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Guardian UK: Marching in March (Youth against the war)

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 06:34 PM
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Guardian UK: Marching in March (Youth against the war)
Marching in March
Young people need to capitalise on the feelings that made us demonstrate against the Iraq war in 2003, and join today's demonstration
Lena de Casparis

March 15, 2008 10:00 AM | Printable version

There's not much good to be said for those grim days in March 2003 when American and British troops invaded Iraq. But one of the few positive things to happen during an otherwise dark time was the extraordinary reaction to the war by Britain's supposedly apathetic and feckless youth.

Tens of thousands of children in the UK, myself included, walked out of school to say no to the war. At my Welsh comprehensive, 50 or so sixth formers marched out together only to be followed by a less disciplined rabble of Year Sevens, who took their protest up to the local chippie and skived off several of the day's lessons.

The action spread far and wide: in Birmingham more than 4,000 school-uniformed protestors took to the streets; in Edinburgh around 300 12- to 15-year-olds tried to occupy the castle, and in Manchester over 400 students sat in the road, peacefully blocking the traffic.

For many of us it was our political awakening. Not old enough to vote it was our first chance to try to change the world we were living in. The few hours off class were simply a bonus.

Despite all our best efforts we failed - Bush and Blair ignored us, and the 2 million who subsequently marched in London; it seemed I'd missed French for nothing.

This month, for Red Pepper magazine, I spoke to a number of young people who had joined the demos five years ago, asking them how they felt that British troops were still holed up outside Basra. Had the continuation of the war made them more politically engaged or rather increased their disillusionment? ......(more)

The complete piece is at:

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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 06:42 PM
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1. In general, I think anger is a better motivator than despair.
People are motivated to do things if they're angry, but often it's very easy to despair.
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