Posts Tagged ‘George Galloway’

BLAIR AT THE IRAQ INQUIRY – GEORGE GALLOWAY REPORTS

January 30, 2010

Socialist Unity, January 29, 2010

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Storm of protest as Blair slinks into Iraq inquiry

January 30, 2010
Morning Star Online,  January 29, 2010
by Paddy McGuffin
A sea of placards filled Parliament Square on Friday morning

A sea of placards filled Parliament Square on Friday morning

“Blair lied, thousands died.” That was the chant which reverberated around Parliament Square on Friday as former prime minister Tony Blair gave evidence to the Iraq inquiry.

Even from the safety of the Queen Elizabeth II centre, where he had been spirited by his security detail hours before the inquiry was due to start, Mr Blair could not have failed to hear the fury of the hundreds of protesters who thronged the square throughout the morning.

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Egypt deports MP George Galloway

January 8, 2010

By Tim Moynihan, Press Association, The Independent/UK, Jan 8, 2010

Plainclothes Egyptian police officers bundled george Galloway on to a plane bound for London
Getty Images

Plainclothes Egyptian police officers bundled George Galloway on to a plane bound for London

George Galloway was deported from Cairo today despite wanting to return to Gaza to help members of a humanitarian convoy who have reportedly been arrested, a spokeswoman for the convoy said.

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‘Fighting to break the Gaza siege’

December 28, 2009
Al Jazeera, Dec 28, 2009
The aid convoy is destined for Gaza, which is under an Israeli blockade [FILE: GALLO/GETTY]


George Galloway, a UK politician who is leading the convoy, tells Al Jazeera why the group must be allowed to proceed:
It was Christmas Day but there was no room at the Inn for the weary travellers.

Turned away by the Arab Republic of Egypt, the 500 members of the Viva Palestina Convoy to Gaza spent Christmas in a car park in Aqaba.

The last time so many Turks, Arabs and British were together in this town they were fighting the first World War against each other.

Now, they are fighting to break through the siege on the Palestinian people in Gaza.

In video
Gaza aid held up in Jordan

There will be time enough afterwards to review everyone’s role in the sorry Christmas story but for now I am appealing to anyone and everyone to help us reach Gaza.Our medicines are in a race against the time of their expiry date and are spoiling in the desert sun, whilst people in Gaza die for the want of them.

The government of Turkey and the respected Premier [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan are trying their best, as is the former prime minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, as well as the wife of the current prime minister in Kuala Lumpur.

I have written to Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan asking her to contact Madame Susan Mubarak who as well as being first lady of Egypt is the head of the Egyptian Red Crescent, to see if it is testosterone that’s the problem.

The facts are these: more than 200 trucks and 500 people from 17 different countries gave up their Christmas holidays to try to help one and a half million Arabs and Muslims in Gaza.

We are four hours away, across the Red Sea from approaching Rafah.

An Arab government will not allow us. The question is: What are 300 million Arabs going to do about this continued slow, quiet massacre of their brothers behind the wire?

Convoy to Gaza: The stories of life under siege

July 23, 2009

Socialist Worker, July 23, 2009

The Viva Palestina delegation of solidarity activists from the U.S. was allowed to enter Gaza on July 15 with truckloads of desperately needed humanitarian supplies–but under the condition that the convoy leave again within 24 hours.

The delegation, led by British Member of Parliament and antiwar activist George Galloway, met one bureaucratic obstacle after another from Egyptian authorities. After negotiating an agreement with the government, the convoy finally left for the Rafah border crossing after several days, and with some of its supplies barred from getting through.

A number of SocialistWorker.org contributors were part of the Viva Palestina delegation. This is part two of a diary of the 24 hours in Gaza by Tom Arabia, Karen Burke, Ream Kidane, Brian Lenzo, Khury Peterson-Smith and Eric Ruder. The diary begins with “A day in Gaza.”

A building in the Jabaliya refugee camp destroyed by Israeli warplanes (Tom Arabia | SW)A building in the Jabaliya refugee camp destroyed by Israeli warplanes (Tom Arabia | SW)

July 16, 10:30 a.m.

From Eric: Haidar and I finished a traditional Palestinian breakfast of bread infused with olive oil and thyme. Then we drove around Remal, the administrative center of Gaza, where the concentration of ministry and legislative buildings, universities and Al Shifa Hospital took many direct hits in December and January. This is also the neighborhood of the Palestinian bourgeoisie that had lived in Tunisia, and returned to Palestine after the 1993 Oslo Accords.

