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Secretary's Report - April 2004

The first flush of angry letters fill the Guardian's correspondence following Ariel Sharon's historic bamboozling of the American President this week. Too, too easy. Not fair. Poor George is a simple lad and not up to resisting this ruthless determination. So Israel will continue to manipulate, steal, propagandise and deceive, most of the poor bloody Palestinians will remain out in the cold, and those whose anger overwhelms them will find renewed destructive energy. Israelis will, I say with confidence, not find much positive outcome. I am offering a small but valuable prize to anyone who can come up with one single good aspect of this sorry story. It's legally outrageous, ethically outrageous and the sheer bloody nerve of it inspires shock and awe. "We will give you back a chunk of the land we have occupied illegally for 37 years, but in return we are going to hang on to a another much larger piece of the land we have occupied illegally for 37 years". Chutzpah, I think the term is.
Well, something more cheerful ...... there is a degree of interest in the situation in Iraq, a bit like watching extreme sports, perhaps? You watch, fascinated, convinced that the intrepid athlete is going to encounter something relatively immovable, and hard. The Coalition of the Willing seems to be in a similar position though the image that comes to mind is more like a small boy poking a wasps nest with a stick. But goodness only knows how many more thousands of Iraqis will fall victim to the bloody encounter between the pig headed obstinacy of the Coalition generals, the equal stubborn insistence of Iraqis that they are not going to be told what to do and the greed of a bunch of corporate carpet-baggers and arms salesmen. You know that good old crack about "three little words that save a marriage - 'I was wrong'?". Here's a new version to be directed at our glorious leaders: - "Three little words that state a position - we were right". But what's the consolation in that?
A small but sincere group of our members took part in the Aldermaston March over Easter weekend. I was one of the cop-outs, shame faced confession. But there was lots of exposure and news coverage even though the numbers seem to have been smaller than might have been hoped. Surrey Comet notices us this week thanks to our dedicated publicity team. It sounds as though it was rather a jolly occasion and the contrast of marching through countryside rather than a townscape was mentioned with approval by participants. I do wonder just how our government really views squares Aldermaston with this country's membership of the Non Proliferation Treaty - I can't see much sign that we have a dedicated interest in getting rid of our nukes. Don't forget about the Embassies walk in 24th May, an amble round the outposts in London of countries that do retain their nukes as well as the handful that have taken a positive position. Hope they stop by at the Ministry of Defence, ho ho.
Look, here's something more positive. The last jumble sale made a profit of £410 the 2nd best ever, and we look forward to ploughing it back into positive campaigning work of one kind and another such as a presence at several fairs over the summer including the Green Fair, Monday 31st May, New Malden Fair 10th July and Sutton Fair Monday 30th August. Helpers wanted, pretty please. Also we are brewing plans for a public meeting in the autumn about the self evident benefits of militarism in promoting peace in the Middle East and the possibility that other options might be more effective. I hope that we will also lure down a speaker from Peace Direct to explain their ideas about how to influence policy makers effectively. That would be worth doing. There's a talk on 5th May (see Diary) on this in relation to nuclear policy makers.
Also on a positive note, we finally have the copies of for Wobbly Rebels' CD of anti war songs, we expect imminently, any time now, really really soon to have the art work done and then will flog them from the stall and other sources at the amazingly reasonable price of £5 a copy. You can buy one now if you don't insist on the flash cover. Many thanks to the various artists who donated their talents and time!
In the words of the cartoons, that's all, folks. I'm off to watch the news and find out whether the wasp's nest of Iraq has erupted into still more senseless brutality on both sides.

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