With so much devastation unfolding in the world, we risk overlooking the significance of the few rays of light that reach us. The freedom of Talha Ahsan is one such ray, his US judge did not fall for the lies upon lies of US-UK governments, and her judgement effectively decriminalises a genealogy of Muslim activism from the 90s which the mendacious War on Terror Industry has succeeded in pushing beyond the pale, until now.
Following early elation in the immediate aftermath of the good news of Talha's impending release (he is due back in August), we need to spread the word of the Welcome Home Talha Rally scheduled for Sunday 17th August at 5pm at the Home Office. A substantial mental and physical presence at the rally is important, even as Israel's western backed ethnic cleansing of Gaza continues to politicise and mobilise the disgust and resistance of new generations of taxpayers, voters, consumers, activists and writers.
Just as the imperialism overseas and at home are interconnected, decolonial movements need to also connect causes in the core, periphery and semi-periphery. The short-lived Equality Movement (spawned from the Student Protests of 2010 and laid to waste by riots triggered by the police killing Mark Duggan in Summer 201) made this important point.
The lawfare and geography of Talha's case, detention without trial, extradition and eventual plea bargain is this connective tissue. Everyone's rights and dignity are eroded by UK extradition laws, which among others, have caused, and continue to cause great distress to families and waste human life.
The British government have stolen 8 years of a young, talented man's life and every department and individual in the chain should be identified, shamed and brought to book for it. The rally is as much about the moral-legal failure that continues to make such state injustices possible, as it is about the Free Talha Ahsan campaign and its widening audience of crocodile smilers.
Unless we pull the tracks and engine out of the bulldozer, it will continues to wreck havoc.
The movement to cower and depoliticise UK Muslims continues unabated,and we struggle to learn and draw strength from allied causes like the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (whose Sheila Coleman is a hearty supporter of Talha and will address the rally). With HSBC last week, we saw an entrenchment of the British establishment's political and economic persecution of charities, activists and the families of activists acting lawfully and in solidarity with the people of Palestine. The private sector follows the public sector in this respect and we remember, protest and fight the persecution of activists and community workers like Moazzam Begg and Mahdi Hashi, who refused to play footsie with British government spooks.
Below is a Facebook banner image promoting the Welcome Home Rally for Talha at the Home Office on Sunday 17th August at 5pm. It is our duty to bear witness to and challenge the ongoing injustice of Extradition Law, the suffering of humans in Supermax and solitary confinement, and the underlying hegemonic politics it serves.
Please bring sweets and imagery to share. The speakers list looks amazing.