions, seeking insights into the positions of neighbouring Muslim countries, notably Saudi Arabia and Egypt. I found myself without answers. The stark reality hit me hard — it’s a shameful moment when the US and UK, from thousands of miles away, steadfastly support Israel, while neighbouring Muslim nations appear to stand as impotent witnesses to the unfolding injustice in Palestine.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.