Mac Urata Photography © 2010 – 13 All rights reserved.m.urata@btinternet.com

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River of pacifism

It was a freezing cold that day in January 2009 as I joined the protest march that the Stop the War Coalition organised in London against the escalation of violence by the Israeli forces in Gaza. Our placards said “Stop the massacre”. The turn-out was huge despite the below-zero temperature weather and occasional flaky snow. Many had brought a shoe that they’d throw into the premises of Israeli Embassy which was located on the course of the demonstration. It was quite a fashionable thing to do, after that Iraqi journalist, Muntadar al-Zaidi threw his shoe at George W Bush at a press conference on the previous month. <See the slide-show below>

That day, I capture the river of pacifism with my camera, as I did so on 15 February 2003 when Stop the War Coalition first organised its mass demonstration on the eve of US/UK military attack against Iraq (I’d rather not use the word “war” because it was a unilateral military aggression and invasion).

It was a cold day, too. We had some discussions at our office and a group of staff decided to join the march together. We knew that many citizens would participate (and at least a million did!) so I felt it important that we take part in this anti-war action collectively.

A dozen of us met at a pub near our office at 11am and then moved towards the Blackfrairs Bridge along the river Thames. On our way to the bridge, there were other small groups of people getting ready for the demo. It was like streams of water merging into one big river. Several hours later, as we approached our destination, Hyde Park, I just happen to turn back and saw masses of people like I have never seen before (photo above). And I had my camera with me to record it, and share that moment with my friends and colleagues. It was start of my photo journalism that day.

Since then, pacifism remains strong in the minds of British public. No mass weapons of destruction were ever found. But the politicians are brazen and there are those who are making huge profit from this warfare. So we must carry on our protest.

That day in 2003 has also proven the fact that we can organise a global anti-war day. And although the themes are more industrial where I work, I am also proud of the fact that our action days have been also quite successful.

If you want to use my photos, please contact me first. Credit is required. No part of this photo to be stored, reproduced, manipulated or transmitted by any means without permission. NUJ recommended terms & conditions apply. Moral rights asserted under Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988.

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Books to read

Read the book review by Ingemar Lindberg on Global Restructuring, Labour and the challenges for Transnational Solidarity (Routhledge 2010)

Now published. The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State by Asbjørn Wahl from Pluto Press

Radical East London Walks
*Radical Jewish East End
*Anti-Fascist Footprints
*Spark of Rebellion in Bow and Mile End
For more details, click here
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