Originally published on 23/05/21 ---------------------------------
It was Sunday 16th of May, and thousands had assembled to march through the city of Glasgow, all the way to the BBC Scotland building. They came to protest against Israel and the actions of its government toward the Palestinian people. 
I arrived at George Square, pulled out my camera and began to weave my way through the flags, signs and coloured-smoke. Flailing limbs at my peripherals made me duck and dive, pushing through the sea of woven scarves and henna covered hands. Everyone was shouting, crying out chants for their besieged homeland: “Vive Vive, Palestine!”
Quickly, the powerful assembly began to move in unison. The march slithered its enormous mass through the streets, blocking entire avenues and causing endless traffic jams. At the head of the column, I spoke with one of the members of the Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA), who appeared to be guiding the protesters throughout the event. He shared his thoughts with a clear sense of anguish: 
“There’s 12,000 people here today showing support for Palestine. The killing has to end. The land needs to be given back.” He spoke of the hypocrisy of Western nations: “They preach about self-determination, but won’t afford Muslim countries the same privileges. The USA, UK, even the United Nations! They’ve all failed in their responsibility to protect Palestinians and properly sanction Israel for its war crimes. There is a clear religious bias. They did the same with Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria. All Muslim countries.”
I asked what he would like to see happen next. How will the necessary changes happen?
“We need more people to care. People will make the change.” 
I thought of the city we were in, of how “People Make Glasgow.'' The crowd reminded me of those I would expect to see at a Scottish Independence march. There were the usual suspects: students, activists, members of various left-leaning communities with a penchant for anti-establishment activity. More significantly, the Islamic community in Glasgow had been brought together in a thunderous chorus of religious unison. There were flags from a variety of North African and Middle-Eastern countries on show. But the greatest unity I saw came from the overwhelming sense of Scottish Nationalism binding each of the parties together. Saltires drifted proudly among an orchard of green, red and black. There wasn’t a Union-Jack to be seen for miles. 
I was among a handful of photojournalists on the scene. As the march went on towards the BBC, it became apparent that there would not be very much media coverage of the event. I know this because I was constantly getting first-hand shots of events I still have not heard a word about in the papers. I was there, at the front of the march, when the police attempted to arrest the chief-organiser, on the grounds of some alleged assault. 
“Press!” he called from behind a van where they had taken him to be out of sight, “They’re arresting me. I’m being arrested!” He had about 4 officers bearing down on him, grabbing at him from all angles. He made no attempt to resist, and from what I had seen of him throughout the march up until then, the assault allegations seemed far-fetched. It felt like an attempt to cut off the head of the snake, hoping to deal a deadly blow to the protest. While I filmed them attempting the arrest, a man came over from the front of the march and warned the police that if they attempted to remove this man by force, that there would be 12,000 people prepared to stop them. “Let him go. I’m telling you this for your safety,” he told them plainly. Indeed they did, and returned the man to a cheering crowd, further empowered by the poorly-executed manoeuvre. No more arrests were attempted after that. People Make Glasgow.
As seems to be the case whenever something big and important happens, the BBC refuses to cover it. The British Broadcasting Corporation, very aptly named, is not an institution which can claim to uphold the values of proper journalism. The day after the march, the BBC released one of the most blatantly disingenuous articles I have ever seen. The article itself contained no mention of the march, choosing instead to focus only on the “hundreds” that gathered in George Square. The article was sterile and devoid of any narrative, as though somebody had painstakingly typed out each sentence to make it as brief and soulless as possible. The BBC are effectively a mouthpiece for Downing Street, and betray any illusion of a ‘free press’ in favour of a ‘press for hire.’ There are those who still want to believe that the BBC remains on the side of the people. But when the people spoke, it did not lend its resources toward furthering the dialogue. Instead, it dismissed them, contriving a weak, condescending, and purposely misleading article to downplay the state of affairs in its own backyard. 
The march did not go to Holyrood, because it is patently obvious that the Scottish government does not share the responsibility of the UK government's actions in regards to Palestine. ScotGov have even gone as far as to express support for Palestine, while the UK government remains chillingly distant. The divide between what is British and what is Scottish has never been more visible, and if 12,000 members and friends of the Muslim community in Glasgow recognise this, it speaks volumes that the UK government continues to push the increasingly feeble notion that we are “better off together.” Through their inaction and covert support of Israel, the UK government have successfully alienated a large portion of the Islamic community. The sentiment among those present at the march seemed to be that when the time came for a new referendum, they would be siding with Scotland. 
Reading through several statements given by the UK Government, it is clear that they refuse to portray the “conflict” for what it really is. They liberally condemn Hamas for its use of rockets against Israeli civilians, while saying nothing of the years of ethnic cleansing committed by Israeli troops against Palestinians. They explicitly outline Israel's right to defend itself against terrorist action, and say nothing of its ongoing apartheid culture and large-scale invasion of Palestine. The depth of moral corruption currently being witnessed from the UK Government is not just an international socio-political catastrophe, it’s also a clear indication that the elected representatives have gone beyond the will of the people, and are acting purely on the basis of their own economic interest. What hubris could empower them to ignore the deaths of over 230 Palestinians, as compared with 12 Israelis, and still paint this as a “cycle of violence.” The language, attitude, and use of tactical media coverage depicts the UK not as a shining beacon of democracy, but rather a dark and gruesome monster, quietly war-mongering to feed its own appetite, or perhaps just its ego.
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