Last modified on 27 September 2014, at 04:27

George Galloway

George Galloway

George Galloway (born August 16, 1954) is a Scottish-born politician, author and broadcaster known for his left-wing views, confrontational style, and rhetorical skill. He was originally a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Labour Party between 1987 and 2003, when he was expelled, representing Glasgow Hillhead and Glasgow Kelvin until 2005. He has been a leading figure in the Respect Party since 2004, and has since represented the Bethnal Green and Bow (2005-10) and Bradford West (from 2012) parliamentary constituencies .

SourcedEdit

  • Your Excellency, Mr President: I greet you, in the name of the many thousands of people in Britain who stood against the tide and opposed the war and aggression against Iraq and continue to oppose the war by economic means, which is aimed to strangle the life out of the great people of Iraq. I greet you, too, in the name of the Palestinian people, amongst whom I've just spent two weeks in the occupied Palestinian territories. I can honestly tell you that there was not a single person to whom I told I was coming to Iraq and hoping to meet with yourself who did not wish me to convey their heartfelt, fraternal greetings and support. And this was true, especially at the base in the refugee camps of Jabaliyah and Beach Camp in Gaza, in the Balatah refugee camp in Nablus and on the streets of the towns and villages in the occupied lands.

    I thought the president would appreciate knowing that even today, three years after the war, I still met families who were calling their newborn sons Saddam; and that two weeks ago, when I was trapped inside the Orient House, which is the Palestinian headquarters in al-Quds [Jerusalem], with 5,000 armed mustwatinin [settlers] outside demonstrating, pledging to tear down the Palestinian flag from the flagpole, the hundreds of shabab [youths] inside the compound were chanting that they wish to be with a DSh K [machine gun] in Baghdad to avenge the eyes of Abu Jihad. And the Youth Club in Silwan, which is the one of the most resistant of all the villages around Jerusalem, asked me to ask the president's permission if they could enrol him as an honourary member of their club and to present him with this flag from holy Jerusalem.

    I wish to say, sir, that I believe that we are turning the tide in Europe, that the scale of the humanitarian disaster which has been imposed upon the Iraqi people is now becoming more and more widely known and accepted. Fifty-five British members of parliament opposed the war, but 125 are demanding the lifting of the embargo; and this does not include the invisible section of the Conservative Party who must also be moving in that direction, and Sir Edward Heath is being a very persuasive advocate inside the Conservative Party.

    It is my belief that we must convey the very clear picture that 1994 has to be the year of the ending of the embargo against Iraq. Otherwise, famine and all the awful consequences, including acts of despair by Iraqis, will be the result; and this is the message we must convey to civilized opinion in Europe.

    Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability, and I want you to know that we are with you, hatta al-nasr, hatta al-nasr, hatta al-Quds [until victory, until victory, until Jerusalem].

