You would think the scorching heat and fasting (as it’s Ramadan for Muslims worldwide) would have discouraged people to attend the protest. But no. Hundreds were there protesting. Why? Because the issue of Gaza is much bigger than anything any of us in the UK are facing. It was truly amazing to see so many people fighting for Palestine and fighting against what they feel has been biased coverage from the BBC.
Organised by the Blackburn group Youth on a mission, Adnan Hussain and Naz Khan presented the event outside Salford’s Media City, home to the BBC, to tell us why we were all really there. Adnan Hussain said,
“We spent the last few nights [and] days talking about Palestine and we’ve been speaking relentlessly. We left our families; we left our working places for the sake of Palestine. We hate the way the BBC has presented the situation of Palestine and that’s why we’re here. We’re against the biased media; we’re against the biased BBC. That’s the purpose and the aim of why we’re here.”
Speakers including Lauren Booth, George Galloway (via mobile), Ajmal Masroor and Mohammed Shafique attended the protest and made it very clear that everyone was there for one reason and one reason only: the freedom of Palestine. Lauren Booth addressed the crowd – and the media – directly,
“We will not stand by as our brothers and sisters in Gaza are massacred. Our message to the BBC is this: It is Ramadan, why don’t you mention that in your coverage, when the bombs are falling in Gaza?”
People from Manchester and beyond, regardless of age, race or religion, came together to fight for this one cause. It was inspiring to see so many different types of people there, each standing up for the people of Palestine. Whilst clearly angry, the demonstration was peaceful but vocal, with loud chants of,
“BBC. Shame on you.”
“Free free Palestine.“
“Gaza, Gaza, don’t you cry. We will not let you die.”
“In our millions, in our trillions. We are all Palestinian.“
It was highlighted by each speaker that this was to be a peaceful protest – so, no rioting. Also that this was not an event just for Muslims, it was a protest for all of humanity. Mohammed Shafique said,
“Brothers and sisters, friends. We’re here today for one cause only and that is the cause of Gaza. Gaza is burning as we speak. Children are being killed. And do you know what our government is doing? Issuing statements. Issuing statements in support and solidarity of the Israeli government. And let me be very clear. I do not hate Israelis. I hate the Israeli government and their killing machines.”
I don’t know if it’s because of the month of Ramadan, the apparently blatant media bias or the sheer horror that is taking place in Palestine but I’m happy that it has driven people to seek awareness and protest for the rights of the Palestinians. Maybe, one day, there will be change. Until then, we should all keep fighting to save humanity.
Free Palestine. Free Gaza.