Monday 23 March 2009


To ban me from the country for my views on Afghanistan is absurd, hypocritical, and in vain

The Canadian immigration minister Jason Kenney gazetted in the Sun yesterday morning that I was to be excluded from his country because of my views on Afghanistan. That's the way the rightwing, last-ditch dead-enders of Bushism in Ottawa conduct their business.

Kenney is quite a card. A quick trawl establishes he's a gay-baiter, gung-ho armchair warrior, with an odd habit of exceeding his immigration brief. Three years ago he attacked the pro-western Lebanese prime minister, Fuad Siniora, for being ungrateful to Canada for its support of Israeli bombardment of his country. Most curiously of all, in 2006 he addressed a rally of the so-called People's Mujahideen of Iran, a Waco-style cult, banned in the European Union as a terrorist organization. On one level being banned by such a man is like being told to sit up straight by the hunchback of Notre Dame or being lectured on due diligence by Conrad Black. On another, for a Scotsman to be excluded from Canada is like being turned away from the family home.

But what are my views on Afghanistan which the Canadian government does not want its people to hear? I've never been to Afghanistan, nor have I ever met a Taliban, but my first impression into the parliamentary vellum on the subject was more than two decades ago.

At the time the fathers of the Taliban were "freedom fighters", paraded at US Republican and British Tory conferences. Who knows, maybe even the Canadian right extolled these god-fearing opponents of communism. I did not, however.

On the eve of their storming of Kabul, I told Margaret Thatcher that she "had opened the gates to the barbarians" and that "a long, dark night would now descend upon the people of Afghanistan". With the same conviction, I say to the Canadian and other Nato governments today that your policy is equally a profound mistake. From time to time and with increased regularity it is a crime. Like the bombardment of wedding parties and even funerals or the presiding over a record opium crop, which under our noses finds its way coursing through the veins of young people from Nova Scotia to Newcastle upon Tyne. But it is worse than a crime, as Tallyrand said, it's a blunder.

The Afghans have never succumbed to foreign occupation, heaven knows the British empire tried, tried and failed again. Not even Alexander the Great succeeded, and whoever else he is, minister Kenney is no Alexander the Great. Young Canadian soldiers are dying in significant numbers on Afghanistan's plains. Their families are entitled to know how many of us believe this adventure to be similarly doomed and that genuine support for troops ~ British, Canadian and other ~ means bringing them home and changing course.

To ban a five-times elected British MP from addressing public events or keeping appointments with television and radio programmes is a serious matter. Kenney's "spokesman" told the Sun, "Galloway's not coming in ... end of story." Alas for him, it's not. Canada remains a free country governed by law and my friends are even now seeking a judicial review. And there are other ways I can address those Canadians who wish to hear me.

More than half a century ago Paul Robeson, one of the greatest men who ever lived, was forbidden to enter Canada not by Ottawa but by Washington, which had taken away his passport. But he was still able to transfix a vast crowd of Vancouver's mill hands and miners with a 17-minute telephone concert, culminating in a rendition of the Ballad of Joe Hill. Technology has moved on since then. And so from coast to coast, minister Kenney notwithstanding, I will be heard ~ one way or another.

George Galloway is Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow



March 21, 2009

Intellectual Protectionism

I am stunned by Canada's decision to ban George Galloway from entering the country. I have known George for too many decades to share in the hero-worship he attracts from some; but he is a truly talented speaker and debater. George was right on Iraq when so many Western politicians hid behind the coward's shield of patriotism. He is right on the disaster of Afghanistan too, the full horror of which is still unfolding. I see that three more Canadian soldiers were killed there yesterday, and nine maimed. The kind of debate George brings is urgently needed in Canada.

I was also surprised by the Canadian government spokesman's description of him as an "Infandous street corner Cromwell". Cromwell was a truly great man, a towering figure, with a driving concern for the common good. His statue stands guard outside Parliament. A peculiar comparison indeed.

Canadians should be ashamed today. George has fallen foul of the trick by the Israeli lobby of tarring everybody sympathetic to the Palestinians as a terrorist.(Dear LORD we are beyond embarrassment at this hideous situation")

There is a spirit of protectionism abroad in these troubled times ~ of intellectual protectionism. As the frailties of an economic system built upon unrestrained greed and speculation become clear, as it becomes more and more obvious that recent Western invasions of Muslim lands are a drive to corner key areas for access to increasingly scarce hydrocarbons, and as the specter of climate change looms over everything that was viewed as "Progress", governments are desperate to control the narrative their population hears.

The British government banned Geerst Wilders and several Muslim theologians. Canada is banning George Galloway, of all people. When the British banned the Dutch MEP Wilders, the Dutch government commendably supported the right to free speech in Europe and the Dutch Ambassador offered to meet him at Heathrow. The British government should make Canada know of our displeasure at the banning of someone for voicing opinions which are held by a large proportion of the British nation.

Fat chance.


This whole idiotic affair blackens our country and makes us look the fool in the international spotlight. I plan to keepmy blog up-to-date on this issue because I have also long admired Galloway as a man who for all his faults, foibles and farts, is a man of action who shames most parliamentary pansies with his derringdo, so they respond as only small men can ~ under the belt or hidden behind laws twisted to their own ends.

This Whinestein, excuse me, Mier Wienstein, member of a terrorist organization himself, is a pompous creature who has NO RIGHT to dictate policy in Canada. Four men stand behind this illegal action. Of course Hapless Stephen Harper who lets his unmanly pitbulls do this dirty work. Not to be ignored of course is Jason Kenney already on the books as all that is worst in the neocon short sighted bigoted arsenal of destructive tools.
Kenney's spokesman, the oh-so-precious sounding Alykhan Velshi, speaks with the arrogance of one who knows best for the world. And lastly, the mouthpiece, the member of a terrorist organization by all accounts, Whinestein who used his connections to set this filthy ball rolling.

Please read my previous blogs for more information on this. Thank you very much.

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