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Viva Palestina: Navigating Egypt’s Obstacle Course

July 15, 2009

By Soozy Duncan  | Information Clearing House, July 14, 2009

The Viva Palestina U.S. convoy has been facing barrier after barrier in recent days despite having initially hoped to cross into the Gaza Strip this morning. The Egyptian government, collaborator in Israel’s severe blockade for the past 2 years, has set up a course of administrative obstacles which will delay the group’s entry into Gaza.

George Galloway, the British Member of Parliament who organized this effort as well as the first Viva Palestina caravan which drove from London to Gaza in March, sent a letter to President Mubarak of Egypt prior to the departure of the U.S. convoy. This letter informed the president that over a million dollars had been raised with the intention of purchasing vehicles, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid to bring to Gaza. Viva Palestina was also in contact with the Egyptian ambassadors in London, Washington, DC and Tripoli, Libya, who, at their request, were provided with a list of the names and passport numbers of all convoy participants.

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Viva Palestina to Egypt: Let the convoy through to Gaza

July 13, 2009

Kevin Ovenden, Viva Palestina coordinator | Socialist Worker, July 13, 2009

The Egyptian government has disrupted a convoy of solidarity activists bringing needed humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. Members of Viva Palestina report that officials stopped buses carrying part of the group’s delegation as they attempted to cross into the Sinai region on the way to the Rafah border crossing, where activists plan to enter Gaza with their aid convoy.

Supplies for the Viva Palestina convoy ready for loading (Eric Ruder | SW)Supplies for the Viva Palestina convoy ready for loading (Eric Ruder | SW)

July 11, 9 p.m., Cairo time: The largest-ever U.S. humanitarian aid convoy is now gathering in Egypt to head across the border into Gaza on Monday, July 13.

Vehicles are coming from Alexandria, the medical supplies from Cairo and the advanced party of nearly 100 U.S. citizens is heading for the staging post of Al Arish, just before the border with Gaza.

That group, of four buses, has, however, been stopped from crossing over the Suez Canal and into the Sinai region, which leads to Gaza. The buses, carrying people, medical aid and bearing US, Egyptian and Palestinian flags in a spirit of international cooperation, have been held at a security checkpoint and given various, conflicting reasons for why they cannot proceed to their destination at Al Arish.

Continued >>

Barnsby: ‘Vote for the removal of Gordon Brown as prime minister’

June 23, 2009

Dear John Bercow

Many congratulations on being elected Speaker of the House of Commons. What  I would hope is that some anti-Iraq war MP should present a motion that you  would accept and the House vote Brown out of office.

Who would it be who accomplished this historic act?

My own choice would be Diane Abbott MP female and black being the next Prime Minister thus trumping the US brown President Barak Obama, the hope of all who voted for him, but who disappoints by being enmeshed in US neo-imperialism.

In this way would British authority throughout the world be established.

But one step at a time perhaps and I would hope that some MP who has been anti-Iraq war from the beginning and borne the brunt of the struggle such as George Galloway, so inventive in so many ways, should pull the chain which would flush Brown out.

Or our own Wolverhampton MP, Ken Purchase, due to retire at the  end of this Parliament  who could retire  in a blaze of glory after a life time of service and integrity to the people of Wolverhampton.

Or anyone else Tory or Lib-Dem or other party who have preserved British honour from those who have supported Torturers and Nuclear Maniacs who would contemplate the destruction of the planet and all of us on it.

So, again, congratulations from those of us who have struggled so long for Peace and Multiculturalism.

Sincerely

GEORGE BARNSBY
90 year old lifetime militant and Communist.
GB Working Class Library and Free Communist Bookshop.
141 Henwood Rd. Wolverhampton, W.Mids
Tele and Fax 01902 751888

Galloway: Our Convoy to Gaza

June 6, 2009

Don’t Carp, Organize

By GEORGE GALLOWAY | Counterpunch, June 5 / 7,  2009

“Where is the ummah; where is this Arab world they tell us about in school.”

Those words will forever remain etched on my brain. They were spoken by a 10 year old girl in a bombed out ruin in Gaza in March. She had lost her almost her entire family in the 22-day Gazat earlier this year. The second time she spoke, it was to the back of my head. I had to turn away; what answer could you give her?

While Hugo Chavez expelled the Israeli ambassador to Venezuela, the leaders of the Arab League, with a handful of exceptions, spent those murderous weeks in December and January scarcely summoning even the synthetic indignation that has so often attended previous bloody episodes in the Palestinian tragedy.

