View of the new Scottish Parliament.
Committee room number 6 in the Scottish Parliament.
Invited audience watches the film.
From left; Aimara, George, Rose, Tommy, Frances and Paul.
Rose, Aimara and George outside the Scottish Parliament.
There was a showing of the film about Gordon Gentle, `Dear Mrs Blair` at the Scottish parliament today. The 16-minute film made by Camcorder Guerrillas was shown in Committee Room 6 of the new Scottish Parliament at 12.30pm during the MSP’s lunch hour. Aimara Reques, who had come across from Glasgow with Rose Gentle, mother of Gordon, introduced the event, which was attended by about 25 people including 6 MSPs. Gordon was a 19-year-old Royal Highland Fusilier who after just six months in the army was sent to Iraq. Tragically a roadside bomb killed him on June 28th last year. In the form of a video letter to the wife of the Prime Minister, the short film, is a powerful message, 'mother to mother', calling for the troops to come home and an end to the suffering of families in the illegal and unjustifiable war in Iraq. The film showed scenes of young Gordon’s early life, his appearance in a school nativity play, his liking for football and his attempts to find a job. The army enlisted Gordon as he signed on unemployed and amazingly after only a few months basic training he was sent to Iraq. Moving scenes of his funeral at St James’ Parish Church, Pollok, in the west of Glasgow were shown with the local minister Rev John Mann, himself an American, performing the oration. He said he had just three words to say to Tony Blair and George Bush: “Shame on you.”
There was a discussion afterwards with Scottish Socialist MSP Rosie Kane saying that army recruiters should be kept away from schools. Rose herself said that the army wages are not as good as they appear because soldiers still have to buy their food and pay for laundry, accommodation etc. Tommy Sheridan MSP said he hoped the very moving film could be shown to a wider audience. Aimara had brought a large number of copies with her and encouraged people to buy them and pass them on. Tommy and Rosie took a number of copies and left them on the desks of the MSPs in the debating chamber. Mark Ballard of the Green Party took a copy, which he said he would pass on. Also present were Scottish Socialist party MSPs Colin Fox and Frances Curran. There were a small number of reporters and several members of the public and a member of Edinburgh Stop the War.
Gordon’s mother Rose is very angry that her boy was sent to Iraq with such little preparation to die in a war which it now turns out was based on lies. Unbelievably despite giving his life for his country Gordon’s family has been refused a pension on the grounds that he had not been in he army long enough. The rationale for the war was the WMD that Tony Blair assured us would be found. Just yesterday the White House announced that the search for Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction was over. This was reported rather casually on the inside pages of newspapers in contrast to the screaming headlines during the build up to war. The BBC1 early evening news of Wednesday 12th January devoted a matter of around 15 seconds of its 30-minute bulletin to the abandonment of the weapons hunt. The BBC website did not even have the story by the next day. The widely read Metro newspaper had a small paragraph on page 2.
Rose has consistently argued for the troops to be brought home yet the Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has confirmed that 400 soldiers from the Royal Highland Fusiliers will this week fly from their base in Cyprus to Iraq.
Rose received a meaningless and pathetically short reply from Mrs Blair (signed by a Mr John O’Connell) saying basically that she was sorry for her but as a private unelected citizen 'Mrs Blair has no powers to intervene in government policy'. Rose was obviously very disappointed but will not be fobbed off and will write again.
Justice for Gordon Gentle campaign contact details:
For more information about the Justice for Gordon Gentle campaign please e-mail the Gentle family at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to them at 52 Templeland Road, Pollok, Glasgow, G53 5PG. The office phone for the campaign is (0141) 883 4536 and the mobile number is (07951) 767530.
Camcorder Guerrillas contact details:
http://www.camcorderguerillas.net (note – just one r in the website spelling of guerrilla)
Phone (0141) 553 2551 or write to:
GMAC - Room 17
34 Albion Street
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