I didn't include this bit of the story in my blog from Saturday, as I didn't feel it mattered overall. Whole Sunday however, I have been involved in discussions about what happened during the March for Gaza in Cardiff. Discussions rather frustrating. There were plenty of voices using the incident at Mill Lane for their personal crusade against Muslims and emigrants in general. Some also called the march a 'Muslim protest'. In my opinion such statements are a showcase of the ignorance of their authors. All of the above, along with articles and images (which I could compare with my memories) printed in today's newspapers are the reasons for which I decided to write this post.
But before I'll get on with it, I would like to remind everybody, why the march happened and why I marched in opposition to the slaughter of Palestine. Please take time to watch this video.
MEMORY VERSUS FOOTAGE.
I wrote my Saturday's blog as soon as it was possible after my return home from the march. I wrote about how I felt about it at the time, but consciously I decided not to include the fact that I was actually in the middle of and get involved in the event which took place at Mill Lane. Surprisingly (or not) the images and videos which emerged afterward compared with memories helped me to clarify (to myself) what really happened. But let me start from the beginning:
This is what I remember: I didn't see how it started. I saw some movement from a short distance. I had a camera in my hand, but I wasn't there to document anything. I went to the march because I believe and stand by what the march was organised for and while marching to practice the use of flash. As soon as I saw the brawl I quickly moved forward, at that time I actually thought I will take pictures. I remember getting on the pavement by the sitting area of bars and looking towards protesters. I have resigned quickly from taking images because it was looking pretty nasty and I was hating the fact that someone managed to start the aggression during the peaceful march. I remember jumping over the fence and trying to stop someone from shooting the glass towards the seating area. When I jumped over I went in the middle, between fighting groups and I started to shout 'STOP IT, STOP IT' with my hands up. I remember halting few people from getting on the other side of the fence. It was really intense, but I was determined and gave my all to help to stop the fight. There was no Police around at all. I remember one of the leaders. He was also shouting 'STOP', but as I was facing the 'marchers', he was facing the people from Mill Lane. At some point I've turned around and I saw Jeffrey Hurford from Socialist Worker Party, on the other side of the fence he was trying to calm the situation down. I thought he just 'arrived' at the scene and joined us to stop the brawl. When everything calmed down, I moved with other marchers towards the Heyes. I remember turning around and snapping a pic of the broken glass and chairs.
This is what I have seen after:
I was stunned after watching this video. When I saw the guy going on rampage, throwing the chairs and tables around, I couldn't believe it. I don't remember it to be happening at all... The video taught me as well, that mentioned before Jeffrey Hurford didn't appear at the place in the end of the situation (as I remembered), but he was there and he tried to stop the brawl from the very beginning. I have to give him my respect for that.
I was also looking for myself in the video. I appear on the screen (in 1:19 minute) between Jeffrey Hurford (the guy in grey hair and white t-shirt) and the umbrella. I wear a grey t-shirt.
Later the images appeared on WalesOnline. There is this massive picture (taken from the video I guess) of the guy holding a table just before he throw it at people. I was looking at it and it was really mad. It wasn't until today morning when my sister called me to tell me I am on the picture that is printed on the front page of a newspaper today. As I've already bought and read both ECHO and Western Mail, I asked 'Which one?' she said 'in ECHO'. So I looked at it again, and there I was. On the 'table' picture in the top right corner. I seem to be rushing towards the fight. I was surprised looking at it. I think I haven't seen myself on it before, simply because I didn't expect myself to be there... I can't recollect this scene at all. On the picture however it appears that I actually look straight at it... This is how the memory works... And this is where the power of pictures and images comes to play (here mixed with memories).
OK, but what's the point?
When I left the march and when I have written my yesterday's blog, I thought I know a lot about what happened at Mill Lane. In the end I was there, in the middle of it all, and there is no way anyone can be more specific about a situation than it's witness. I still agree with my statement, but I have to admit, that the recordings which emerged later on, helped to clarify, in my mind what really happened that day.
As I mentioned I haven't seen who started the fight. I've only heard that it was someone who was drinking at Mill Lane. Today another video emerged, which actually confirms that. Check for yourselves (start at 2:20 minutes):
As much as I believe that if not for the racists, there would be no incident at all. I have to admit that the guy who thrown the table was completely out of order. I'm pretty sure, he is one of the people who will soon have a visit from the Police at home. That is if he didn't have already.
I've read time and time again from people who wasn't there and who saw the videos and photos that 'obviously it wasn't a march for peace'. Well, it was. There was no Police around but we actually managed to stop the violence by ourselves in a very short time. If it wasn't for peace, and there wasn't people who stopped the fighting it could end pretty bad with injuries on both sides.
I've read today, the Police is defending their way of policing the march... Come one. You failed. I didn't see Police at all. There is no presence of the Police at videos as well. apart from their signal sounding at some point...
The whole Mill Lane incident didn't take longer then 5 minutes. It is unfair to judge the march by it. There were about 3000 people (of all ethnicities and religions) marching for PEACE IN PALESTINE and only a small group of them was provoked to violent action. The action which didn't have anything to do with the theme of the march. It was started by racists and was of racist nature. There was enough good willing people within us to stop the trouble.
Overall the march was a great success. The case we marched for is of the highest importance.
STOP THE SLAUGHTER OF PALESTINE!