Friday 7 August 2009

Payande Iran! (Viva / Long Live Iran): Iranian Protests in London in support of the protestors in Iran.

(An account of a demonstration outside the Iranian Embassy In London, August 6th, 2009 in very heavy rain, with comments on the Iranian Election of 2009 and introducing the green movement / Sabz here in London.)

I remembered, last night, why it was that God created the Victoria Line. It is there not to punish commuters on exceptionally hot days, of which, let’s face it, there are relatively few in London, rather it is there to dry out soaking wet demonstrators. We could consider it London Transport’s contribution to participatory democracy. Or we could just consider it a giant mobile drying machine – one which was particularly welcome at 9.30 pm on Thursday August 6th, the first day of the second phase of demonstrations, actions and, which is most important, movement-building for ‘jonbesh e sabz e Landan’ or London’s Green Movement supporting the protestors in Iran.

We arrived outside the Iranian Embassy, Princes Gate, London, at 6.00pm. A hot airless day produced a sudden stream of cool air and small spitting raindrops. By 6.20 it gushed and verily it continued to gush, torrentially and relentlessly, yeay unto the very last minute of our demonstrating and lo the mighty torrent rushing in the road did swell and roar and threaten to carry off our flags and banners – to say nothing of the long-suffering police sent to keep an eye on us. It takes a good deal more than that, however, to silence the voices of distraught and angry Iranians. Undaunted by somewhat inhospitable English weather, they gathered, as they have done, day in, day out, since June 13th, the day after the fraudulent elections, and howled their disapproval and fury at the Embassy.

I have not witnessed all of them, although I well remember the arrival of all the images of Neda Agha Soltani at the demo on Sunday the 21st of June, the day after she had been shot dead by the Basiji in Tehran. The daily gatherings of thousands of Iranians outside the Embassy continued until, at the request of the police, it was reduced to twice weekly, Thursdays and Sundays. We added different venues on different days. We went and hurled invective at Press TV, one of George Galloway’s little hang outs, on Mondays, and we’re still trying to get at the Russian Embassy, only they’re probably all too busy having punch-ups with grizzly bears to notice us. This week we gathered Monday and Wednesday to protest the inauguration and reinstating of Ahmedinejad as president. This evening, Friday, they will gather outside the Islamic Centre in Kilburn to mourn the murdered and to demand the justice for the detained and disappeared. We shall be doing the same on Sunday and Thursdays and Sundays hereafter outside the Embassy, until the police ask us to move on or until the cracks in the regime finally split.

Ahmedinajad is not the elected the president of Iran. The election was a grotesque travesty of democratic process, an obscene charade, as are the carnival of show trials now in process. It can rain all it likes. The Victoria Line will still be there to dry us out and we shall continue to get soaked.