    • "'I greet you in the name of thousands of Britons'", The Times, January 20, 1994, citing BBC monitoring service at 9 PM on January 19 as its source.
    • Speech to Saddam Hussein, January 19, 1994.[1]
  • "I am on the anti-imperialist left." The Stalinist left? "I wouldn't define it that way because of the pejoratives loaded around it; that would be making a rod for your own back. 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. If there was a Soviet Union today, we would not be having this conversation about plunging into a new war in the Middle East, and the US would not be rampaging around the globe."
    • Simon Hattenstone, "Saddam and me", The Guardian, September 16, 2002
  • There are elections and elections, there are many Arab presidents who are elected with 99.9, 94.7, 87.4 percent of the vote in elections but nobody believes these elections. They're not real elections and the election that's going to be held in Iraq in January, if it is held at all - and there is a big question mark over that – will not be a real election. How can you have a real election with hundreds of thousands of Crusader soldiers occupying the country, drawing up the electoral law, deciding who is allowed to take part in the elections, and utterly dominating the political life of the country?
  • The people who invaded and destroyed Iraq and have murdered more than a million Iraqi people by sanctions and war will burn in Hell in the hell-fires, and their name in history will be branded as killers and war criminals for all time. Fallujah is a Guernica, Falluaja is a Stalingrad, and Iraq is in flames as a result of the actions of these criminals. Not the resistance, not anybody else but these criminals who invaded and fell like wolves upon the people of Iraq. And by the way, those Arab regimes which helped them to do it will burn in the same hell-fires.
  • Why don't you go and take some more drugs, you druggie?
    • Johann Hari, The Independent, April 21, 2005
    • In response to Hari's question on how many people have been killed by Galloway's friend Tariq Aziz.
  • Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader. and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one - and neither has anyone on my behalf. Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.
  • I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is that Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defense made of his.
  • You have nothing on me, Senator, except my name on lists of names from Iraq, many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad. There were 270 names on that list originally. That's somehow been filleted down to the names you chose to deal with in this committee. Some of the names on that committee included the former secretary to his Holiness Pope John Paul II, the former head of the African National Congress Presidential office and many others who had one defining characteristic in common: they all stood against the policy of sanctions and war which you vociferously prosecuted and which has led us to this disaster.
  • I am speaking for tens of millions, and maybe more, around the world, who know the truth about Iraq. Who know that the real criminals are in Washington. Not in the United Nations. The real criminals are in the White House, not in the Elysee Palace. The real criminals are in the Congress, not in the anti-war movement.
  • Bush, and Blair, and the prime minister of Japan, and Berlusconi, these people are criminals, and they are responsible for mass murder in the world, for the war, and for the occupation, through their support for Israel, and through their support for a globalized capitalist economic system, which is the biggest killer the world has ever known. It has killed far more people than Adolf Hitler. It has killed far more people than George Bush. The economic system which these people support, which leaves most of the people in the world hungry, and without clean water to drink. So we're going to put them on trial, the leaders, when they come. They think they're coming for a holiday in a beautiful country called Scotland; in fact, they're coming to their trial.
  • I can't mention, I'm sorry to say, any Arab leader... Where is the... Nasser? Where is the Arab leader who will stand up and tell these people the truth? This is what we are waiting for.
  • We want to make reparation to the Palestinian people for the crimes of Balfour which were committed in the building behind me, when one person, on behalf of one country, promised a second people the lands of a third people - the Palestinians. We are determined that we should stop the privatization of basic services of the British people. We are determined to defend the liberty of the British people which is being taken away day by day under the name of anti-terrorism. Ancient freedoms, which we had for hundreds of years, are being taken away from us under the name of the war on terror, when the real big terrorists are the governments of Britain and the United States. They are the real rogue states breaking international law, invading other people's countries, killing their children in the name of anti-terrorism, when in fact, all they're achieving is to make more terrorists in the world, not less, to make the world more dangerous, rather than less. These are our priorities.
  • The most foreign fighters in Iraq are wearing British and American uniforms. The level of self-delusion is bordering frankly on the racist. The vast majority of the people of Iraq are against the occupation of Iraq by the American and British forces.
  • People like Mr Hitchens are ready to fight to the last drop of other people's blood, and it's utterly and completely contemptible.
  • All dignified people in the world, whether Arabs or Muslims or others with dignity, are very proud of the speech made by president Bashar al-Assad a few days ago here in Damascus. For me he is the last Arab ruler, and Syria is the last Arab country. It is the fortress of the remaining dignity of the Arabs, and that's why I'm proud to be here.
  • The reason that Syria is facing this crisis is not because of any bad thing which Syria has done or any weaknesses within its democracy, or within its economy, or within its human rights record - and there are weaknesses in all three of these. The reason why Syria is being threatened is not because of anything bad which she did, but because of the good which she is doing. That's the reason why Syria is being threatened - because she will not betray the Palestinian resistance, because she will not betray the Lebanese resistance, Hizbullah, because she will not sign a shameful surrender-peace with General Sharon, and above all - more than any of these others - because Syria will not allow her country to be used as a military base for America to crush the resistance in Iraq. These are the reasons why Syria is being targeted by these imperial powers.
  • So I say to you, citizens of the last Arab country, this is a time for courage, for unity, for wisdom, for determination, to face these enemies with the dignity your president has shown, and I believe, God willing, we will prevail and triumph, wa-salam aleikum.
  • This murder of Hariri was deliberately planned and executed precisely to implicate Syria and to set in train the events which have unfolded.
