“It’s shite being Scottish.” A phrase I’m all too familiar with, and it’s true. Of course, I’m quoting Mark ‘Rent-Boy’ Renton from the 1996 phenomenon that is Trainspotting, rather timely I would be watching such a film and endorsing such a phrase with the release of T2: Trainspotting, but that’s beside the point.
The point I am making is it’s hard being Scottish (believe me, as a straight, white male I know the world is on my side, but it’s open for debate that Scotland is an underdog in a certain union of nations). I’d go further than that, I would happily say it’s shite being Scottish. We’re shite…but we’re also amazing. We are passionate. We are loud. And we aren’t afraid to voice what we believe in – even when we know we aren’t being listened to (again and again).
It isn’t unusual to see a rally take place in Glasgow or Edinburgh – perhaps in George Square (or Independence Square for those Cybernat types) or on the Royal Concert Hall Steps, for the remaining time that they are there.
In the most reason of my 19 years I have had the privilege and know-how to witness these events first hand – Je Suis Charlie, Yes Scotland and Glasgow Sees Syria to name but a few.
So I guess it was no surprise that I found myself yet again on those steps and in George Square surrounded by people with a voice. We stood loud. We stood proud. It didn’t seem to matter that President Donald Trump was 3,420 miles away in the White House.
We came together, along with protests across the whole of Scotland, the United Kingdom and the rest of the world on January 30, 2017, showing solidarity with those being put through a terrible injustice and standing up for what we believe is right.
The protests I’m referring to of course is against the so called “Muslim Ban” being enforced by the newly inaugurated President Trump. If you’ve been in your own anti-social bubble for the last couple of weeks I’ll put it in brief:
- USA elects a racist.
- Racist does racist things.
- Citizens from Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq (Aka Muslim-majority countries) banned from entering the US for 90 days.
- US refugee system suspended for 120 days. Many being detained at US airports.
- FIVE year old US Citizen HANDCUFFED and detained with his Iranian mother because he posed a “security risk”.
- Folk got pissed.
- Pissed folk started a petition.
- Petition turned to rallies.
Up to date? Good.
The question of just how many people turned up at the Glasgow event is up for debate. From my view I’d say at least a thousand. Other say just hundreds. But that doesn’t matter.
What matters is we have a voice.
I stood proudly in George Square, above the crowds perched on a statue, and I felt an immense sense of democracy. I turned to the people beside me, reminding them of how lucky we are to engage in such a protest. To imagine that in other countries gatherings like this would result in arrests and riot is beyond me. It’s shite being Scottish, but at least we have our democratic right.
And it wasn’t just in Glasgow. Thousands marched in Edinburgh and more so in London. Not only that, but a petition to ban Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom has gathered 1.6 million signatures in just a couple of days.
I strongly urge you to sign it if you haven’t already – it is available here.
With the equivalent of a fifth of the population of Scotland voting to ban someone from entering the country, you’d think the Prime Minister would take heed to those calls? But not Theresa May. She, rather expectedly, defended her decision to invite Trump to the United Kingdom. The public’s voices being ignored by Tories?…Never.
But back to the Square and I’m looking at my phone…”Why protest against Trump when he won’t even care? This means nothing to him.”
This protest is not for Donald Trump. This protest isn’t even for me or you. This protest is for those who have been left feeling alone – for muslims, gays, women – anyone who has been left feeling isolated and unwanted by the ‘land of the free’.
This protest turned to these people, offered a shoulder and said that…
Scotland Welcomes You.
Here’s some of the pictures ZoePhillipsPhotography and I snapped up at the rally: