Sunday, 25 October 2009
Video of Joe Glenton: serving soldier defies orders to speak out on Afghan war
Along with thousands of other protestors, I heard Joe Glenton make his statement in Trafalgar Square yesterday. He was instructed not to attend the demonstration by his regiment commander. He bravely ignored this demand, despite already facing a court martial, and helped lead the march. Around 10,000 people turned out yesterday, with George Galloway MP, Tariq Ali, Tony Benn, Stop the War convenor Lindsey German, rapper Lowkey and Peter Brierly (whose son died in Iraq) among the speakers.
As Andrew Murray, chair of Stop the War Coalition, said "Joe Glenton, not Sir Richard Dannatt, speaks for the people of this country". Dannatt is the former chief of defence staff who recently lobbied the government for more troops, and who the Tories have signed up as an 'adviser'. A number of other platform speakers, including Galloway, talked about why the movement must get behind Joe.
"I am here today to make a stand beside you, because I believe great wrongs have been perpetrated in Afghanistan. I cannot in good conscience be part of them. I am bound by law and moral duty to try and stop them.
I am a soldier and I belong to the profession of arms. I expected to go to war. But I also expected it would be to defend this country's interests - this nation, or the people of this nation - and it would be legal and justifiable. I don't think that's too much to ask. It is now apparent that the conflict imposed upon that nation is neither of those - and that is why I must make this stand. Thank you for coming and letting me walk around among you - and thank you for all your support."
Read an interview with Joe Glenton HERE.
UPDATE: see HERE for an excellent round-up of the media coverage of the march and rally.