NOT the cast of Glee.
While my immediate world is occupying most of my time, I still try to keep across what's happening in other areas. With the recent situation with the so-called Freedom Flotilla (the one where the peaceful protesters attempted to murder Israeli commandos), there is the usual carrying on about how Evil Israel is and Jews Are.
Accordingly, I figured there would be yet another display of chest beating and berating in Town, and I was right. MuslimVillage to the rescue. It's worth reading the thread for the comments more than anything else, particularly this gem:
**PLEASE BRING PALESTINIAN FLAGS, BANNERS, POSTERS**
Only my thought....but the above is never a good look and just causes a loss of support from the average person in the street. This isn't Palestine. It's much better IMO to fly Australian flags when protesting against something whilst on Australian soil.
Just my 2 cents.[emphasis added]
The idea that upsetting regular (read, non-leftarded, non-muslim, Aussies) might not be a good thing shows that over the last couple of years there are a few more of these Aussies getting pissed off.
We now need to make sure our presentations are kept on topic, and not derailed.
It was interested to note that for such a small turnout, relatively speaking, there were a few Australian flags there. Of course, in a sea of Turkish flags, with a couple of Hezbo flags and plenty of Palestine flags, they didn't do much good in the pr department.
Now my impressions...
Here outside the State Library in Swanston Street, the weather kept a lot away, so the turn out wasn't as large as the 4-5000 predicted, and there was a much larger police presence.
The police started arriving in numbers from about half an hour before the advertised start time of 2pm, and I did have a chat to a couple of them. They were polite and approachable, and didn't get offended at my comment about coming along to watch the rabble.
I met up with a couple of mates who contribute to the Australian Islamist Monitor, and one of them can get a bit ranty at times. He didn't get hit, though, which is a good thing.
I do believe the rainy weather put a damper on the aggro, since there was no sense of overt menace like there was when I went to the demo in Jan 09. It probably helped that I kept my mouth shut and smiled at people. I was quite open about taking photos, and wandered freely.
The signs were rather tame, although there were the usual misspellings,
appalling grammar attacks,
and visitations from car dealerships.
And, yes, to remind us to keep on topic, there was even a replica boat.
There was the usual assortment of speeches, from Green MPs, Trades Hall morons who declare that what Gaza needs (apart from No Jews) is help from the unions. That got a cheer, but I suspect that there were a few non-english speakers in the crowd who didn't quite get that bit.
Sheikh Fehmi, one of Victoria's very own go-to guys for the islam perspective spoke also. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention as I was busy wending my way through the crowd.
Interestingly enough, there was a call for 1 minute's silence, which never made it anywhere near a minute. After quiet fell, there was a request to express the rage about Israel's atrocities in boarding the Mavi Marmara. That, of course, was an excuse for a 45 second hate that Orwell would have been proud of.
After the talking was done outside the Library there was a march along Swanston Street, then up Bourke Street, to the other usual gathering place on the steps of the
There were more speeches, more chants, the usual rants about wanting a free Palestine, Israel out, that sort of thing. It truly does get boring after a while, and I'm amazed at the patience of the police who have to tolerate it. I can walk away any time, and my companions and I didn't actually rush to follow the rabble up to the
Back amongst the crowd, though, there was some interesting hectoring going on. I took some video with my camera - more for the audio than any great pictures, since I wanted to capture the usual allahu akhbar that appears at these things.
My favourite was the young woman who first labelled herself as a "Palestinian", and then went on to tell us how her family were kicked out of Jordan in 1967 and hadn't been able to find their way back home.(link to my vid.)
She then went on to demand that "our government" expel the Israeli ambassador, and show "our true Australian values."
Her irony meter seems to be a bit rusty.
There were quite a few ageing hippies, and plenty of socialists hanging around, not having lives to go to, I guess.
And there were plenty of muslims. The girls in hijabs with beautifully made up faces and tight, tight, jeans amused me as always - not real modest there, of course, but as an infidel whore, what would I know?
Last but note least, my favourite sign of the day:
Timing is everything.
These guys came along just as the procession left the Library, and I reckon that's a sign I can get behind.
[edited to amend Town Hall to Parliament House, with thanks to the pedantic anon in comments.]