Why Trafalgar? #13

Posted: March 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

Rachel Harger is an activist in East London

The English translation of Tahrir is ‘liberation’, and this is one of the most inspiring things to see across the Middle East. Mass movements united, fighting for liberation from the brutal chains of an economic crisis, as well as from dictatorships which have for so long sought to divide people along lines of gender, race, class, religion and sexuality.
In 2009, the homophobic murder of Ian Baynham in Trafalgar Square sent shockwaves through the LGBT community. His murder came two weeks after Nick Griffin had cited he found, “two men kissing in public creepy” on BBC Question time. However it is not just the Nazi BNP which has sought to divide people along lines of race and sexuality amongst other things. David Cameron’s recent attack on multiculturalism, on the day of an EDL march, in Luton this year, reminds us that all political elites play the similar tactic of ‘divide and rule’. This is a tactic which has been well utilised in economic crises and one which carries a heightened threat for the most vulnerable in our societies, when used at such times. Not only does our government use such tactics but they are hammering cuts which will disproportionately affect the same people. Just one example of many is the LGBT community. Galop, PACE, Stonewall Housing, LGBT Consortium, Albert Kennedy Trust, London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, Broken Rainbow and Kairos in Soho are all LGBT organizations at risk of cuts and possible closure.
Furthermore, many of the LGBT community have experienced recent incidents of homophobia in Tower Hamlets, exploited by fascist organizations like the EDL. They, along with some journalists have wrongly cited that LGBT oppression in Tower Hamlets is caused by the presence of another oppressed group in society, Muslims. Both fail to mention or recognise the impact of public cuts on either groups. We simply cannot afford to be divided on such fictitious grounds, when our real and common enemy today is the government and its savage public cuts.
It’s on this that we can really take inspiration from Tahrir Square. The scenes of Coptic Christians protecting Muslims as they prayed, shows us it is entirely possible to be united even after the most brutal history of division.
On the 26th March let’s transform Trafalgar into our Tahrir Square. This way, we can really pay tribute to people like Ian Baynham, who have paid the ultimate cost of living in a society economically and socially divided. Whilst showing solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Tahrir Square and their continuing struggle for real liberation.
In the words of those occupying Wisconsin “Gay, straight, black, white! All unite for workers’ rights!”

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