We Are Many is a powerful documentary explaining the popular people’s uprising against the Iraq war.
It is a compelling film but an uncomfortable watch for me.
No sane or honest person still reasons that the second Iraq war was justified. It wasn’t. There were no weapons at all as deliciously explained by Dr Hans Blix, the star contributor in We Are Many; who no doubt enjoys taking some precision shots at the idiot politicians who wouldn’t listen to him at the time.
As I watched the film with my eldest son, Tom, he asked me if I had marched against this most disastrous war and I felt embarrassed to say no. Not because I was too lazy or I had something better to do – but because I supported the war – and why? Because I believed Tony Blair and what he told our country. I just didn’t believe that a British PM would ever lie so blatantly and about something so important.
And how wrong I was.
The film is rooted in the UK, but it more than justifies its title, We are Many, by broadening out to show that the London march was just one of many in what became a worldwide movement against the war. At its peak, some 15 million people across the world took part – making it the largest worldwide congregation of people in the history of humankind.
Pretty impressive stuff eh – and yet the war went ahead anyway and with what terrific results?
How many killed? How many maimed? How many ex-servicemen have since committed suicide? How much money? What is a trillion anyway? A country destroyed not to mention the rise of Islamic State and what a welcome they are to our modern, inclusive and progressive world.
Tony Blair will never watch this scorching film and why would he? He looks utterly pathetic with footage of his clipped rhetoric – but remarkably, he is even more risible now since leaving office and somehow becoming a world statesman and making himself obscenely wealthy in the process.
Remarkable and ironic then that Tony Blair should have won his third general election after the Iraq debacle – presumably put back in to power by the people who marched against him that day in London?
So some solace then to be found when a contributor in the film explains that Tony Blair is the only ex British PM who practically cannot appear in public and presumably why he spends so much time abroad.
I am not sufficiently versed in the nuances of politics but there is a heavy disconnect when the West trumpets its democracy so loudly as the civilized way forward and yet in this instance and in something so important, our leaders so ignored the views of the people.
And my final reason for feeling uncomfortable about the film – and I say this mindful of Tunisia and the pictures across our front pages this morning. Pictures of a young holiday maker returning home from his holiday in a box and from a military aircraft.
I don’t have much truck for the oft stated line on Islamic terrorism and the apologists who qualify their condemnation of an atrocity – be it Madrid, London, Paris, NY, Bali, Kenya, Mumbai, Tunisia, Bagdad, Nigeria, Sydney, Syria, Lahore… with a foreign policy counter explanation. Worldwide Islamic terrorism predates even the first Gulf war not to mention NATO’s intervention in Bosnia to defend Muslims.
But I certainly concede that the Iraq war has been a boon for the rise in Islamism. That the war has presented a propaganda coup and somehow legitimized Islamic State to such an extent that British Muslims want to sign up to the caliphate.
And whilst I argue that this a worthy film and that it deserves a large audience, I worry also that it could have an unintended consequence – namely to embolden and encourage disaffected and vulnerable young Muslims, to believe even less in our government and our way of life and even more in the poisonous doctrine of Islamism.
History will judge Bush and Blair albeit; many argue that the verdict is already in whether or not Chilcot ever gets around to reporting.
The Iraq War was an abject disaster but sadder still is that the disaster is on-going and getting worse – and that further bloodshed and misery is yet to come as a consequence both in Iraq and across the world.
We are Many – is a film that will not change anything. Blair will not apologise and governments will continue to act unilaterally and keep information from its people. But nonetheless, it is an important film and its motives are worthy and they are sound.
Do visit their website – we are many.com to find out where you can see it.