It was the first march I attended. I was 10, and with my parents and our local Quaker meeting group. The march, and the aftermath of the march, made a huge impact on me.
I remember climbing on my dads back as we went through trafalgar square, and seeing the march stretching for as far as I could see, hundreds of No war in Iraq signs, and so much noise and so many people who all seemed angry and hopeful at once.
It was really exciting- it felt so powerful, that so many people could come out and march. I had a banner saying something about how peace always wins. We ended up in hyde park and I climbed up a lamp post and literally everywhere were people all celebrating peace. It felt huge.
I remember going home and seeing reports on the BBC of marches all over the world, and saying to my mum “How could they go to war now?” and really believing it. I think it was the first time I “exercised my democratic voice.” It felt completely global and wonderful. Of course, over the next few weeks, when we went to war anyway, that was also impactful. I felt betrayed by the politicans- that so many people could come out to say No and they could go ahead anyway. As perhaps many felt, I learnt that mostly politicians cannot be trusted over those few weeks.
I have attended hundreds of marches since that one, but always with a sense that, however much anger there is, however many people there are- does it really matter? Occupy felt that it might change things, but it was mostly dismissed. The Syrian airstrikes, however, seemed to finally be a turning point. We’ll have to see what happens as time keeps on how much politicans have learnt from the Iraq war.
I was, (by chance) in Libya, when the Arab Spring started, and I saw echoes of 2003 in the protests there. I think your film really illustrated the whole timescale better than I ever could in words!