My send-off for George

After speaking at Saturday’s “antiwar” demonstration, George Galloway concluded the North American leg of his “Check Out My Awesome Tan” tour with an appearance that evening at a church in downtown Washington.

I showed up to hand out some of our Harry’s Place informational leaflets, but I chose not to pay good money to suffer an aneurysm from watching him perform live on stage. (Leaflet contents here.)

One of the event organizers asked me whom I represented, why I was doing this, etc. He asked if these were the same leaflets handed out at Galloway’s appearance in Madison. I said that indeed they were, and that I had sent copies to one of our readers there for distribution. He seemed rather incredulous at this degree of organization. He did not try to intimidate me, or have me removed, but simply said, “I think you’re confused.”

Most people accepted the leaflets good-naturedly (at least before they looked at the contents). A few– after glancing at the contents– handed them back to me. I spent some minutes exchanging views with one Galloway fan, who told me that my position on overthrowing Saddam Hussein and supporting democracy in Iraq was the same as George Bush’s– as if this was enough to settle the argument. When he denied that Galloway supported totalitarian regimes, I pointed out his recent accolade for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. That seemed to confound him, and he wandered away soon afterwards.

The Great Man himself made his entrance while I was there. I chose to avoid a direct confrontation, but I was close enough to confirm: his tan really is awesome.

Thanks again to all our readers who passed out leaflets along Galloway’s path during the past two weeks. I think we made our mark. Anyway we got the attention of Sunday Times Washington correspondent Sarah Baxter, who wrote:

At his meetings the MP has been stalked by left-wing critics, who have handed out leaflets drawing attention to his notorious “salute” to Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and his support for the Iraqi “resistance”.

Baxter also cast more than reasonable doubt on Jane Fonda’s claim that she was unable to join Galloway on tour because of hip surgery.

A message from the Hollywood actress was read out to disappointed crowds in Chicago, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin. “Dear friends,” it went, “I’m sorry I can’t be there. I have recently had hip surgery and my doctor has told me I cannot travel for a while.”

Yet Fonda, 67, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, was able to attend a fundraiser nearly 900 miles away in New York last week at the home of the chief executive of Air America, a left-wing radio station, in support of a documentary on the Vietnam war called Sir, No Sir.

“Hanoi Jane”, who gained her nickname during the Vietnam era, had hip replacement surgery in June and told The Sun newspaper last week that the operation was successful.

As for the sweetly naive Mr. Galloway, he said he believed Fonda’s hip problem was genuine.

The leaflet distributed by Harry’s Placers across the US and Canada reads:

George Galloway: No Hero for the Democratic Left

“If you are asking did I support the Soviet Union, yes I did. Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of
my life.”

George Galloway (The Guardian, 9/16/02)

“In poor third world countries like Pakistan, politics is too important to be left to petty squabbling politicians. Pakistan is always on the brink of breaking apart into its widely disparate components. Only the armed forces can really be counted on to hold such a country together … Democracy is a means, not an end in itself.”
George Galloway on General Musharraf’s coup against the elected government in Pakistan (The Mail on Sunday, 10/17/99)

“I’m no friend of the Syrian regime, but Syrian troops in Lebanon maintain stability and protect the country from Israel. Lebanon is an Arab country with a border with the Zionist state and that is a very dangerous place.”
George Galloway, defending Syria’s occupation of Lebanon less than five months before it ended (The Lebanon Daily Star, 12/7/04)

“Syria is exposed to foreign pressure because she represents the last castle of the Arab dignity and the Arab rights.”
George Galloway on the dictatorial regime of Bashar al-Assad (, 7/25/05)

“Actually, the Iraqi resistance does not target its own civilians. But the people that are being fought by the resistance in Iraq are the people that are working for the occupation.”
George Galloway (BBC Newsnight, 1/18/05). Three days later a suicide car bomber killed 14 Shiite worshippers as they left a Baghdad mosque (The Scotsman, 1/22/05)

“I thought the President would appreciate to know that even today, three years after the war, I still meet families who are calling their newborn sons Saddam…Sir, I salute your courage, your strength your indefatigability. And I want you to know that we are with you until victory, until victory until Jerusalem.”
George Galloway, flattering the mass murderer Saddam Hussein in person (The Times of London, 1/20/94)

“Mr. Tariq Aziz and thousands of political prisoners are still held illegally as hostages by the occupation authorities…He is viewed with high esteem worldwide by… international figures who have valued his counsel, met him, discussed and negotiated with him.”
George Galloway (The Evening Standard, 4/18/05). The UK human rights group Indict provides testimony from witnesses who saw Tariq Aziz shoot people at close range, and who report Aziz had advance knowledge of the 1988 gas attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja ( Galloway has written of being on “the crowded dance floor of a North African nightclub… dancing with Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister of Iraq.” (The New Republic Online, 4/22/05)

“A civil war with massive violence on both sides.”
George Galloway describing Saddam Hussein’s genocidal assaults on Kurds, democrats and Marsh Arabs in 1991 (“I’m Not the Only One,” Penguin Books Ltd, 2005)

“Just as Stalin industrialized the Soviet Union, so on a different scale Saddam plotted Iraq’s own Great Leap Forward. He managed to keep his country together until 1991. Indeed, he is likely to have been the leader in history who came closest to creating a truly Iraqi national identity, and he developed Iraq and the living, health, social and education standards of his own people.”
George Galloway (“I’m Not the Only One,” 2005)

“The courts killed this woman and I don’t think there can be any justification for it.”
George Galloway on the death of Terri Schiavo (BBC Question Time, 3/31/05)

“A party trick.”
George Galloway on Iraqi trade unionists’ tearful recollections of torture at the hands of Ba’athists (The Independent, 1/7/05)

“A very, very profound connection.”
George Galloway, describing his admiration for the Confederate Civil War general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who fought to preserve slavery, which he considered ordained by God (The Sunday Herald of Scotland, 8/7/05)

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