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OPINION - We've been protesting about Gaza for months and I'm tired of being ignored

 (PA)
(PA)

I’m not being funny but… we as a nation have accomplished some incredible things through protest. Whether we’re talking about the suffragettes or the gay liberation movement or our stand against fascism, it’s embedded in us to take a stand for what we feel is morally right and we continue to do so regardless of how difficult the Government has been recently trying to make it.

In recent years, we’ve seen trans+ and UK black pride demonstrations have an impact in protecting our community from people in power attempting to discreetly strip us of our rights. As recently as last weekend even, we saw thousands gather for the House Against Hate protest. When our PM himself is attempting to call everyone who protests the slaughter of the Palestinian people antisemitic, it was heart-warming to see members of the music community come together to show that those two things are not interconnected.

While there’s been a spike in antisemitic attacks because of the conflict, there’s also been a spike in anti-Muslim hate and so this was a good reminder that standing for peace is something that should never be compromised. Have we learned nothing from our elders? Kudos to R3 Soundsystem, Black Artist Database, Stand up to Racism UK, Love Music Hate Racism and Homo-Centric Records for organising this.

Since the start of the conflict, hundreds of thousands of people have marched against this war every other weekend with little coverage. The level of any protest has gone under the radar for a number of years now, whether we go back to the early days of Brexit, Covid mishandling and now this. Why is there such silence here unless violence erupts?

I’m never one for violence but France seems to be getting something right in how they take to the streets

I recall some articles from one of the earlier pro-Palestine protests because of a violent incident. The violence almost always stems from far-Right racist protesters spewing some bull about “taking their country back”. I’m glad this was reported, but the issue here is the headlines can’t contain all the content of the piece and sadly a huge number of people in this country don’t go beyond the headline.

All they see is “those protests were violent”, when that’s rarely ever the case. This then creates more hateful rhetoric around minorities that is simply unnecessary with where we’re at as a nation right now. There are a few frustrations here. For one, the police resources allocated to protests are unbelievable.

I understand the need for those resources — protests need to remain safe spaces for everyone, but when are we going to actually start prioritising dealing with real crime? Anyway, this is a very delicate topic and I’m not about to go into how police ought to be funded.

What really gets to me though is how little impact these protests are having. We have a government that doesn’t give a toss about its constituents’ issues. Instead they’re going on national TV gaslighting us.

We have protested against hate, against restricting our right to protest, against the insane cost-of-living crisis we’ve been through the past two years — and yet all that happens is we get ignored or accused by our leaders of being something we’re not. How do we get them to listen?

I’m never one for violence but, f*** me, France seems to be getting something right. We don’t hear about it so much over here but the way they take to the streets gets their government to listen.

Because of them, the French government has acted on things like helping (and I mean truly helping) with cost-of-living issues and energy prices, and the list goes on and on.

How do we find a way for our government to listen without getting to that point? I’ll do whatever I can, anyone with a voice has a responsibility to do so in my opinion — as long as what they have to say is for the benefit of the many and not of the few. Listen to us. That’s it. Just listen!

Fat Tony is a DJ and best-selling author