Scotland united for Palestine today as thousands descended upon the Mound in Edinburgh for a peaceful demonstration against the atrocities in Gaza. With similar demonstrations happening all over the UK the voice from the civilian population at least is clear – end the massacre and bring peace to Gaza and Palestine. With a death toll now in excess of 1000, mostly civilians, and a ceasefire simply enabling the world to see the extent of the devastation, this respite is at best an opportunity to negotiate, for what it’s worth.
Today’s demo, whilst peaceful, met with resistance from the East Lothian police who, by simply following instructions from their parliamentary leaders attempted to block the proposed route. Negotiations proved fruitless, but a botched attempt to break police instructions and provoke a small number of arrests, instead led to a mass march away from the mound and on to Princes Street, as planned.
Traffic was interrupted, and shoppers inconvenienced. Greed slowed down for while and capitalism suffered. Tourists watched whilst thousands chanted messages of support for the Palestinian people and anger at the actions of the Israelis. A minute’s silence for those lost in the war was a perfectly observed tribute mid-way through the march, before thousands gathered outside the home of Scotland’s First Minister at St. George’s Square.
Protests are happening throughout the UK and the rest of the world. But there’s a problem…
Amongst those orchestrating the current negotiations is U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry, who along with other leading nations have profited from Israel’s actions. Israel has the fourth most powerful defence in the world, and those now discussing ‘peace’ carried out those arms deals, making billions in the process. I sense bias.
I’m sure however, that those ‘strong ties’ with Israel, and the ‘support’ so often cited from the West will be put to one side as a fair resolution is sought. Of course that will happen.
Will, just for once, the West forget about profit and do what is right, or, will money continue to talk? Palestinians are prisoners in their own ever-diminishing land. Their rights are abused in their living hell. If Cameron, Obama, Merkel, Kerry et al showed the same compassion, determination and sense of justice as those in Edinburgh today, maybe, just maybe what is right and fair for the people of Palestine may one day become reality.
Many more photos from the day can be found on my photo blog, Green Rivers.