Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Marching in Manchester
well I did say I was gonna blog about the march, unfortunately as is the usual case with me, I forgot to take my camera, pathetic really, and I always remember it as soon as I get to my destination, what is the point, so I will put up some picture but they weren't taken by me instead I stole them from the ever wonderful internet...
it was really a hectic week before the demo, we had been franticly calling the media to inform them of this amazing demo to be held in Manchester, it was estimated that 30,000 where to attend and instead we got between 50 - 60 thousand marching the streets of Manchester.
I was at Albert Square from 8 am, I hadn't slept the night before cause I was stressing over the speech I had to do, although ever the idealist your pre-Ramadan do was a de-stressor for me so thanks a million sis, your a star.
it was only me and hana and the odd stop the war person, eventually Fatima joined us and the rest of the crew as well, we where there to hunt, that's right hunting for the media who decided to turn up around 11am so we could have had some extra sleep but oh well, well worth it inshallah.
there was some weirdos around, like in the morning an elderly man approached me and hana and started to have one of the most weridest conversations I have ever heard, I don't even know what he was mumbling, and when hana politely asked him what he said he started to copy her which I thought was hilarious, eventually he got bored of us and walked away.
there was another lady,( I stole her picture from the site you gave me anglo, thanks, curtsey of br essa's handy photography), she was walking around shouting and muttering things that didn't make sense, she attracted a lot of attention but for all the wrong reasons, people where laughing at her, at one point I heard her shout ' I'VE FIGURED IT OUT ALL BY MYSELF, THAT'S HOW CLEVER I AM' figured what out? What you talking bout woman? Then she started shouting 'BIN LADEN, BIN LADEN, BIN LADEN' for no reason what so ever..
one of the guys who was standing next to me, he was from London turns around to me and say 'white African, Manchester has a lot of weirdos, man I didn't realize how weird mancunians are'
to which I replied: ' ummm excuse me, I wil have you know that we are not weird, and to be fair any demo that is held in any city including London always brings out the weirdos, its not some thing attached to Manchester only, and I bet you she's from London (no offence to lonondoners it was just a hit back).
to which he laughed and said no way, so I turn around to a fellow mancunian and I say to him ' br come on you gotta defend your fellow mancunains, our brother from London is taking the mick out of us, he thinks were all mad'.
did I find support, umm no, my fellow mancunian who is a dr turns around and says: ' mancunians are crazy, your right, do you know how many mancunians are depressed, studies shows that in all of Britain Manchester has the highest depression rates, and continued to drone on including statistics to his speech, ugh the betrayal...
more people started coming, a thousand came from Scotland which was cool, you can always rely on the Scots. There was a rally just before the march, and my speech was due soon, my heart was pacing at like 20,000 beats per second, I swear I was so nervous, I had never spoken infront of so many people, and I hadn't practiced my speech, I kept having images of me falling of the stage although I did contemplate jumping into the crowd like they do in rock concerts now that would have been funny and something for people to talk about lol.
I remember once being told that if you ever have to do a public speech or talk in front of a crowd of people, then one way of calming the nerves is to visualize every one naked, (I know I know astghfurallah and all that, but its funny and it makes every one look ridiculous).
Salma Yaacoub introduced me and as I walked towards the microphone I kept thinking to myself, why do I put myself in such situations, how is it I find myself saying yes even though I meant to say no.
approaching the microphone and seeing all those people standing there waiting for you to say something was nerve racking, the person before me was shorter than me so somebody had to adjust the microphone height, I started my speech and had just finished the introduction when a lady taps me on my shoulder and says '1 minute left please', what??? I had prepared for like a 4 minute speech like I was told to, 1 minute?? My god, I had to skim past most of the stuff and just about mentioned the main parts, she had to tap me again to remind me.
I swear the feeling I got when I finished was like a massive weight had been lifted of my shoulders, wow.
that's when I started to enjoy the rest of the rally and the march, every one started marching around Manchester town towards the GMEX where Blair and his cronies where meeting and then marched back to Albert Square, such a colourful crowd, and the atmosphere was amazing, unfortunately I didn't march with every one as I had to sort out media interviews but I heard from so many people how brilliant it was.
there was more speeches from amazing speakers like Tonny Benn who was introduced as 'the best prime minister Britain never had'
obviously George Galloway spoke and as usual he was brilliant, Tony Blairs sister in-law also spoke and said she was ashamed to be related to him, strong words...
all in all glad I went and participated in this history making event, hope it wil be a lesson to whoever will be blair's successor.