Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

2 March 2002: Stop the War, Hands off Iraq

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

Back in 2002, protests were still in black and white – or rather I was still using film for my photographs and the library I was putting pictures into was still only taking colour pictures as transparencies – something I had given up taking seventeen years earlier as I found colour negative far better to work with.

For the huge Stop The War protest on March 2nd, 2002 against the war in Afghanistan and the forthcoming invasion of Iraq I was actually working with three cameras, one with black and white film, a second with colour negative and the third a panoramic camera also loaded with colour negative film. Although I contact printed the developed films from all three, it was only selected images from the black and white work that was printed and went to the library.

Some day I hope to get around to printing some selected images from the seven or eight colour films I exposed on that day, but at the time I had no particular incentive to do so. It was difficult for me to use colour even on the web site, as my flatbed scanner at that time was a monochrome only scanner – and all the pictures on My London Diary from this event are black and white scans from the black and white prints I made to send to the library.

There are a few colour pictures from this era on my web sites, mainly those taken on a pocket-sized 2Mp digital camera I had begun to use as a notebook a year or two earlier, but the images were generally unsuitable for publication. Prints from them at much more than postcard size were poor quality.

Around this time I did get my first film scanner, but it was very slow to use and the quality wasn’t great. And at the end of 2002 I began using my first DSLR, the 6Mp Nikon D100, and soon began submitting digital images to agencies that would handle digital work.

Newspaper reports at the time rather followed the police in giving figures of 10-15,000 people at the protest, though I think the true number was at least twice this. As I reported, “people were still leaving hyde park at the start of the march when trafalgar square was full to overflowing two and a half hours later.” It takes more than 15,000 to fill Trafalgar Square and the tailback over the 2 mile route adds considerably to that number.

As I wrote back then:

police estimates of the number were risible as usual – and can only reflect an attempt to marginalise the significant body of opinion opposed to the war or a complete mathematical inability on behalf of the police.

In my comments I also quote Tony Benn telling us photographers at the start of the march that it wasn’t worth us taking his picture, “it won’t get in the papers unless i go and kick a policeman” and he was quite right. They didn’t report his speech either, in which he said that for the first time in his life he though the situation was so desperate that he was advocating non-violent resistance, calling for everyone to stop work for an hour at the moment the bombing begins. “Stop the buses. Stop the trains. Stop the schools. It’s all very well going to Downing Street, I’ve spent half my life at Downing Street, in, outside Downing Street. It has to be more than that, its got to be something we take up in every town and village.” This he said would get the debate going. His speech received a huge reception from the crowd.

It was hardly a very radical suggestion – and after the bombing started it would have been too late. But had ‘Stop The War’ called for similar action before the parliamentary debate – and not just another A to B march planned months in advance – it might have made a difference. The message that this was simply a war for control of oil resources and would be a disaster for the region was getting through – and there were regular protests in towns and villages across the nation, including in the true-blue town where I live, and more radical actions could have prevented the UK joining in the US action.

More at http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2002/03/mar.htm


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.