Thursday, 1 January 2009


Last day of the old year and I headed off to the Israeli embassy to register my protest at the continued acts of aggression towards Gaza.

It's gesture, I know, but once you become cynical I'm not sure what's left. Solidarity, is worth a great deal, and eventually if enough people say no, tipping points are reached. There were several hundred there this afternoon.

Amazing and heartening things have occurred in my adult life, mostly through popular movement - The Good Friday agreement, The end of apartheid in South Africa, the fall of the Berlin wall and we have to believe there is a way to peace in the Middle East. It's clear that closing borders and launching air strikes on one of the poorest and most densely populated areas on earth, even in the name of defence, isn't a way forward. It's more than a humanitarian crisis. Bombs are not subtle political negotiators - they rip people apart and those who survive don't forget.

Later I met up with Hsiu Chin to watch the fireworks on the South Bank. London was rather beautiful tonight. With the streets closed to traffic it really became the people's city, an immense boulevard from the Aldwych down the Strand and Whitehall, through Parliament Square and onto Lambeth Bridge - which at 10.30pm, with all the direct viewing areas closed off, was as close as we could get. The crowd were fun though singing, drinking, dancing and cracking jokes to keep out the cold.

A huge hassle clearing the centre afterwards, mounted police with megaphones trying to direct the half million strong crowd through the maze of circuitous London streets safely back to the train stations. It was gone 3am before I was pulling out of Waterloo.

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