3/12: Your Silence is LOUD - Installation and Rally

Mark Birbeck writes about a rally that will challenge the silence over Hamas's sexual violence against women. This is a big test for progressives who have so far failed to speak out.

3/12: Your Silence is LOUD - Installation and Rally

Last Sunday saw tens of thousands march through London in a show of solidarity with Britain's Jews, and with Israel's struggle against terrorism. In the weeks before, we've seen vigils organised by Christian Action Against Antisemitism, and by the families of hostages and Jewish community groups. And we also stood side-by-side with the AJEX Memorial March the week after Remembrance Sunday.

But at none of these events have we seen organised attendance from what might be called progressives--the left. No trade union banners. No banners from local political party members. In fact, beyond Our Fight and The October Declaration, pretty much no banners at all.

So tomorrow's Your Silence is LOUD Rally, organised by unwomen.me, is a big test for progressives.

The rally has been organised with the simple premise that while a major part of the pogrom on October 7th was directed against women, those who would normally campaign on these issues have been shamefully silent. The weapons of rape, mutilation, degradation, imprisonment and murder were mobilised by Hamas and its death-loving adherents, yet it took UN Women nearly 2 months to come up with a statement that mentioned Hamas.

Calling out sexual violence should not be controversial. Even if you support the idea of a Palestinian state...even if you are fuelled by compassion for civilians caught between Hamas and the IDF. But those that used to be 'of the left' are not only unable to raise a voice in condemnation of Hamas--they are actually doubling-down.

Heidi Bachram has shared a video on X of Brighton's middle-aged jihadis ripping down posters that simply said "Shame on Hamas":

The poster that the silver shaheeds are ripping down may be shocking, but its message is simple and impossible to disagree with, depicting victims of sexual violence alongside its short slogan:

It is difficult to imagine anything more straightforwardly worthy of moral condemnation than a terrorist organisation encouraging its members to rape, humiliate, and then murder. And yet our progressives are unable to see past their hatred of Israel. To them this is just another BDS campaign--they have boycotted shops and businesses, now they boycott compassion for Jews.

In a wide-ranging interview with Brendan O'Neill, Melanie Phillips suggested that people she knew were unable to admit they were wrong after October 7th, because it would challenge everything they have stood for.

This is most likely, sadly, true.

But if any progressives do develop a spine, we will have a space for them on Sunday.

In the meantime for anyone else who has no such difficulty in refusing to excuse violence against women, join us at Richmond Terrace on Whitehall, opposite Downing Street, at 11am, on Sunday, 3rd December.

Enough of this silence!

From the organisers:

Your Silence is LOUD - Installation and Rally
⌚Sunday, 3 December, 11 am
📍Richmond Terrace (Whitehall), London
⚫️ Please arrive wearing black to achieve a strong visual impact
🪧 We will have signs to provide and you’re also welcome to bring your own sign/banner (please avoid images that are too graphic)
If you’re posting about this event on social media please remember to:
  1. Tag @UN_Women
  2. Add a hashtag #speakup
  3. Tag the campaign @unwomen_forallwomen
  4. Add a link to the campaign website: unwomen.me
👉 CST have been notified and police will be present.
Thank you 🧡