In an article in the current issue of Tribune, headed “Free speech is under attack – even from the Left”, Peter Tatchell accuses National Assembly Against Racism chair Lee Jasper of smearing him in a letter to the magazine.
Defending his decision to speak at the “March for Free Expression” rally in Trafalgar Square on 25 March, Tatchell claims, yet again, that “there was no visible BNP presence at the rally. No Union Jack flags. No leaflets or placards attacking Muslims or promoting fascist ideas”.
Reading Tatchell’s denials, you’re reminded of the Vatican scholar in Brecht’s play who, invited by Galileo to observe the movement of the planets through his telescope, shakes his head obstinately and refuses to look. And Tatchell pretends to be a defender of Enlightenment values!
See here for pictures of fascists with Union Jack flags at the Trafalgar Square rally. The literature they are holding is the pamphlet produced by the BNP’s front organisation, Civil Liberty, which was openly distributed to the demonstrators by BNP activists without any interference by the stewards.
Placards featuring reproductions of two of the most blatantly racist of the Danish cartoons – one of the Prophet with a bomb as a turban and another of the Prophet threateningly wielding a large knife with two terrified-looking veiled women cowering behind him – were enthusiastically displayed by the protestors. The latter cartoon was accompanied by the slogan “Religion – hands off women’s life”, implying that the oppression of women is intrinsic to Islam, which of course is precisely the message the caricature sought to convey.
The placards had been brought to the demonstration not by fascists but by Tatchell’s allies in the Worker Communist Party of Iran, whose platform speaker Maryam Namazie provocatively brandished these racist caricatures and urged the crowd to pass them around and do likewise. They were only too happy to oblige.