« It’s the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you’re mad, then dangerous, then there’s a pause and then you can’t find anyone who disagrees with you ». Tony Benn
Tony Benn has left us for a better place. He passed away last Friday, after a career of 50 years as an MP in the UK House of Commons and a lifetime passionate for Justice and peace.
The world has lost another principled politician who placed values of Peace and Justice above and before vanity and personal gains.
Tony Benn was a champion of progressive politics aimed to advocate of ordinary people, the underprivileged and a true international humanist who stood up to his own party and its former leader Tony Blair when he and the Labor party had betrayed its roots.
I had the honor of meeting Tony Benn several times back to early 2000 and onward, in Cairo- Egypt and Beirut- Lebanon, where we participated in international conferences for global peace and against militarization, USA and western aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, and “israel” occupation of Palestine and its brutal oppression of Palestinians. Again, we met in London UK in 2007 for an international anti-war conference “ World against War” that was attended by more than thousands EU and international delegates, Despite the rainy and cold December, Benn made that encounter so warm and welcoming and his speech captured all of us and renewed our hope for peace.
Tony Benn was an iconic figure for Anti War and permanent star at every rally in London UK against the War on Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon…etc
As Stop the War Coalition in UK has rightfully put it, Tony Benn had expanded the coalition by his travelling “the country, speaking at meeting large and small, always to a delighted reception. He opposed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was right there last year when we campaigned successfully against war on Syria. He fought the BBC when it refused to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Fund appeal for Gaza during the Cast Lead bombing by Israel in 2009”. In this very troubling time, where USA continues its aggressive agenda around the globe, from Ukraine to Syria and « Israel » continues its oppression of Palestinians, we feel the magnitude of the loss with passing away of Tony Benn, but also we hope that his tireless work and legacy will convince more people and activists together in solidarity against War and aggression.
We sincerely offer our condolences and solidarity to Benn’s family, friends and comrades in Britain and around the globe who knew and worked with Tony Benn for the noblest causes: peace and social justice.
Amir M. Maasoumi