Scenes from Palastine, edited between scenes of demonstrations in Tehran in support of the Palastinians.

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"Oh my f...", yelped a friend having just switched over from a Manchester United game to an interview with our president by a CBS reporter. The ensuing gasps and the shrieks were more appropriately related to the football and certainly the excited leaping from the chairs and fruitless flicking of Vs. "What the... shut up, just shut... you liar!", came the reactions to what was an all together different match. Such emotive responses surrounded me with every touch of the ball by our president, but I couldn't see the fowl play they repeatedly protested about. Yeah, there were dives and excessive rolls, but it's part of the game, and in this game and that room, it appeared I was rooting for the underdog.

I'm an odd supporter of the home team, going so far as to carrying a photographed keyring of our star player. Yet, how I'm scorned at for this, regardless of how far my tongue is wedged in my cheek. I get a similar responses when pushed to vocalise my thoughts; it's not that I'm fashionably backing the outsider, but more that, at times I hold a view that the games can have as much relevance as an actual football tournament.

"This is a terrible translation", both my friends simultaneously remarked as I strained to keep up with the pace; the only errors I noticed being the additional, "Mr. President", and other courteous terms padding the translated questions for the home team. I was enthralled; lost between needing clarification from my friends and not wanting to interrupt. This match was perversely important however; a long running tournament seems to be reaching its final stages, with a great many heated fans hungry for a slip-up; an excuse to vent anger and transcend the event; offering their own interpretation of a red card, regardless of a referee's decision.

For me, these vigilantes who seemingly shroud themselves in their own comfortable understanding of events, have at best, historical amnesia and certainly a gross immunity to self-awareness. This became prevalent with the media circus surrounding a recent visit by our president to the, "Lion's Den", which could be marked as the away-game to the previous week's interview.

"The Evil Has Landed", we read in the morning papers as the cogs of the corporate media shifted a gear. Various tactics had been considered by the home team; or even stolen, with 11/9 victims once again not left to rest in peace. Predictably, the media performed its tacit role of 'amplifier' well, with the volume turned down for this and also for the main reason of the visit: the fact that our president was a guest to the United Nations. Where the volume was increased however, was with our president also being a guest at Columbia University. Here he was made equally as welcome, being introduced as a, "petty dictator". Such flattery! And I'm serious.

no amount of witty uppercase-play can invite the situation whereby he will hover his finger over a phantom red-button

Such flattery that can only exist with tiring ignorance of our system, and this man's role; this democratically elected man I should add. He is arguably less influential than his international equivalents – simply a face, some stock-words and a nice beard, but one should be careful not to over-estimate him. One should know that he does not preside over the military, unlike the much loved former shah who was not democratically elected, did preside over the military and was not shy in using it against his own people (with a blind eye from the west). So one should be aware that no amount of witty uppercase-play ("AhMADinejad") can invite the situation whereby he will hover his finger over a phantom red-button.

The madness could be attributed to the provocative words on the holocaust; clumsy at best, but broaching this taboo in its current way of, "let's allow more research", invites an interesting response. These little pokes at western hypocrisy seem to be chipping away at the roots of a regional issue and – depending on who does your indoctrination – it resonates in great volume, yet in different ways. I might be so bold at this point and suggest that the surrounding rhetoric is awkwardly refreshing; so rare to hear a representative at such a level to stand up against the status quo and even represent his people. Today, for example, is an international day of recognition for the plight of the Palestinians, with a national televised demonstration running through most cities – yes, it reminds me of when in Britain we had national days of recognition for the struggle against the Apartheid. Remember? I put it to you, this guy is not mad; he is a mirror, one that is highly susceptible to smearing.

I heard that the airport flooded with admirers upon the return of our man, with crowds no doubt thankful for his safe return. I couldn't help but also feel thankful for this, as it was with each day that I gritted my teeth and begged that he not slip-up. But how silly of me; this has been proven to not be necessary; the age-old "wiped-off the map" – dusty rhetoric for the Islamic Republic – had recently gotten a fresh mistranslation and amplified by the corporate cohorts.

It is exactly that which we in-turn fear, the cyclical repetition of, "bringing democracy to the middle east", as this for us is like being wiped-off the map

But when these words are not being hideously mistranslated, they are not all that outrageous; in fact, much the opposite in my mind and no doubt the minds of a great many others in the region. I should add, I'm under no illusion that these words are said with as much sincerity as, "bringing democracy to the middle east", but they resonate with the same effect to a different audience. Yet, it is exactly that which we in-turn fear, the cyclical repetition of, "bringing democracy to the middle east", as this for us is like being wiped-off the map.

The tournament is racing to its final stages, and with this, my greatest fear is of the resulting hooligans; for you [my readers] are the one who allows the transcending of the game. Be cautious, your anger or fear might be measured by your ignorance. So I feel we should be vigilant, so as not be seduced for want of our vigilante behavior, for it does us no credit and we far from benefit. I might then end by provocatively suggesting that, if you want democracy, respect it, and respect ours.

