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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 May, 2003, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
My War: Anti-war campaigner
Lindsey German
Lindsey German says the campaign will continue

Lindsey German is the national organiser for the Stop the War Coalition. She explains the frustrations of watching the conflict unfold.

We wanted to stop the war from happening in the first place, so when it broke out I felt very, very angry and frustrated.

I felt we came very close to stopping the war before it started and there was a tremendous sense of disappointment that we hadn't.

But I also felt very encouraged, even then, that there was a very large body of opinion in this country that was against the war.

There was also real anger that the government was going ahead despite majority public opinion against going to war before it happened - despite the fact that we'd had record demonstrations - two million people on 15 February for example.

'Very honest'

We did continue to campaign during the war.

I know some people think it's not patriotic and that you should keep quiet when a war is going on.

We all felt that the day war started the media just closed down on us

I think it's precisely when a war is going on that you have to be very, very honest to everybody, including the soldiers fighting the war, and say, 'you're not doing this in the name of many, many people in this country'.

Throughout the war, my feelings were that this was a completely unnecessary and senseless conflict, and watching it in the media only confirmed to me how right we were to oppose it in the first place.

Media opposition?

The coverage of the anti-war movement once the war started however, was absolutely minimal.

There was less coverage on the BBC than on the American networks even.

We all felt that the day war started the media just closed down on us.

But I believe that our continued campaigning was important in terms of the conduct of the war.

For example, when we heard British soldiers talking about how they treated the Iraqi POWs more humanely than the Americans soldiers, I think that had something to do with the fact that they knew public opinion was not solidly behind them.

We got some criticism of course, but we found many more people were coming up and saying 'you've done the right thing, thank you for doing this, we think it's so important that people in the Middle East know that we're speaking out'.

Widespread support

We also had a number of families with troops out there and troops themselves who have contacted us and said 'we're not happy about this war, we don't want to be there'.

We want to campaign for an end to the occupation and for the right of the Iraqi people to decide for themselves what sort of government they want

I think that the best thing we could do to back our troops up, is to bring them home. They've got no right to be in Iraq.

They are doing no good and it's absolutely clear now that the local population feel a lot of animosity towards them.

As for the future, we get phone calls all the time from people asking when the next demonstration is and very soon we're holding a meeting to discuss exactly what we're going to do next.

There are two main areas we will be looking at.

We want to campaign for an end to the occupation and for the right of the Iraqi people to decide for themselves what sort of government they want, and how they want to live.

Plus we're also determined to make sure there are no further attacks - on countries like Syria or Iran for example.

The campaign is by no means over.




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