Where were you on 2.15.03?
By Mike Ferner
On that day, for thefirst time in human history, people of every nation on earth said “NO” to a war before it began.
By the 10’s of millions, starting in New Zealand and Australia and sweeping westward over the globe for 24 hours, peoplepoured into streets and public places to shout with one voice, “NO WAR ON IRAQ!”
In the face of this overwhelming, universal cry for peace, the US and UK repeatedly lied and invaded Iraq, which says all that needs saying about the supposed “democracies” we live in. Even the staid New York Times was moved to admit that “there may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion.”
If you were part of that earth-shaking cry for peace, you can remember the exquisite, breathtaking feeling of being part of something our species had never done before.
As long as we remember the power we exercised on that day it will be ours to use whenever we call it forward, as the Occupy movement did most recently.
Here are some images to remind us of what we accomplished when we united on February 15, 2003.
Mario Tama / Getty Images
Thousands of protesters gathered for an antiwar demonstration Feb. 15, 2003, in New York City. The rally coincided with peace demonstrations around the world.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
The February 15, 2003 anti-war protest in London.
protesters in front of Complexe Guy-Favreau in Montreal
The Stop the War protest in London, February 2003. Photograph: Dan Chung
Barcelona: credit - www.punchdown.org
Lahore, Pakistan: credit - www.punchdown.org
Rome AP Photo/Plinio Lepri
Protesters fill St. John Lateran square during an antiwar rally in Rome on Feb. 15, 2003. An estimated 3 million participants turned out for the event.
Melbourne. Photo: Shannon Morriss
Johannesburg, South Africa.
BBC Monday, 17 February, 2003
Auckland, New Zealand
Baghdad photo by Mike Ferner
On February 15, millions of people protested, in approximately 800 cities around the world. Listed by the 2004 Guinness Book of Records as the largest protest in human history, protests occurred among others in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Republic of Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Syria, India, Russia, South Korea, Japan, and even McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Perhaps the largest demonstration this day occurred in London, with up to one million protestors gathering in Hyde Park; speakers included the Reverend Jesse Jackson, London mayor Ken Livingstone, and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy. A large demonstration, also attended by perhaps around a million, took place in Barcelona.
Beginning in 2002, and continuing after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, large-scale protests against the Iraq War were held in many cities worldwide, often coordinated to occur simultaneously around the world. After the biggest series of demonstrations, on February 15, 2003, New York Times writer Patrick Tyler claimed that they showed that there were two superpowers on the planet, the United States and worldwide public opinion.
These demonstrations against the war were mainly organized by anti-war organizations, many of whom had been formed in opposition to the invasion of Afghanistan. In some Arab countries demonstrations were organized by the state. Europe saw the biggest mobilization of protesters, including a rally of three million people in Rome, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever anti-war rally.
According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between January 3 and April 12, 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war.
Mike Ferner (email@example.com) was in Baghdad on 2.15.03 with the Iraq Peace Team, a project of Voices in the Wilderness. About 200 people from over 10 nations marched in a peace rally through Baghdad that day.