UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday 9 August 2014

Gaza: 'We march for three things. The children, the children, the children.'

#Gaza Edinburgh’s Princes Street came to a halt again this week when marchers stopped and sat for two minutes silence to remember the dead in Gaza. Even onlookers respected the silence and applauded as the demonstrators set off again for Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland.

On the 90 minute march, people carried a card, each with the name of one of the 2,000 Palestinians, almost 400 of them children, killed by Israeli forces. It was a poignant and powerful way of highlighting the human cost.

The demands were straightforward: An immediate end to the killing, Israel to lift the siege and to abide by UN resolutions. An end to arms sales to Israel and boycott, divestment and sanctions to bring pressure on the Israeli government. A free Palestine.

Sadly, the only union banner on the march was UNISON Edinburgh’s but it was met again with great warmth and welcome after welcome from members, non- members and even those who just wanted to know what UNISON was.

Before marching off, the rally at the Mound heard the voices of Palestinians direct from a Gaza hospital over an amplified feed. Gordon Maloney, president of the National Union of Students Scotland and a Jewish man, brought cheers when he emotionally told the rally, “Nothing Israel does is in my name.”

Green MSP Alison Johnstone and Mike Arnott from Dundee Trades Union Council also spoke and there was special mention of Aberdeen activists who had joined the Edinburgh rally for the first time. Aberdeen has seen five consecutive weeks of Saturday demonstrations in the city. http://aberdeentuc.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/aberdeen-stands-against-barbaric-and.html

Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire and Fife won applause for flying the Palestinian flag and calls were made for Edinburgh to do the same.

Amal Azzudin
But, as the news came through of the massive demonstration in London, it was the moving speech by ‘Glasgow Girl’ Amal Azzudin outside Bute House that brought the biggest response from the rally.

People are saying the failure to stop the killing of innocents in Gaza is a ‘failure of humanity’. “It is not a failure of humanity”, said Amal. “I see humanity in you all here.”

“It is a failure of power! People power is stronger than those in power. We are the 99%. Humanity is the 99%”.

In a speech of emotion, passion and eloquence, Amal urged people to demonstrate again and again until their voices are heard.

And when others ask ‘what is the point of demonstrating? Why are you doing it?’ Amal urged people to say: “We are marching for three things. The children, the children, the children.”

John Stevenson

Two minutes silence observed in Princes Street