Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Making the world safe for fatuous arguments

Good to see David Aaronovitch boldly knocking down some straw men again.

Much as I appreciate his point that I wasn't out there protesting at the visit of Nicolae Ceausescu in 1978 but will be out on Thursday to unwelcome Bush- true, it is easier to say "Yanks go home" than "Romanian Dictator go home", but it's also a lot harder to join a demonstration when you haven't been born yet. Ditto I wasn't splashing red paint after the Halabja massacre, but that's because I was 11 and couldn't even spell "Kurdistan".

Aaronovitch goes on to say
"The slogan 'Yanks Go Home' has always had more potency than, say, 'Romanian murderer go home'. And the danger has always been the same - that the protesters might get the thing they asked for. "
Yes, that's it. My banner won't say "War-mongering unelected corrupt right-winger go home", but "Yanks go home". Can't this man see that I feel the same way about Americans as people of all countries (this one included), but happen to oppose selfishness and killing whoever's doing it.

A similar argument was wheeled out about global justice campaigners by Peter Hain
"It is impossible to stop satellite television, the internet and telecommunications. It is impossible to ban air travel or pop culture; impossible to ban the mobility of capital. The question, therefore, is not whether it can be stopped or abolished. Globalisation is a fact of life "
If he'd taken the time out to look, he would have seen banners saying "People before profits", "Stop Esso" and "Our world is not for sale." I must have missed the banners saying "Stop the internet". But as new labour shows, it's much easier to dismiss an argument if you misrepresent what your opponent is saying.

Anyway, back to our friend in the Observer. I'm tantalisingly close to agreeing with him
" I want Bush to stop tolerating the nastystans of Central Asia, to tell Ariel where to get off, to treat allies with more respect, to dump the hubristic neo-cons, to sign up to Kyoto, to reverse 'he who is not with me is against me' to 'he who is not against me is with me'. I would like acknowledgment of the mistakes and crimes of the past. I would quite like Bush to become Wesley Clark. "
But then he blows it again
But our enemy is not America.

There are probably a few people out there who just fundamentally oppose anything to do with America. But to argue that all those who are coming to wave banners at Bush and tell him to go home are anti-American is just stupid. David, the reasons to why you want him to change are the things I don't like about him. Plus his shredding of international law. But to say I'm out there because I want America to just disappear does not do justice to either of us.

To read the Observer can be a challenge. I can't even bring myself to look at Julie Burchill.

OK, this is why I stopped reading the newspapers, isn't it?


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