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Galloway tour Web journal
"We're so proud to have him here"

TODD CHRETIEN is the national coordinator of George Galloway's "Stand Up and Be Counted: No to War and Occupation" speaking tour. He has kept a daily Web journal at the International Socialist Review Web site at www.isreview.org. Here, we print excerpts of his journal.

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September 12, 2005
All Eyes on Faneuil Hall

FANEUIL HALL has had its fair share of excitement. Built in 1742 by Peter Faneuil, a rich local merchant, it was gutted by fire in 1761, only to be repaired in the nick of time to kindle the revolutionary flames that burnt the colonial strings tying America to Britain.

In 1764, Samuel Adams defied the empire's local hacks and organized the Sons of Liberty to harass the occupying Redcoats and intimidate the tax collectors. No Taxation Without Representation became the rallying cry that galvanized the people to oppose the Stamp Act and the Sugar Act, which were more or less schemes to offload the price of decades of war for empire onto the locals. Faneuil Hall was the hub.

Today, Faneuil Hall is surrounded on all sides by a tourist-centered, upscale, outdoor mall. Just two blocks away, the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans stands as a monument to the betrayal of the ideals that came to life in Faneuil Hall.

But if you walk up the flight of stairs into the hall, then you enter a different world. The hall still smells of defiance. If the walls could talk, they would complain that they are lonely, they crave inspiration, and they stand ready and willing to give it.

The hall deserves reverence--and it needs a workout. And we've got just the man for the job. British MP, George Galloway will be speaking here tomorrow night. In the best Boston tradition, he was expelled from the British Labour Party for taking the side of the colonists against those who rule his motherland. He helped found the Respect Coalition in Britain and sought revenge on Tony Blair by running for and winning a seat in parliament in East London.

Like Thomas Paine, he carried his protest against empire from London to America, testifying on May 17 before the U.S. Senate, in no uncertain terms, that they had blood on their hands for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. I know it's September, and the Sox are only a few games up on the Yankees, but some things are more important than baseball, even in Boston. Manny will take care of the Yankees. You should be at Faneuil Hall.

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September 15, 2005
The Grapple in the Apple

It was a hard ticket to get. A reporter for GQ magazine called, asking if he could get a press pass to just stand in the back. He didn't get in.

But the New York Post, The Economist, the BBC, the London Times, the Guardian and dozens of independent media did get in, so hundreds of thousands of people will know what went down. The debate was the largest-ever audience for live Web stream, hosted by Democracy Now! (www.democracynow.org).

It wasn't that easy to get Mr. Galloway himself to the debate. We almost missed our 6:55 a.m. flight out of Boston because, for some strange reason, we were all flagged for "extra security," and spent 15 minutes being poked and prodded by TSA guards.

We arrived at JFK airport and spent the next 90 minutes in traffic, which has been gridlocked all week because President Bush is in town addressing the United Nations (UN) assembly. Although the most powerful government in the history of the world was unable to get helicopters into New Orleans to help the sick, the poor and the elderly evacuate, the Secret Service did manage to pour thousands of agents into midtown Manhattan and coordinate hundreds of limousines converging on the UN.

At 7:30 p.m. (yes, we did start 30 minutes late), Jen Roesch, the organizational mastermind of the New York operation, mounted the stage to welcome the moderator, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, and announce the imminent arrival of the evening's protagonists. As Hitchens and Galloway emerged from the wings, the crowd applauded for their favorites. Much to my surprise, almost one-third of the audience was boisterously on the side of the polemicist from Vanity Fair.

I won't even try to reproduce the heat and the light generated by the verbal jousting that carried on for the next two hours. You can watch it yourself on C-SPAN or the Internet. All the details are available at www.MrGallowayGoesToWashington.com.

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September 16, 2005
C-SPAN, Scribblers and My Mother

FIRST THE good stuff. Hundreds of thousands of people will be able to watch the debate between George Galloway and Christopher Hitchens on C-SPAN this weekend.

