Report of Mother’s Day Vigil.
In the run up to Mother’s Day 2004, Mothers Against War ran a postcard campaign calling on Tony Blair to clean up depleted uranium and cluster bombs left behind in Iraq. To mark the end of this campaign, a group of mothers, grandmothers, 4 children and other supporters gathered opposite Downing St on Mother’s Day, a year and a day after the war began. We decorated the barriers with Mother’s Day messages “Make Mother’s Day Special – Clean up Iraq”, “Remember the Mothers of Iraq”, “Cluster Bombs Kill” “Depleted Uranium is Dangerous”. About 300 leaflets were given out to passers by who were in the main very supportive. We also signed cards to send to women’s groups in Iraq.
Halfway through the vigil, a small contingent, some dressed in aprons and carrying mops, crossed Whitehall to Downing St. We carried a banner depicting a map of Iraq, saying “Iraq is a Mess. Clean it up Tony!”. At the gate they seemed to have forgotten we were coming, and then had a long debate about whether they would accept a mop or not. While we waited, we discovered an appreciative audience of tourists who took photos and asked us questions. We chanted “clean up cluster bombs”, “clean up depleted uranium”, “mothers against war”. The mops, being highly dangerous weapons, were
eventually deemed too much of a security risk, so we had to leave them behind. We took the banner anyway and posed outside the front door before handing it in and asking that Mr Blair listened to our message.
As we left Downing St, somebody noticed John Prescott passing by. Two of us pursued him down Whitehall, disconcerting his minders somewhat with our mops. We asked him to urge the Prime Minister to clean up depleted uranium and cluster bombs in Iraq. He replied they were trying their best, but declined the mop to help.
Satisfied that our attempts to speak to the government had had such success we went back over the road, to finish off our vigil. We ended at 3.30pm, and then went our separate ways, pleased that such a small group of people could have had such a positive effect.
Virginia Moffatt, Mothers Against War
Photos: Ellen Teague