  • Not at all; not at all... as is obvious now; now they admit that. He was hated by political opponents as he suppressed all opposition political forces, but he wasn't hated by the ordinary Iraqi - no, not at all.
    • "Galloway Party Turn on him", Daily Record, January 12, 2006
    • Responding to Rula Lenska's question "Was he [Saddam] hated by the ordinary [Iraqi] people?" while in the Celebrity Big Brother 2006 house.
  • Pipe down Mr Indignation. We'll see what the viewers thought of your double standards, your indignation about me and the aplomb with which you become a lying plutocrat in your gentleman's club.
  • I had three goals and all of them were met.
    • Interview in Metro, May 2, 2006
    • Asked whether appearing on Celebrity Big Brother was a mistake.
  • Israel is invading Lebanon and has killed thirty times more Lebanese civilians than have died in Israel, so it’s you who should be justifying the evident bias which is written on every line on your face, and is in every nuance of your voice, and is loaded in every question that you ask.
  • One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. You are totally wrong in saying that in most people’s eyes Hezbollah are terrorists. In most people’s eyes Israel is a terrorist state. It’s the fact that you cannot comprehend that fact that leads to bias that runs through all of your reporting and every question that you’ve asked me in this interview!
  • What a silly question! What a silly person you are! Hezbollah is winning the war; you can see on the other half of the screen. Hezbollah is more popular today in Lebanon amongst Christians, amongst Sunnis, amongst Shiite, amongst all Arabs, amongst all Muslims that it has ever been. It’s Israel who’s lost the war, and Bush and Blair for politically organizing the war, who’ve lost politically. This is a defeat of Bush and Blair and Israel. Everybody but you can see it!
  • You don’t give a damn! You don’t give a damn, you don’t even know about the Palestinian families! You don’t even know that they exist! Tell me the name of one member of the seven members of the same family slaughtered on the beach in Gaza by an Israeli warship. You don’t even know their names! But you know the name of every Israeli soldier who has been taken prisoner in this conflict. Because you believe whether you know it or not that Israeli blood is more valuable than the blood of Lebanese or Palestinians. That’s the truth, and the discerning of your viewers already know it.
    • Interview on Sky News, August 6, 2006
    • After Sky news reporter says about israeli soldiers: "I have to say some people might find it offensive when there are more families mourning their dead."
  • Well, I don’t agree that it’s genocide, but I definitely agree that there’s suffering going on there.
  • These extremist Islamists locked me in a room and threatened to hang me because we are the democratic alternative to them. We say to young Muslims: we know that you’re angry, you’re right to be angry. But the best way to be angry is to hit the government where it hurts, through politics, through the ballot box, through elections, through engaging with non-Muslims to build a broad front to bring about a change in policies at home and abroad.
  • Christianity doesn't come into it. George Bush and Tony Blair are not Christians. Religious people believe in the prophets, peace be upon them. Bush believes in the profits and how to get a piece of them. So don't ever confuse this with a war of civilizations.
    • Interview with George Stroumboulopoulos of the CBC's The Hour, November 20, 2006
  • Are you an Israeli? I don't debate with Israelis. I have been misled, sorry I don't recognise Israel and I don't debate with Israelis
    • The Guardian Oxford debate about Israel in the West Bank February 21, 2013
  • I refused this evening at Oxford University to debate with an Israeli, a supporter of the apartheid state of Israel. The reason is simple: no recognition, no normalisation. Just boycott, divestment and sanctions, until the apartheid state is defeated. I never debate with Israelis nor speak to their media. If they want to speak about Palestine – the address is the PLO.
    • The Guardian Oxford debate about Israel in the West Bank February 21,
  • Tramp dirt down
    • The Guardian reaction to the death of former British prime minster Margret Thatcher on Twitter April 9, 2013
  • We did not suspend our democracy in our darkest hours why are we suspending it now? the fawning over Thatcher had gone too far. We have had enough of this, It has gone on too long and it has gone too far. This put the tin hat on it the idea that we should suspend a vital part of our democratic process for a party political and private funeral, Mr Churchill didn’t ask for Parliament to be silenced, for confrontations across the House to be forbidden. When our soldiers were being laid waste in the Norway debate, the House of Commons perhaps rose to its finest 20th Century moment. Nobody said: ‘Our armed forces have suffered a disaster, the House of Commons cannot meet, the clash of ideas cannot be heard, we must muffle the drums and silence ourselves The so-called Beast of Bolsover said the argument was about class and that it was "one rule for those at the top and another for those at the bottom.We are here talking about the thing that we sometimes suggest has gone away class, That's what it is,it's about class. It's about the fact that people out there have to live their lives in a different way and there's one rule for those at the top and there's another for those at the bottom. It's never changed, I wish it had, but it hasn't. So when I heard about the chain of events it seemed to grow like topseed - first of all there was going to be some sort of ceremonial funeral, and then the next thing you (Mr Speaker) tell us that the chimes of Big Ben are going to stop and then we hear about the fact that we are going to abandon Prime Minister's question time, I mean, what's it all about? That's why the people out there are angry, a lot of them.
    • The Mirror George Galloway blasts cancellation of PMQs for Margret Thatchers funeral 16 April, 2013
  • When [Nigel Farage] was treated in the way he was in Edinburgh Alex Salmond had the opportunity to be statesman like. To deplore what had happened. To say everyone was welcome in Scotland, everyone with an elected position, everyone who had following in Scotland had a right to speak and be heard. But he didn't. It's not just people with a percentage of the vote who have the right to speak. All of us have the right to speak. What happened to Farage looked ugly in the rest of the country and the rest of the world. And the SNP I fear will take you down a road where grudge is everything.
    • The Express During an interview on Question time with Nigel Farage condemning the hostility shown by the Scottish people June 14, 2013

ReferencesEdit

  1. See also David Morley Gorgeous George: The Life and Adventures of George Galloway, London: Politicos, 2007, p.210-11. Galloway disputes the reporting of this quote and has repeatedly stated that the conclusion was a salute to "the Iraqi people" rather than Saddam Hussein personally.

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