In defence of politics & some politicians, in loyal support of Labour and in appreciation of decent political journalism.

11 January 2015

Aux armes, citoyens!

Filed under: Theocractic fascism — Ian McKenzie @ 11:30 pm
2015.01.11 Tricolore

Aux armes, citoyens! Formez vos bataillons!


I first heard about today’s London vigil for the Paris victims on Twitter; a friend was going and looking for someone to meet up with. In Trafalgar Square’s fading light several thousand people, mostly French, stood in quiet reflection. Many holding hastily produced “Je suis Charlie” posters, some displayed “je suis juif, others “je suis Ahmed.” We felt all in it together, for once.

The air was sad with palpable grief, without being sombre. Politesse suffused the square. The lack of tension was partly aided by the welcome absence of any evidence of the Trotskyism that has polluted every Trafalgar Square rally I’ve attended over more than 30 years.

No A3 placards bearing maddeningly simplistic predictions of the imminent demise of capitalism if only our political leaders didn’t betray us, stabbed themselves into my eye-line; no-one tried to sell me a pathetic Trotskyist rag; no far-left litter carpeted the paving. It was all, well, rather civilised actually. It was for to defend civilisation, after all, that we had come.

A contingent of Kurds on the steps into the square expressed solidarity. Their fellows back in the Middle East are currently making huge sacrifices as they stand against the theocratic fascism of ISIS. Close by, a woman held up a sign reading “FRANCE IN SOLIDARITY WITH NIGERIA”, in grim reminder that while 17 people had been murdered in Paris, the barbarians had murdered over 2000 in Nigeria shortly afterwards, including a 10 year-old girl who had been used as a human bomb.

From time to time “La Marseillaise” – surely the world’s best national anthem – would strike up and quietly swell through the crowd followed by a little genteel applause. And then, just after 4pm, as the sun went down, the walls of the United Kingdom’s National Gallery were washed with the tricolore of the French national flag. I felt a welling pride to be a British European who can speak a little French. I felt at home.

Whatever your weapon of choice, it is time to take it up. Enough quiet remembrance, time to get angry. We need to raise up our pencils and pens, our articles and laws, our computers and other technology, our ballots and bullets, our anger and humour, our decency and sheer bloody mindedness. And our common humanity.

To arms, citizens, there are barbarians inside the gates and we have batallions to form.

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