My first protest, amazingly enough. Reports indicate that there could have bee up to 4,000 people taking part in today's march. I'm not sure how I feel about it, to be completely honest. I suppose the old saying is true; sometimes going to a peace rally makes you wish that the B-52s would start bombing, just to be contrary. I don't really mean that. I don't know what I was hoping to get out of the march (okay, again with the honesty; I was secretly hoping for one thing—which went as well as you'd expect), but at the end of the hour-long circular route, I just felt empty.
What had I achieved by coming to the the protest? An hour spent trying to discern voices from the woefully inadequate sound-system, another tied up with wandering around the site looking at the different placards and encountering the counter-protest (complete with a marine yelling that he wasn't going to take a bullet for us. The effect was slightly spoiled when somebody in the pro-war crowd recognised a counterpart in the anti-war side, leading to an unexpected friendly wave), and then a final hour walking the streets of Raleigh. Not exactly world-changing. But I suppose that wasn't the intent. We were just pointing out that a lot of people aren't convinced of a case for war.
But is that enough? Should Tony Blair announce tomorrow that after seeing a million people in Hyde Park, he's decided to call the whole thing off? Do we want that precedent? What happens if a million turn up the week after, demanding the reintroduction of the death penalty?
I'm not against war at any price. Surely that's not a good policy, suicidal for a nation-state. All I want is a persuasive argument from the US/British Axis; one that doesn't rely on lies, half-truths and exaggerations. And that the decision doesn't split NATO in half.
I'm rambling, I know. I'm impressed that a million people demonstrated in London and that only five people were arrested. A nice contrast to the typical anti-globalisation protest. I also like the BBC's new policy of welcoming photos from the general public. Mob-Journalism here we come. Or is it Strangeways? I can never remember.
Is my music too loud? I think it isn't loud enough. But I don't think the speakers can get it as loud as I need it to be. And I doubt that it would matter anyway.