Sunday, April 25, 2004

From Baghdad with love - George Galloway speaks out 

The anti-war agitator and an ex-Labour Party MP, George Galloway, bares his soul in an interview with the "Guardian". Laugh or cry, here are some of the highlights:

"I'm taking the message to the toffs. Our biggest base at the anti-war movement, believe it or not, was at Camden School for Girls. There was a huge all-out strike there. The girls walked out as one, after lunch, and joined the marchers. I'm doing Eton next."

Elite schools and universities full of spoiled rich brats as hotbeds of infantile leftyism, anti-Americanism and totalitarian groupie-ism? Shock horror, who would have thought! Just imagine what damage the Soviets might have caused if they had thought about exploiting such sentiments at, say, Cambridge.

"Over time I came to love Iraq like a man loves a woman."

Ah, he did it all for love. Galloway has won one libel case against the "Christian Science Monitor", which had accused him of taking 10 million pounds in bribes from Saddam. The documents that the "Christian Science Monitor" were relying on were proven to be forgeries. The libel case against the "Daily Telegraph" hasn't reached a conclusion yet. The "Telegraph" is relying on a different set of documents.

On his new political party: "Respect. It's a young word. It's a black word. It's the first postmodern name for an electoral political movement."

Oh George, you're so hip and happening, man. But will Ali G sue for breach of copyright? By the way, what is it about older uncool leftie politicians trying to desperately present themselves to younger voters as being like them?

"Well, occupation is ugly, resistance can hardly be pretty. I never called on people to fight. But I never had any doubt that they would either."

Strangely, Galloway's former party colleagues made the same mistake as everyone else, when they so obviously misinterpreted his words as a call to Arabs to come into Iraq and fight the British troops and expelled him from the Labour Party.

"Galloway won't describe the blowing up of the bus full of schoolchildren on Wednesday as terrorism, preferring to see it as a grisly aspect of a revolutionary insurgency. 'Resistance movements in Europe against German occupation frequently carried out acts that went badly wrong'."

We didn't have to wait too long for the Bush/Blair = Nazis comparison, did we? Always a mark of a deep political thinker with a clear moral perspective.

"[W]e still kid ourselves that acts ordered by men in suits is war. And that the same acts ordered by men in sandals is terrorism. There is no distinction."

Contrary to Galloway's highly intellectualised theory of fashion equivalence, it's not about the (lack of) difference between suits and sandals, but a very real distinction between men who target combatants and accidentally kill or injure civilians, and men who target civilians because they want to target civilians or because they just don't give a shit.

"That is a racist idea - that once the white man withdraws the natives will start killing each other. It would probably not be Queensberry rules all the way to parliamentary democracy, but we are the problem not the solution."

Really, George, a racist idea? What about post-colonial Africa? The Indian subcontinent? The Middle East? Indochina? George, are you still there?...

"If we had not overthrown the moderate Mossadeq in Iran, because he wanted to nationalise oil, there would have been no Shah. No Shah, no Khomeini; no Khomeini, no Iran/Iraq war; no Iran/Iraq war, no invasion of Kuwait."

You see, kiddies, if you go far enough in time, you will always be able to blame the West for any bad current situation. But how about, if your idol Marx didn't produce tons of toxic shit, there would be nothing to inspire the "moderate" Mossadeq to nationalise oil? And by the way, it's Saddam Hussein and not Khomeini who started the Iran/Iraq war.

"On his two official meetings with Saddam, Galloway claims he was the voice of opposition the dictator never had. On the last occasion they met in 2002, Saddam offered round a box of Quality Street, while George 'argued for a programme of releasing prisoners, of amnesty on political opponents...' [Galloway:] 'He did empty the jails before the war'."

Of criminals, George. But thanks for the amnesty anyway. And Saddam did have opposition, it's just that they were all laying in mass graves instead of being invited over for a cigar.

On behalf of the people of Iraq, whose liberation you were so strenuously trying to prevent, I hope you've enjoyed that cigar, George.


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