But that was not so of public opinion, not only in the Muslim world, but mobilized on the streets of Western capitals. In Britain, over 100,000 people took to the streets and night after night we blockaded the Israeli embassy. Above all, the Gaza onslaught produced in the US an unprecedented outpouring. There have, for sure, been protests before, but this has turned out to be more than an ephemeral release of impotent rage. Something is changing.

That has become more and more apparent to me over the last two months as I’ve spoken on Palestine at packed meetings and fundraisers across the US.  The opinion polls in January showed a plurality of Americans against the Israeli onslaught. It may not have been a surprise to those of us who witnessed Ariel Sharon’s leveling of Beirut in the late summer of 1982, but the sight of white phosphorous – which forms a gaseous cloud – being used against civilians in Gaza stunned the senses of millions or people who had up to that point been led to believe that it was somehow the Palestinians who were occupying Israeli land rather than the other way round.

Seasoned activists in the Palestinian cause confirm that there is now a window of opportunity to take this case beyond the ghetto and into the mainstream of political life – in the US and in Britain, which between them bear the heaviest responsibility for the suffering in Palestine: the US as the cashier for Israeli colonization; Britain, as the author of the tragedy in 1917, when a leader of one people, British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour (an anti-Semite), gave to the purported leaders of another people, the Zionist movement, the land belonging to a third people, the Palestinians. And all without asking any of the people, which even by the standards of British imperialism is quite a triumph.

How then to bring to the cause of Palestine the kind of political movement that helped shatter apartheid, between the hammer of the ANC resistance and the anvil of international solidarity? This is the question that has led to me flitting backwards and forwards across the Atlantic, between lectures and fundraisers here, and the unfolding of an extraordinary political crisis at home. It was the question we asked ourselves as we marched past the Israeli embassy on those cold days in January.

The demonstrations were important. Anyone who doubts that should listen to those living under siege whose capacity to resist was strengthened every time they saw those protests on Al Jazeera and Press TV. But they were not enough, nor were the speeches, though they too have their place. It is actions that speak louder than words. That’s why on January 10 I announced at the big London demonstration that I would be leading a convoy of humanitarian aid from Britain to Gaza.

We decided to head off just five weeks later and to go through a difficult route – down to Spain, cross to Morocco and then driving across the Maghreb. We hoped to take a dozen or so vehicles. In the end, we left Hyde Park on February14 with 107 vehicles, 255 people and around $2 million of aid. Some 23 days and 5,500 miles later we entered Gaza. And now, we’re doing it all again, this time from the US.

On July 4, the Vietnam vet Ron Kovic, myself and hundreds of US citizens will fly out from JFK to Cairo where we will form up a convoy of hundreds of vehicles carrying medical aid and head into Gaza. We will be in Egypt exactly one month to the day from when President Obama delivered his historic speech offering a new and more egalitarian relationship between the US and the Muslim world. And that speech makes it all the more imperative that anyone and everyone gets on board this convoy.

For Obama’s speech, like his election campaign and presidency, can be looked at two ways. There were the expressions of general support for Israel and continuity in foreign policy which it would be naïve not to expect from any US president. How easy it would be to slump into the cynical and knowing snorting that has been such an unappealing trait of too much of the left for far too long. Because at the same time, his skilful appeal for a more respectful East-West dialogue opens up many roads for friends of Palestine and the Arab cause. If you doubt that, look at the frenzied reaction of the Israeli right who, in their usual understated way, are likening opposition to the settlement program to genocidal murder.

Our case is that Obama is right to identify that if the US wants to drain the swamp of hatred against it, then it needs a radical change in policy. The road he marked out in Cairo points in the right direction. But he stopped short. Literally. The road leads a couple of hundred dusty desert miles further from the Nile Delta, across the Sinai and to the Rafah crossing into Gaza. Hence the convoy, whose aims are manifold.

First, it is to take much-needed aid to a people subsisting under siege. We are a link in the supply chain that others who have sent delegations to Gaza have also helped establish.

Second, it is to take people – lots of American people. No one should underestimate the impact that will have on the Palestinian people. It was emphasized by our hosts in March that the presence of so many Britishers was even more valuable than the aid we brought. It meant hundreds of people going back as ambassadors for Palestine in towns and cities across the country. For the people of the Gaza Strip it was proof positive, in front of their very eyes, that they had not been forgotten.

