Blair Should Take a Journey to Jail
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On Monday evening, Tony Blair was in conversation with Katie Couric at the 92nd St Y. I happened to be in town for a board meeting so headed over to a sold-out house to see if I could get in. Luck was with me as I got a ticket about 13 rows from his chair on the aisle. Blair has been traveling across the US and UK recently to promote his new memoir, A Journey. Peace activists from both countries have rightly been calling it "A Journey to Crime," and have even been taking it upon themselves to move copies of the book to the Crime section of their local bookstores.
I had handcuffs in my purse and was ready to get to the front of the room in five strides. Very early on, Katie talked about him being forced out of Ireland by a pelting of eggs and shoes. His answer was that these actions are the 'tyranny of protesters.' "Those that shout the loudest don't necessarily deserve to be heard," he said. Undeterred by his attempt to marginalize people who speak out at his book events I waited to hear what he had to say.
Her next line of questions was about the Iraq War. Did he have regrets? No, he said, because he had acted correctly. Saddam wouldn't allow weapons inspectors in, so therefore there must have been WMDs. My blood was boiling. What about the weapons inspectors who were there, who had been given access to everything who said there were no WMDs??? He continued to say he had done right and it was just like Iran. No weapons inspectors means WMDs.
I leapt up with handcuffs held high above my head. "You Liar. I was in Iraq and met with weapons inspectors before we invaded and they said they had found no WMDs. You are a War CRIMINAL! LIAR!" At this moment I was surrounded by NYC cops and British Secret Service and they slammed me up against the wall and dragged me out of the room to cheers. The British guys were brutal, dragging me, yelling at me and begging the NYPD to arrest me. They looked at them like they were off a bit and didn't really react. One of the NYPD went back to get my purse and handed it to the British SS who has literally just thrown me out into the street. He was so furious that he put my purse far away from me. He told me to thank him for not putting me in jail. Just minutes before, he told me that the broadcast had cost a lot of money and that I have ruined it. I told him if he wanted to arrest me, then go ahead, it makes for a better story. He was not happy with me.
I brushed myself off and went to pick my computer bag, which I had left at Gloria Steinem's. There I met up with awesome feminist activist Shelby Knox, who took a photo of me with the handcuffs, which I somehow managed to leave the event with. I'll have to keep them handy with so many war criminals still on the loose.
What was really frightening to me, beyond the fear of being kicked out or arrested, was to be in an audience eating up his every word. I was in Iraq during the time we were discussing. International media and 30 some members of the EU Parliament were there at the same time being taken to all the supposed WMD sites that were just empty spaces in a desert. Medea Benjamin spoke to inspectors in their various languages (since she speaks them all) and they assured us they had found none and had been looking hard.