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Not protesting, not a chance.

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"Excuse me, what were you protesting for?", approached a summer frocked lady from behind her sun glasses. "Nothing" – I was a little less detailed in my reply than my fellow law abiding citizen who had seemingly rehearsed for this delayed public response. "We were not protesting, to do that would be illegal", he gently informed her in his warm and unabashed northern manner, "it is illegal to protest within 1km of Parliament without prior police permission". "So what is written on your placards?", she asked with her hands, leaning in and reaching for the sheets of cards resting by our sides, "nothing!", came our choral response. Somewhat perplexed, or even disappointed, she moved on half informing us, "I'm going to that Brian guy, he's been arrested!".

In fear of losing balance between words and actions I found myself on the Strand, London debating what kind of investment I would make into A1 white card to both use and not used for around one hour. We wanted something sturdy, of which foam-board did the trick, but wow is that stuff expensive, "Is it cheeky if we bring them back after for a refund", I asked semi-seriously. The less offensively priced heavy-weight paper however didn't seem like too much of a compromise considering it would still make us only half equipped. With ten minutes to go we were finally armed, we'd settled on a combination of foam-board with heavy weight card, catering for only one extra person yet with the option of halving the papers if we hit critical mass.

Big Ben brought its hands up to two O'Clock as we rested ours down at half-six following our one hour battle with gravity. Like Moses this battle with gravity came with the help of my family whereby my sister brought our numbers up to three, not including the friends' reunion – two additional friends who were not, not protesting beside us on the grass. Like the protest, the response wasn't, we'd gotten a thumbs up and wink from the Brian camp, saw some police officers altering the height of the seats on their bikes yet generally we were something for lunchers to direct their eyes at during a break. "This is not something to be disheartened about", I repeated to my fellow law abiding citizen, thinking back to one of the first comments I'd left on his blog about avoiding tactical voting, "low numbers should not be a reason to not do something".

It's a technicality, he isn't starting a protest, he'd started years ago and hasn't stopped

Brian may have been arrested in the past, but for his personal battle (concerning a great many things wrong in a decreasingly great Britain) he will not be arrested for the laws concerning Parliament's no-protest zone. It's a technicality, he isn't starting a protest, he'd started years ago and hasn't stopped. Brian's a kooky chap, his face has been in the kiln too long which has also resulted in the heavily badged soldier's helmet being glazed to his head. He looks like a guy you avoid in train stations and lives like him too but I prefer to consider him a landmark, one casting a shadow over Parliament or even Big Ben.

"Shall we get him to sign them or write something on them", I embarrassingly voiced out as we waited to speak with Brian, I thought it'd a poignant use of the blank white sheets yet worried it might offend the man. Brian made his way round the usual topics to a small and partly participatory crowd: depleted uranium, starving children, civilian deaths and a lot of Blair. I glanced around his growing territory, a titillating mix of images and slogans, all of which careful to not infringe council by-laws. Four camo-green tents had been added since my last visit and were leaving squared patches of malnourished grass in their rotation.

"Gordon's gay and he should admit it to the people, more lies from New Labour", parped a tubby chap with Brian non-plussed. "...murdering the children, those poor innocent children - those are our children...", Brian looped, "...that fucking Blair...", he continued as the tall gentleman to my side paused from his ice cream and politely asked that he didn't use that language in front of his children, referring to the young boy and girl weaving between our legs. "I will use language like that...", Brian firmly retorted leading the tall guy to almost square-up to Brian, "listen, we're all doing our bit", he begun. Again Brian retorted, "but we're not doing our bit our we...", to which the tall guy enlightened us of his charity work in setting schools up in India. A stalemate was met in an unnecessary stand-off, Brian was brash – I wouldn't be so bold – but I feel he can afford to be.

I toiled over that heated moment, over those who are, "doing their bit", and Brian sets an admirable standard in method. I came as a tourist – meeting words and actions (not to mention friends) in the presence of Brian made me feel more so, but I came to do something and like my voting green, I don't believe it was a waste.

An Email sent out prior to the day:

> Forgive the generic,
> I'm linked to some group regarding citizen's rights and
> got this email (below). I've seen one of these before on
> some website, people standing in silence holding blank
> placard, it's weird. As I'll be in the neighborhood I
> thought I'd check it out, anyone else fancy some
> pre-Sunday lunch dissent?
> For some background, read:
> Blair laid bare: the article that may get you arrested
> Britain's liberties: The great debate
> Look forward to seeing you all.
> ddmmyyyy
> ----- Original Message Follows -----
> From: Andrew Nominus
> To: ddmmyyyy[at]yahoo.co.uk
> Subject: Not a protest, not a chance
> Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 08:54:10 +0000 (GMT)
> >The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005) makes unauthorized protests illegal within 1km of Parliament Square.
> >Do not protest.
> >Do not protest in Parliament Square on 1pm Sunday 20th May.
> >Do not carry a blank, white placard with nothing on it.
> >Remain silent.
> >
> >Pass it on.

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