Author Topic: A badge of honour to have gone to prison says soldier  (Read 2600 times)


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A badge of honour to have gone to prison says soldier
« on: August 02, 2010, 05:34:35 PM »
A badge of honour to have gone to prison says soldier

By Robin Beste
Stop the War Coalition
28 July 2010

Jeremy Corbyn MPOver 400 people packed a Stop the War meeting in London’s Conway Hall on 26 July 2010 to welcome soldier Joe Glenton on his release from prison, following his refusal to fight in Afghanistan.

The meeting could not have been more timely, coming on the day that the whistleblower Wikileaks published 91,000 secret US military documents which validated all the reasons that Joe Glenton gave for disobeying orders to deploy to a war he believed to be unjustified and unwinnable.

Tony Benn, the president of Stop the War, said, "For a soldier to agree to go to prison rather than to fight is a great tribute to him and a reminder that he made a formidable personal sacrifice."

MP Jeremy Corbyn summed up why Joe Glenton has been such an inspiration to the anti-war movement: "What we've heard tonight from Joe Glenton is a testament of decency, of humanity, of honesty, of perception of what the real causes and the real effects of this ghastly war in Afghanistan are about: Joe, we owe you a great debt of thanks."

In his speech to the meeting, Joe said: "In the current climate, I regard it as a badge of honour to have served a prison sentence.

"I've come to the conclusion that the real enemy is not the man in front who is facing your rifle, but the man directly behind and above you telling you to pull the trigger."

He added: "I really do believe that today the conditions exist for us to bring the government to heel: the wheels have truly fallen off the pro-war bandwagon."

This is reflected, as Lindsey German, national convenor of Stop the War, said in her speech, in the numbers of soldiers and their families who are now contacting Stop the War, concerned about the consequences of fighting in Afghanistan.
Yasmin Khan, from War on Want, spelt out what those consequences have been for the Afghan people, whose country is designated by the United Nations as the world's poorest. War, she said, does not bring development, as the government claims: "You can't get development and security by dropping bombs. This war is wrong and unjust, it needs to end now."

The determination of people attending the meeting to help raise the profile of the anti-war campaign was seen in the bundles of leaflets they took away for the national Time To Go demonstration on 20 November – 15,000 in total taken for distribution to their friends, work colleagues, fellow students etc.

Another indication was the tremendous collection at the end of the meeting, with £1,200 donated towards Stop the War's current £10,000 financial appeal to help fund the intensification of our campaigning in the autumn.

Hundreds of people signed up to be actively involved in our campaigns, in recognition that the anti-war movement has a central part to play in helping to bring to an end a war which is opposed by 83 percent of the British public.

As Mark Steel said in the meeting, "We must keep campaigning against the war, firstly because that's the right thing to do, and also because we are, bit by bit, making a huge difference."

As well as the 20 November national demonstration, upcoming events include a protest and lobbying of parliament on 9 September, when MPs will debate and vote for the first time on the Afghanistan war, a Students Against the War conference, a debate between leading pro-war and anti-war advocates, and the organising of local meetings across the country.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 10:26:16 PM by nestopwar »