Last night in Rome ten to fifteen thousand people marched in a candlelit procession to the Iranian embassy, to protest against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement that ‘Israel should be wiped off the map’.
Were this Monkey in Rome yesterday, he would have attended the march, albeit with an apprehension as to what one’s presence would be taken to mean. Marches are always difficult, as Three Monkeys pointed out back in April of last year. March for peace, and you’re likely to find yourself marching alongside those, who advocate fighting for peace, for example those who support Palestinian militancy & bombing civilians. March to protest against the looney tunes emanating from the Ayatollahs in Tehran, and you’ll find yourself alongside those chomping at the bit to use military force against Iran, and thus also against its citizens.
Marches are a blank slate that the professionally political amongs us, be they parliamentarians or dedicated activists, are only too willing to colour in for the rest of us.
The ever-alluring promise of media coverage, both national and international, had Minister for Reforms, Roberto Calderoli, of the Lega Nord party, eager to stand by Israel, or perhaps more correctly to denounce Iran:
“One Khomeni dies and they make another, seeing that Ahmadinejad is following in the footsteps of his master. Here the only country that needs to be un-recognised is Iran, excluding it from the international community and from every type of diplomatic relationship while a madman terrorist is in charge, that, apart from his serious declaration, is tyring to get an atomic bomb, if he hasn’t already made one. This is a danger for the world, and this affair could present the occasion to check which Islamic countries are on the good guys side, and which are the baddies”.
Calderoli – it should be remembered – had previously, while Italian hostages were held in Iraq, come up with a solution for Islamic terrorism: “You don’t deal with terrorists, you eliminate terrorists. For every day that one of our fellow countrymen is held hostage, 1000 Muslims coming from one of these so-called ‘rogue states’ should be kicked out and sent home”.
In the fevered minds of those of Calderoli’s ilk, there is no difference between the Government of Iran and its people.
I’d like to think that most people attending the march sympathised more with the words of Rome’s chief Rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni:
“We are not protesting against Iran, or against the Iranian people, whose civilisation we admire. We have observed events in their country with anxiety in recent years