Third, it is to contribute to the mighty process of changing US public opinion on this issue. And where public opinion changes, public policy follows – even if the mechanism is complex and difficult. The eight dark years of the Bush era saw, in effect, the criminalization of solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Whole organization, Muslim and Arab, were closed down, their leaders disappeared and deported or imprisoned, witness the appalling trial and verdict of the Holy Land Foundation organizers. This convoy is about ending that. We want a cross-section of US society, including prominent figures, to take part and demonstrate that this is no longer a no go area; that Palestine is the issue and nobody is going to turn us around.

In Gaza, Ron Kovic will hand over wheelchairs to Palestinian amputees. That’s the image the world’s media will carry. Let the rabid supporters of the Netanyahu-Lieberman regime raise their voices against that. That’s a public relations battle we should relish.

There’s no point passively bewailing what this presidency might be failing to do. If we make an impact in July and beyond, it can help shift the balance, throwing the die-hard defenders of Israeli aggression on the defensive and making it more politically attractive for President Obama to move further down the dusty road.

In a sense George W Bush had an excuse for the mayhem he unleashed: he was a complete and utter imbecile. Barack Obama does not have that excuse. He’s highly intelligent and cultured. He met the sorely missed Edward Said. He doesn’t just know who the President of Pakistan is, he can pronounce the name of the country.

If the new sentiment for Palestine in this country is roused and made politically effective, there will be no excuse for anyone not to do the right thing.

Go to www.vivapalestina-us.org for information on the US to Gaza convoy or phone 773 226 2742

George Galloway is the Respect Party Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow.

They banned the wrong George

March 27, 2009

Erik Wallenberg wonders about the mix-up in Canada where the government allowed in a known war criminal, but kept out a leading opponent of war.

George Galloway speaking at a 2008 protest of George W. Bush's visit to London (Davide Simonetti)

George Galloway speaking at a 2008 protest of George W. Bush’s visit to London (Davide Simonetti)

IT SEEMS that the Canadian government, and the immigration ministry in particular, has gotten their Georges confused. Though how you could confuse a bumbling idiot with a Texas drawl for an erudite Scotsman with an oratory of the first degree, is hard to imagine.

George W. Bush was granted safe passage to Calgary earlier this month for a speaking engagement that netted him some $400-a-plate to talk about his eight years in the White House–God only knows what anyone would want to hear him talk about. Meanwhile, George Galloway was branded an “infandous street-corner Cromwell” by Alykhan Velshi, spokesperson for Canada’s immigration minister Jason Kenney, and refused entry into the country.

I guess it should be obvious that the Canadian government, headed by Bush wanna-be Stephen Harper, would make room for a war criminal of the highest order and have nothing but contempt for a “street-corner” politician who actually represents the beliefs of those who elected him, not to mention the majority of Canadians who want Canadian involvement in the occupation of Afghanistan to end (and who protested Bush’s fist speaking engagement and trip outside the U.S. since leaving office).

What you can do

You can sign an online petition calling on the Canadian government to allow George Galloway to speak.

Also, the Center for Research on Globalization is circulating a statement against Galloway’s banning that it is asking organizations to endorse and promote.

Galloway was asked to travel to Canada to speak about the war in Afghanistan. Certainly the Canadian government would rather not have him there speaking against an occupation that Canadian troops are carrying out. But the official reason for his being barred from entering the country is his unabashed support for Palestinians’ right to resist occupation in any way they see fit–namely by giving aid to Hamas for the people of Palestine.

In fact, Galloway, when questioned on this, said, “We can only come to the aid of the Palestinian people and give that aid to the democratically elected government. This is something that will not change, no matter how many governments around the world in however many conflicts try to choose other peoples’ representatives.”

Galloway, who traveled to Gaza recently with the Viva Palestina convey, brought aid and international attention to the Israeli siege that has laid waste to the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Stephen Harper, the prime minister of Canada, should have gone the way of Bush long ago, but maintains a hold of power by undemocratic parliamentary maneuvers.

It is truly an upside down world when a government can allow a war criminal like George W. Bush–who more than any other single figure in the world has been directly responsible for the deaths and displacement of literally millions of people–to enter the country to rake in more cash and tell more lies, while keeping out George Galloway, who has devoted his life to organizing relief and humanitarian aid, telling the truth and speaking up for ordinary people.

It’s time to turn this world right side up and decide–as George Galloway has–that “this is not something I’m prepared to accept.”


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