Friday, May 26, 2006

Iran's offer of peace and the US's Hubris.

Apologies for the sporadic posting. The exams are almost over!

According to Gareth Porter of, back in 2003 Iran had offered peace to the United States and Israel in return for security assurances from the US. Unsurprisingly, the offer came in April or May of that year, just weeks after the US military had strolled to Baghdad.

Iran blinked when they offered peace but the US was too arrogant to realise it. They took it as a sign of weakness and set their sites on marching to Tehran from Baghdad. Saddam's army had folded in 3 weeks so the Iranians would be no great shakes. However now, after 3 years of being softened up by the sunni arab Guerilla insurgency in Iraq, they are in no fit state to step into the ring with Iran.

While the US is the stronger and heavier fighter who undoubtedly can still cause damage to its lighter opponent, it steps into the ring with weak knees. Under normal circumstances Iran may have folded under a US bombing campaign, but with 150,000 US hostages in iraq as Iraqi blogger Riverbend put it, they will be supremely confident of hurting the US.

Also, the mess that is iraq has detered any Anti-regime elements in Iran from working against the state. As bad as they see things, there is no way they want the chaos to be found next door. The people will rally around the flag instead of turning against their leaders. What the US hasnt grasped is the strong Iranian nationalism that seems to transcend ethnicity or political ideology. EVERY iranian ive spoken to from Khomeinists to shah loyalists, insist that Iran has the right to a nuclear programme, which of course they do under international law.

The reason iraqis allowed the invasion was because the Baathist regime had treated them so horrendously. The clerics in Iran, love them or hate them, simply havent engaged in that sort of oppression, nor do I believe is it their intention to. For an "axis of evil" state, its political landscape is quite diverse, as opposed to Saddams strict idol worship state. If america thinks that internal opposition to the Iranian clerics is similar to that faced by saddam, they are grossly mistaken.

They would do well to ignore the sun soaked exiles in LA and the Manucher Ghorbanifars' of this world, when they tell the Bush Administration that they will be greeted by cheering crowds. Otherwise, as Juan Cole rightly points out, Arlington cemetary will have a busy century.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Anti-Racist rally, London 29/04/06

Anti-Racism rally, Trafalgar Square, london 28/04/06

The recent increased focus on the British National Party (BNP) has caused fears amongst some that the racist group are about to make a breathrough on the political scene in the UK, in this weeks local elections. Labour MP and Cabinet Member Margaret Hodge warned that the BNP could command as much as 80% of the votes in Barking, a district in East London, whilst think-tanks and policy groups have also warned of the BNP's potential victory in some areas, as the party fields a record number of candidates to contest the elections.

However, last saturday the youth of England came out in force to show exactly what they thought of the BNP and their racist platform. At an event organised by the 'Love Music Hate Racism' (LMHR) organisation, Trafalgar Squared rocked and skanked to the delight of the 45,000 people who had turned up. The rally, which doubled up as a free concert, was supported by Trade Unions and other anti-racism movements, which were trying to encourage people to come out and vote on May 4th in order to halt the BNP in their tracks.

As the square basked in sunshine, a mix of 'urban' and 'indy' acts took the stage, playing to the equally mixed crowd. The organisers of the event had very deliberately catered for the different genres of music which have captured the imagination of today's youth, and it worked a treat. The Heartless Crew, Roll Deep and energetic young rapper Akala represented for the 'urban' youths, while the 'suburban' kids rocked out to the Mentalists, the Paddingtons and a Babyshambles missing their infamous front-man Pete Doherty. Doherty was arrested on the morning of the concert for allegedly injecting a female fan with Heroin, with pictures of his apparent crime splashed all over the pages of the Sun 'newspaper'.

Regardless, the show went on, with Lethal Bizzle being the best performer by far. As he knocked out his crowd pleasers like 'Shame' and 'Pow', the whole crowd sung along in unison. What was striking about this concert was the way so-called 'skaters' and 'rudeboys' had managed to come together and really get into the spirit of things. The 'rudeboys' moved their heads to the 'indy' artists and the 'skater' kids moshed and crowd-surfed enthusiastically to Lethal and the other 'urban' acts. It was a real sign of hope that Britain's youth, be they black, white, asian, jewish, muslim, hindu or anything else, had managed to come together and unite against the fascism and hatred of the BNP.

There were the obligatory speakers, ranging from trade unionists and politicians to a spokeswoman from the Muslim Council of Britain and a Gay rights activists, and 'f**k the BNP' was the chant of the day. Despite any differences anyone may have had before hand, they all managed to put it all aside for this very worthy cause. In these dark days of the War on Terrorism, the illegal war in Iraq, ID cards and increasingly polarised societies everywhere, this show of youthful unity and love provided a searing ray of hope that there will be a better future for us all. The sooner the grown up's can learn from the kids and get their act together, the better.

P.S. a special mention must go out to the young mixed-race rapper who performed a song about the discrimination faced by Irish people at the hands of the British Establishment. The emotional and heartfelt performance, which talked about innocent people being labeled 'IRA' and 'terrorists', is similar to the plight faced by muslims today. If anyonewas there around 2pm and knows the artists name, let me know!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Anti-Racist rally, London 29/04/06

Apologies for the lack of posts in recent weeks, end of year exams have been eating up my time!

Will have a full report on the Anti-Racism rally/concert in London on saturday up later today.