At Tony Blair's book launch in Dublin, we were given a preview of what was to come when hundreds of protesters turned up calling for justice. Eggs, shoes, flip-flops and other assorted footwear were thrown in his direction and one protester attempted a citizens arrest. You could say he was given the boot.
So Tony cancelled his book signing at Water stones in London, no doubt fearing a worse reception.
A part of the London protest was directed at Waterstones as a company (led by the writer Ian Banks), for offering to help Blair out - and as well as the crowd willing to show disapproval by peaceful demonstration, the rather creative face book page that was recommending people move his book from the autobiography section to elsewhere, had 8000 willing participants last I heard.
'A Journey' found it's way into such sections as 'crime' or 'fantasy and horror' in book shops across Britain.
When Blair announced that he was cancelling his book signing at Waterstones, he also announced that instead, he would be having a 'party' to celebrate his book – at the Tate Modern, later in the day.
Immediately, the writer Ian Banks was relieved, by none other than the artist Tracy Emin, who joined the protest at the Tate's willingness to pick up where Waterstones had left off. A case of out of the frying pan and into the fire, me thinks. (I know which of the two I would rather not have to deal with in Tony's shoes). Not only that, but art students and activists declared they would be holding a mass 'art' demonstration outside the Tate, including a gathering of national Blair Heads, complete with blood stained hands.
Remember the dead soldier's dad Peter Brierley who refused to shake Blair's hand, saying,'"Don't you dare. You have my son's blood on your hands."
I do. And so do many.
Anyway, it looked like Tony might end up making an 'exhibition' of himself at the Tate...
So he cancelled his 'party'.
Of course he says he didn't cancel for himself but for non-political guests who might be 'frightened' by the demo. He says he cancelled to save the police the trouble. He says he cancelled so as not to disturb the public. In fact, he says he cancelled for a lot of reasons, but me, I think it was because of Tracy....
"My aim is still, that one day we will see Tony Blair in court for the crimes he committed.”
-Peter Brierley, whose son was killed in Iraq
“I still hold him responsible for the death of my son.”
-Rose Gentle, whose son was killed in Iraq
“ ... the people of that unhappy land have lost everything — their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women's rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives ...
More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile ... The air, soil, water, blood and genes drenched with depleted uranium ... the most awful birth defects ... unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children to pick them up ... a river of blood runs alongside the Euphrates and Tigris ... through a country that may never be put back together again."
"You've got to put in prison those who deserve to be there"
-Tony Blair, 6 September 2010
“On tour, you try to shove feelings of doubt to one side. But one day a comrade said, "Why are we here?" and the question hung around. Nobody seemed to know. I suppose all young soldiers are naive. The culture of the army is obedience, and you believe your government has your best interests at heart.
But when I returned home after seven months, I was determined not to be blind any more. I read about the history of the conflict and began to realise I had been duped. This wasn't a war about liberation, it was about strategic influence; about economics and mineral wealth.”
Joe Glenton – war veteran and one of 11,000 British troops who have gone AWOL since 2003