“When opinions crowd and confusion prevails, set your sight on the course taken by the masses, for that is where the future lies.” — Wadah Khanfar, the Director General of Al Jazeera
Our practice must be consistent with our ideas — solidarity with the uprisings in the Arab world should mean what it says.
The poster makes no mention of the uprising in Iraq which has been going for a long time with over a million people dying as a result of the occupation… if people in Australia are unaware of current developments in Iraq see Mass demonstrations in Iraq against the occupation and refer to Iraqi Beacon (mainly in arabic but some english translation).
The Iraqi revolt has serious lessons for the people in solidarity with Libyan people i.e. the western media are not to be trusted. Obama (the US administration) is not to be trusted (see video below).
There is a call for mass demonstrations throughout Iraq on Friday 4th March on the same day as the rally advertised below.
To exclude Iraq from the poster is to misunderstand what is happening in the Middle East. Also there is no mention of the uprising in Oman or Morrocco.
The poster implies Iran is part of the Arab world, this is incorrect — history, language and culture is different.
Of course Islam is one shared religion across the middle-east.
The Arab revolt will support the people of Iran in their opposition to the dictatorship.
Artwork is important. Last Friday’s Solidarity Rally was advertised using a poster with a face painted using the symbol of the Libyan Royal family – this is the symbol of Italian colonial occupation. Do we support that? – of course not.
Surely the organisers of these rallies do not wish to exclude Iraq or Iran from the poster? The artist was mistaken to include Iran in the Arab world, True. But this does not mean that the Arab world will not support the popular uprising in Iran. They will.
As you can see, these are not matters of ‘art’ or convenience they are symbols that matter to people. The crescent moon and star is used to symbolise Islam even though it may have been borrowed from the symbol of the Carthaginian goddess, Tanit or the Greek goddess, Diana. The symbol was used also by the Ottomans.
For those that are not aware, the colours red, black and white which you see in many of the flags of the region – in the Palestinian, Lebanese and Egyptian flags – they are the colours of the resistance against the Ottoman Empire.
It is too late to change the posters and flyers put out — they are not really the issue — the issue is that theory and practice should conform – we do not sacrifice one for the other, we practice what we say.
I strongly recommend to the organisers and speakers at these rallies to seek and accept more input and participation and to build a critical perspective in the movement, this is so important in building solidarity with uprisings in the Arab world. Organisation should not fall on the same few people everytime — other people put up ideas but it is important to follow through and reflect those ideas in practice.
If we fail to get our ideas clear and to practice them this is what results— this shameful speech by Obama. How can anyone support this?
1 March 2011