The bitter election battle in the East End has spilled into violence, with extremist Muslims and anti-war protesters targeting George Galloway and Oona King.
Anti-war campaigner Mr Galloway was forced to take refuge from Islamic militants who denounced him as a “false prophet”. The former Labour MP said “the police saved my life” after supporters of radical group Hizb-Ut-Tahrir clashed with members of his Respect party last night.
Labour’s Ms King had her car tyres slashed and the vehicle was pelted with eggs by a gang of youths angry at her support for the Iraq war. Both incidents triggered fears for the safety of Mr Galloway and Ms King as they prepared for a stormy hustings meeting in Bethnal Green and Bow tonight. ...
Mr Galloway was electioneering on the Osier council estate in Bethnal Green last night when a gang of 30 Muslim fundamentalists, who claim voting is un-Islamic, surrounded him and his supporters.
The men said they were angry at Mr Galloway’s attempt to woo Muslim voters. They said they were “setting up the gallows” for him and warned any Muslim who voted for his anti-war Respect party that they faced a “sentence of death”.
After a fight broke out between the two groups, police were called and Mr Galloway was forced to hide in his car in an alley until the violence calmed down. Two men were later arrested.
Speaking to the Standard minutes after the attack, Mr Galloway said it was clear the men were worried that he could become MP for an area with a large Muslim population.
Source: This Is London (via LGF).
A loyal fan of Ward Churchill, Emily at Strangechord heard Churchill speak at Reed College recently and had the following observations:
The Q&A afterwards was really wild... The lineup for the mic was about 90% young, white guys and most of them asked questions that revealed a complete blind spot as far as their privilege was concerned. If they weren't being ethnocentric and even racist, they were being painfully and irrelevantly intellectual in the phrasing of their questions (like the student who asked Churchill about the "distinction between theory and practice" and found a way to work Homer into his question). I mean, what the hell?
It was horrendous. For example, one guy asked whether it was still relevant and fair for the U.S. government to have to honor land treaties with Indians that the gov't broke since "most Indians on reservations have more European blood than native blood these days". Another guy started off with the phrase, "I have a few Navajo friends..." and went on to ask how best to deal with the "immense loss of culture Native Americans have undergone". Mind you, this was coming from a 20-year old, rich-looking white student. Another asked in a whining voice what white people like himself were going to do if Indians were decolonized as Churchill suggested - "if they get their land back, where are we supposed to go?"
Churchill didn't mince words with these people at all; he was justifiably cutting and precise in his replies and the students would walk furiously away from the mic, shaking their heads, and grabbing their friends for the door. They couldn't stand to listen to someone who didn't coddle them.
Read the full post at the link.
Meanwhile, Galloway finds himself unwilling to confront Salam Pax in a debate:
The "Baghdad blogger" was at the event to make a film for Newsnight, and he managed to snatch a brief interview with Mr Galloway before the Respect candidate dashed off to his meeting with the lawyers.
"I know who you are," said Mr Galloway, warily eyeing Mr Pax, whose weblog gave the world an insight into the lives of ordinary Iraqis in the run-up to the US-led invasion.
Mr Pax wanted to know why Mr Galloway wanted the immediate withdrawal of occupying troops from Iraq.
"I really don't think we are going to agree on this. You supported the war and I opposed it," said Mr Galloway.
"You welcomed the invasion of foreign armies into your country. I opposed it. So we are not going to agree on this, which is why I didn't think it would be productive to have a discussion with you and I do have to go now."
But Mr Pax - whose real name has never been revealed - pressed the point.
Galloway: "I just want to be honest with you. You can not demand that our armed forces occupy your country - that's a matter for us.
"It's not a matter for you - it's a matter for us. Now I think there are millions of people in this country who think the war was illegal, was wrong shouldn't have happened and should be immediately withdrawn from. We are entitled to that point of view and we are."
Mr Pax "shouldn't have supported" the war in the first place, added Mr Galloway.
But Mr Pax countered that would be tantamount to supporting the continuation of a regime like Saddam's.
Galloway: "We are not going to agree on this. You are a supporter of the war. You are a supporter of the occupation and I am an opponent. Your family joined the puppet government."
Pax: "We are helping to build the new Iraq."
Galloway: "That's your point of view, it's not our point of view and you are entitled to your opinion, and I welcome you to London, and I am entitled to mine - and let's see what the British people think."
And with that, Mr Galloway really was gone.