Here is a report of what I saw or heard of, and a few pictures I took.
banners outsite Borders
vigil at the entrance
more banners and vigil
welcome to Borders!
cops accompany protesters out of Borders
loud radical poetry inside Borders
posters and pots and pans inside Borders
posters without flash :-)
the signature session, well attended by cops, security guards and photographers
the discussion continues...
Also, at least a dozen protesters managed to get downstairs to deliver their message to Albright in many different ways. We unfortunately couldn't see exactly what was happening downstairs from the ground floor, but as I understood die-ins were staged, with fake blood, and other actions. Many protesters were accompanied out of Borders or upstairs by cops.
Then Albright tried to leave Borders. Many people thought that actions were all over... definitely not! While the session was going on, protesters blockaded all the entrances of Borders to make sure that Albright couldn't leave Borders for her talk in the Union. She tried to leave by a hidden garage, where her car and her officers were waiting for her. But protesters sat down in the street and stopped her from leaving Borders, while dancing at the rhythms of pots and pans... She had to wait in her car for a while, until cops decided to take her out and run through Borders to board a police van waiting for them at the front. But protesters were faster than them and reached the van before it left, shouting slogans and delivering loudly their message to Albright. The van finally left, but when it arrived to the Union, which is very close to Borders, protesters were already there waiting for Albright. When Albright saw that, the van turned back and left probably for a hidden entrance to the Union.
She probably managed to get into the Union, probably a bit late. But many protesters were at the talk inside the Union, prepared to ask her very difficult questions. Definitely it wasn't an easy night in Oxford for Madeleine Albright...
Here is what was written on the leaflet handed out at Borders and at the Oxford Union:
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: WAR CRIMINAL?
Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State, is in Oxford to promote her memoir.
Tuesday 28 October 2003: Borders (6 pm), Oxford Union (8.30 pm)
Albright presents herself as a multilateralist, feminist, and liberal icon.
- Justified death of half a million children in Iraq as a result of sanctions: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price - we think the price is worth it" ("60 Minutes", 12 May 1996).
- Stalled deployment of further UN troops in Rwanda and threatened to veto any proposal that would increase UNAMIR forces in the country. 800,000 people died in the ensuing Rwandan genocide (Human Rights Watch).
- Advocated bombing of Serbia in 1999, despite CIA warnings that this would increase Serb violence against Kosovar Albanians. Overrode Colin Powell's reluctance to commit military forces until there was a clear political objective with comment: "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?" 580,000 people displaced, several thousand killed in the resulting ethnic cleansing in Kosovo; 500 Serb civilians killed in illegal NATO airstrikes (Human Rights Watch).
- Consistently blocked UN attempts to criticize Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Warned Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali not to publish UN report stating that Israel's 1996 bombing of the U.N.-run refugee camp in Qana, Lebanon, which killed more than 100 refugees, was intentional. Threatened to veto Boutros-Ghali’s second term as punishment for disobedience. Successfully executed punishment.
HOW DIFFERENT IS ALBRIGHT FROM BUSH ?
- Albright criticises Bush for saying: "At some point, we may be the only ones left. That's ok with me. We are America." She advises a more multilateralist approach. ("Bridges, Bombs, or Bluster?", Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2003)
- Albright in office sounded exactly like Bush:
"If we have to use force, it is because we are America! We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall, and we see further into the future." (NBC Today show, February 19, 1998)
"We recognize this area as vital to US national interests and we will behave, with others, multilaterally when we can and unilaterally when we must." (Middle East International (London), Oct. 21, 1994, p. 4)
- Apologises for using phrase "assertive multilateralism": "By this I meant that when America acted with others, we should lead in establishing goals and ensuring success. I didn't in any way rule out the possibility that we would have to act on our own in self-defence or to protect other vital interests - multilateralism certainly has its place as a foreign policy tool, but the term is without appeal - especially to Americans. The word has six syllables, includes some Latin, and ends with an "ism"." (Madame Secretary, p. 176)