Now the annoying stuff. A gaggle of supposedly liberal journalists are doing their best slander the Galloway tour. Try to match the following quotations with the following writers:

A. "Friends and comrades, this is not about George Galloway. He's just another self-promoting fart. Six months from now, even his smell will be gone."

B. "George Galloway defiled Faneuil Hall by bouncing a torrent of anti-U.S., anti-West, pro-Islamist invective off its hallowed walls. Galloway left the stage to a long standing ovation. Since he clearly sides with the suicide bombers, the beheaders ad the other psychopaths that murder civilians in Iraq and elsewhere, a wave of horror washed over me when I realized that the people in the generally well-dressed, well-educated crowd cheering Galloway were, in essence, cheering for their own deaths."

C. "British M.P. George Galloway has just begun an 'antiwar' speaking tour of the U.S. I put 'anti-war' in quotes because Mr. Galloway isn't really opposed to the war in Iraq. He simply supports another side. Apart from being a shill for Saddam (and for Stalin), Mr. Galloway is also a sleazy and corrupt dandy. MR. GALLOWAY, PLEASE GO HOME."

1. Rocco DiPippo, a contributor to extreme right-wing agitator David Horowitz's Moonbat Central group blog.

2. Marc Cooper, liberal columnist for LA Weekly.

3. Greg Palast, respected journalist who exposed the 2000 election fraud in Florida and self-described opponent of the Bush administration.

If you matched DiPippo with B, Cooper with C, and Palast with A, you win the prize.

Reading the scribblers, I worried, for a moment, that maybe they would discourage people from getting involved in the movement to end the war. But then I received the following email from my mother: "I have just spent the last hour and a half watching the video of the debate. Please tell Mr. Galloway that we are so proud to have him here, speaking the truth so clearly to the American people. His clarity spoke volumes against the wandering words of Mr. Hitchens. The ending, especially, of the debate was amazing to watch, as Mr. Hitchens disintegrated into a small, mumbling man, while Mr. Galloway rose to tower over him with the strength and clarity that truth brings to argument."

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September 17, 2005
1,300 Cheer Galloway in Toronto

George Galloway has only recently become a widely recognized name among American antiwar activists, but he has earned a reputation as a determined advocate for Arab and Muslim rights, especially among people living in Europe or the U.S. who are victims of racist discrimination.

After a long day of TV and radio interviews on Thursday, we went out to dinner on East 6th Street in Manhattan's East Village at Panna restaurant (the best, in my opinion, Indian restaurant on a street packed with wonderful Indian restaurants).

George recognized the owner's Bangladeshi accent and asked him what village he was from (there are 50,000 or 60,000 Bangladeshi residents in Galloway's district in East London). The owner replied, and George mentioned that he had been there earlier in the year, giving a speech. The owner asked, "What's your name?" When George told him, the owner's face lit up: "You are George Galloway? What an honor to meet you! Many of the people on this street are from Bangladesh and they will be proud to know that you came to eat here."

Last night, Mr. Galloway spoke to 1,300 people at Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto, and tonight, he will address a crowd of 3,000 at the conference of the Canadian Muslim Association and the Islamic Circle of North America. James Clarke from the Toronto Stop the War Coalition called to say the event has really stirred up debate.

Canada's largest daily paper, the Toronto Star, reported: "Canada needs to stop fooling itself and pretending that it's not involved in the "illegal" war on Iraq, British MP George Galloway told a boisterous crowd gathered last night to hear him speak at the University of Toronto.

"'There is a certain myopia in countries like Canada about the way in which they are perceived by the victims of this so-called war on terror,' said Galloway, an internationally renowned speaker and firebrand who's also a leading figure of the peace movement.

"You can't send 1,000 Canadian soldiers to join Bush's coalition of the killing and occupy the people of Afghanistan and claim to be neutral," the maverick politician told more than 1,000 people at Convocation Hall.

Read the full daily Web journal by Todd Chretien at the International Socialist Review Web site at www.isreview.org.

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